A new study from Stanford University has worked out that New York State could run entirely on renewable energy by 2050.
The study, written by Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi and scheduled to be published in the journal Energy Policy, suggests that the state’s end-use power could come from a mix of solar, wind, water, and geothermal sources, and it could be done as soon as 2030. By 2050, all fossil fuel generation could be phased out, and since renewables are typically more efficient at delivering power, the state’s end-use demand would be cut by as much as 37%.
Aside from cleaning up the energy mix, which would cut climate costs by about $3.2 billion a year, another part of the plan would be to replace combustion-driven transportation with electricity and hydrogen. Standard cars would go from gas to electric, and larger road vehicles, machines, trains, and ships would all operate on hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen combustion.
There would also be plenty of updates done on residential, commercial, and government buildings to improve the efficiency of lighting, insulation, heating and cooling, and filtration systems. Solar power would provide the majority of lighting, water heating, and passive seasonal heating and cooling.
The team excluded natural gas from the picture due to its high CO2 and methane emissions levels, and the intense and controversial process of fracking. They also excluded biofuels due to high amounts of land-use and high pollution levels.
The project would cost an estimated $600 billion, create 4.5 million jobs, 58,000 of which would be permanent. It would also pay for itself within 17 years and improve the quality of life for New Yorkers by reducing pollution and saving money on energy. It’s a lofty goal, but still a goal with immeasurable benefits for the near future.
Do you think it is attainable?
Image CC licensed by Johan Wieland