The United States can almost quadruple its renewable energy during the next 15 years, to reach 23% by 2030, a Union of Concerned Scientists (USC) study has found. In contrast, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed that the United Sates sets a goal of just 12% renewable energy by 2030.
Further, the USC concluded that the cost to the average household of achieving the 23% target by 2030 would only be about 18 cents per month, so it’s a very achievable goal. Costs are also dropping dramatically for renewable energy development, so “there is a real opportunity to go farther,” UCS Senior Climate Economist Rachel Cleetus has said.
Already the laws in 17 states require more electricity from renewable sources than the EPA proposes, and 7 states are presently going beyond the EPA’s proposed goals for 2030. At the top end, both Iowa and South Dakota have already reached 24%, and Oregon is on 10%. The national average growth rate in renewables for states has been 1% from 2009 to 2013. The USC plan assumes that very modest growth rate will continue, which seems entirely reasonable.
The UCS target would reduce electricity sector carbon dioxide emissions by an extra 10% over the EPA proposal, reaching 40% below 2005 levels. Cleetus maintained that, “There needs to be a greater level of ambition, not just from the US but worldwide, if we are to sharply limit our emissions and slow the pace of climate change.”
The technologies are already commercially available today, ready to go. There is no reason to wait, and no time to lose.