Right now, wind supplies about one percent of US electricity.
The most welcome news all week? America could ramp that up to 20% by 2030 for an investment of just $43 billion, the DOE has found in a new eye-popping report.
What a bargain when you consider that the US will spend around $12 billion each month in Iraq in 2008.
For less than four months at that price, the nation could secure the future of its booming wind energy industry, help end its dependence on foreign oil and support a half a million jobs.
Spread that investment over several years, and it looks like a no-brainer for America.
The best part? The DOE claims that the four major obstacles to the 20% wind scenario -- transmission, siting, manufacturing and technology -- can all be overcome.
The is grabbing headlines. No wonder, it’s a technical feat.
Have a good look at the study, and be amazed at just how practical clean energy generation at the utility-scale can be in America.
The DOE says that to meet 20% of US electricity demand in 2030, wind power would have to reach over 300,000 megawatts. We're at about 17,000 now.
That means new wind power capacity would have to jump to more than 16,000 megawatts per year by 2018, and continue at that rate through 2030. (In 2007, capacity addition in the US was 5,244 megawatts.)
That's massive industry growth. Still, the DOE says it's feasible.
And if America gives big to the wind industry, expect it to give back, generously. Here are the expected benefits, from the report:
How on Earth would the opportunity be developed?
The DOE didn't base its findings on a federal tax credit. Guess they expect the incentive to expire in December. Or maybe they'd rather just do without it, knowing how damaging Washington's uneven commitment to the tax credit has been to market growth in the past.
Interestingly, it did highlight the Renewable Portfolio Standards in place in over half of all states as a possible revenue stream. Makes sense. At this point, governors have proven themselves be a safe bet to drive clean energy adoption in America.
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