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Giving Compass' Take:
• Francie Diep unpacks the question central to the feasibility of the proposed Green New Deal: can clean energy supply enough energy to meet America's needs?
• How can funders work to increase the production of clean energy at scale?
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) released their resolution for the Green New Deal, an ambitious climate change and social welfare package. It proposes to make the United States economy 100 percent fossil fuel free in 10 years, and, in doing so, to employ vulnerable Americans and slow global warming.
Is it really possible to meet America's energy demands without fossil fuels?
"If we were treating this issue as a national emergency and there was total buy-in, there's nothing stopping us," says Noah Kaufman, an economist who worked on de-carbonization studies for the Obama administration and is now a researcher at Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy. "We know how to do it."
Some of the technologies needed to make this palatable don't exist yet. For example, for solar and wind farms to provide the same consistent service that people expect today from their local utility, we'll need better energy storage tech, so people can still get electricity when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.
The researchers I talked to believe these technology advances are all possible. It's just a question of how much we are willing to pay for this future.
How much will it cost?
In November, the journal Joule published a study that modeled what energy prices in America might be if the economy were run on different combinations of carbon-free power sources. Limiting the country to only solar and wind power could make electricity anywhere from 11 percent to 163 percent more costly than including nuclear power and carbon capture, the study found. But, depending on what the prices of renewable energy are in the future and what part of the country we're talking about, the Green New Deal doesn't necessarily have to make electricity cost more than it does today.
Read the full article about meeting America's energy needs by Francie Diep at Pacific Standard.