Renewables already competitive in U.S.

Monday, March 26, 2012 @ 08:03 AM
posted by rene5432

John Farrel, senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, writes for Minnesota Public Radio that renewable electricity has the unfortunate reputation as the energy of the future.

While many people want to support clean energy, most imagine that the costs for such technologies are too high to be practical yet.

But Farrel notes a new report from the the ILSR suggesting that within the next decade as many as 100 million Americans, nearly one-third of the total population, could use renewable electricity. Places with access to low-cost solar power installations like San Diego can manage it even faster.

He points out that even Boston could reach one-third solar power by 2020 with the support of new policies. More shockingly, Farrell wrote for Climate Progress about a new report suggesting northerly Minnesota could reach 100 percent renewable electricity without substantially raising electricity rates.

The biggest issue, Farrel notes, is that the country has tried to keep the traditional model of large-scale power plants, rather than allowing for distributed generation, which is uniquely suited to clean energy. Instead, more areas need to encourage local ownership, not only of solar power installations, but resources like wind farms.

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