Solar Power Revolution

Check this out from an article in Scientific Anerican which goes along with Al Gore’s call to invest in renewable Energy.

Development of such a system could provide almost three-quarters of the nation’s electricity by 2050.

The plan is basically:

  • Construct a 30,000 square mile array of solar panels in the Southwest,
  • along with concentrated solar power arrays and,
  • a massive direct-current power transmission backbone to distribute electricity throughout the country.
  • Excess power produced by the photovoltaic arrays would be distributed and stored as compressed air in below-ground caverns.

And here’s the benefits:

  • With a massive investment in solar power plants and infrastructure, solar could provide 69% of US electricity and 35% of total energy (including transportation) by 2050.
  • If wind, biomass, and geothermal power sources were also developed, the US could produce 100% of its electricity and 90% of its transportation energy (in the form of hydrogen) from renewable sources.
  • To make this happen, the US would have to invest $10 billion per year for the next 40 years. For comparison, the US is now spending $12 billion per month for military involvement Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. The entire solar array would cost approximately 15% of the total bill for both of these operations.
  • A conversion to renewable energy of this scale would displace 300 coal and 300 natural gas-fired power plants, and eliminate all imported oil. Even better, greenhouse-gas emissions would be reduced to 62% below 2005 levels.

Thanks to Gas2.0 for the heads up.