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.