Imagine if the United States was run entirely on clean, renewable energy. This could someday soon be a reality. A study by a Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, and his colleagues, has outlined how each of the 50 states can make the transition to renewable energy by 2050.
According to the plan there would be significant upfront costs, but over time the costs would be roughly equal to the existing price of the fossil fuel infrastructure, maintenance and production.
Making the switch to renewable energy would significantly reduce air pollution, which has been linked to the deaths of approximately 63,000 Americans each year. Renewable energy would also eliminate greenhouse gases produced by fossil fuel.
Three cities have already paved the way by showing that the transition to renewable energy can be a reality.
Burlington, Vermont is the first large U.S. city to run entirely on renewable energy. With the switch to renewables, Burlington residents are only using renewable resources when they power up their electronics.
Their electricity now comes from solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass sources. Vermont has a statewide goal of getting 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, including electricity, heating, and transportation.
Greensburg, Kansas is a city that truly lives by the motto “If you take care of the land it will take care of you”. In 2007, Greensburg, Kansas was hit by a monstrous tornado that killed 13 people and injured more than 60 others. Over 95 percent of the structures in the town were demolished. As the citizens began to rebuild they were determined to build a better infrastructure and developed a long-term recovery plan which included 100% renewable electricity. They have achieved that goal and more, making Greensburg, Kansas “America’s greenest little town.”
Aspen, Colorado is the third US city to receive all of its power from renewable sources. The city is gathering much of its energy from wind and hydroelectric, with a smaller portion coming from solar and geothermal. Aspen had been using about 75 to 80 percent renewable energy and finally committed to 100% renewables in August, 2015. The city receives its wind energy from wind farms in Nebraska and South Dakota.
As Scientists continue to warn us to stop using fossil fuels and start using 100% renewable energy, these three cities are leading to charge. Other global cities and towns are also positioned to become leaders in the clean energy field in the near future. There’s no question that the shift towards renewable energy has begun and it’s exciting to see where it will ultimately go as many more join the movement.