Earlier this year, Energy Innovation, in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, proposed a report titled 2035 Report, detailing how reducing solar, wind, and battery costs can lead the way to a cleaner future for the planet.
EI and UC Berkeley believe that if the human population lets the planet warm up to 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit), the climate will be severely impacted and returning to its present-day condition will be difficult. In this report, the authors list the proposed effects of practicing their “Clean Case Policy” vs no new policy at all. Here are 5 key takeaways from the report that will help our planet recover while being smart about utilizing resources.
1. No Coal or Natural Gas Plants are needed for the Clean Case Policy to work
Achieving a 90% clean energy grid by 2035 is possible by first discontinuing all coal and fossil fuel plants and pledging not to build any more. The 90% Clean case proposes that utilizing wind, solar, and battery power will hold enough power for the grid. Energy Innovation and UC Berkeley propose in their report that by 2035 wind, solar, and battery power can produce up to 70% of all power needed, with hydropower and nuclear provided 20% and natural gas providing the remaining 10%.
2. Electrical costs will go down by 2035
With solar and wind costs continuously going down each year, the 2035 Report proposes that electrical costs will be down by 10% if the Clean case policy is adopted. Currently, the lowest unit price for wholesale electricity in 2020 is around 3p per kilowatt, per businesselectricityprices.org. In this report, the price per kWh starts at $70 but then lowers down to around $48 per kWh in 2035. If we rely on natural gas providing only 10% of energy, then that means avoiding unnecessary investments for energy capacity that isn’t being used.
3. 1.2 trillion in health and environmental damages can be avoided with the Clean case policy
By enacting the Clean case policy, eliminating most carbon emission from the U.S. sector is possible by 2035, with more electrical use being responsible for lower mortality rates. The report proposes that if more electrical power is used, then carbon dioxide emissions can falter as much as 88% by 2035. Nitrogen and sulfur dioxide emissions will also reduce by 96% and 98% too. Along with preventing up to 86,000 premature deaths past 2035, the Clean case policy will save 1.2 trillion in damages.
4. The 90% Clean case policy will provide a boost in job creation and job-years for the energy sector
A job-year is each cumulative year that an individual holds a certain paid position. The report states that enacting the 90% Clean case policy will support 8.5 million job-years for the energy sector and 29 million job-years overall from present-day to 2035. This means that each year, roughly 500,000 new jobs will be created through the 90% Clean case policy. These jobs will fill the void left behind by the fossil fuel industry.
5. Enacting NO new policy will still yield results, but on a much lower scale and over a longer period of time.
If the U.S. doesn’t approve a new policy, then eliminating emissions from the environment by 2035 won’t be possible. For instance, the Clean case policy guarantees 90% clean electricity by 2035, whereas no policy shows only 55% clean electricity by 2035. Costs for renewable energies will go down, but only slightly as the U.S. would still be dependent on gas and coal (see Figure ES-1). Emissions from fossil fuels would go down, however, the report shows carbon, nitrogen and sulfur decline won’t begin until 2030 with no new policy (see Figure ES-2). The U.S. would still be plagued by environmental and health damages through 2035 and emissions would rise even further before starting to fall again (see Figure ES-3).
In conclusion, we should hope that the U.S. government takes notice of the work of Energy Innovation and UC Berkeley if they want to make a sustainable future for our generation.
If you want to read more of the 2035 report, click on the link below!
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