The price of greener power has fallen dramatically, providing a much cheaper opportunity.
Though clean electricity was considered to be cost prohibitive quite a short time ago, prices have fallen rapidly. In fact, the costs are so much lower now that many renewable energy strategies are the more affordable option.
A new study shows that turning toward these renewable energy sources is a good deal for the US.
A new study from UC Berkeley and GridLab shows that it will be financially feasible to generate 90 percent of US power through clean electricity sources by 2035. The research paper concluded that this was possible due to striking declines in the cost of renewable energy.
In only a small number of years, the opportunities for decarbonizing the US power grid have gone from being cost prohibitive to a chance that many major American utilities can afford to commit to. Though many companies – like many states – like to give mid-century targets for the completion of these types of goals, the new research shows that these changes would be feasible far sooner.
The research showed that through updated solar, wind and battery prices, it would be economically possible to power 90 percent of a reliable grid through these means, with the remaining 10 percent depending on natural gas.
This moves the clean electricity grid goals up by a decade and a half over prior estimates.
“Previous studies concluded either we need to wait until 2050 to decarbonize or the bills will go up if you decarbonize,” said they study’s co-author, Amol Phadke in a media call. “I think we really need to revisit these conclusions because of the dramatic decline in costs.”
What’s more, the plan examined in the research would shut down all coal plants by that date and would not require any more gas plants to be constructed. On top of that, the cost of wholesale electricity would fall by 13 percent compared to today’s average price. This greatly differs with older assumptions that a shift to green renewable energy would come with a significantly higher price tag.
This means that clean electricity will not only be possible within fifteen years, but that it will also be more affordable overall.