The Biden administration set out a blueprint that would see solar power account for 40% of US electric supply as early as 2035, but this would require Congress passing the mammoth $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill.
What is Happening?
- The Biden administration outlined a plan to invest significant resources into solar energy as part of the US President’s ambitious goal to decarbonise the country and transition towards clean energy.
- The new blueprint demonstrates how solar energy has the potential to power 40% of the country’s electricity by 2035, and generate higher-paying new jobs.
- But this reality relies on the US Congress to pass Biden’s contentious USD$3.5 trillion infrastructure bill.
The White House laid out a plan to decarbonise the country in the Solar Futures Study published by the Department of Energy, detailing how solar energy has the potential to generate 40% of the US electric supply without raising electricity costs for consumers.
In 2020, solar energy generated 3% of the nation’s electricity. Biden’s ambitious plan sees that rate rise up to 40% by 2035, and 45% by 2050 – supplying nearly half of US electricity. This newly unveiled blue print is in line with the President’s other goal of reaching 80% renewable energy by 2030.
To achieve Biden’s targets, solar capacity will need to reach 1,600 gigawatts by 2050, which is a 1,450% increase from the 103 gigawatts that are installed in the country today, and more than the combined electrical consumption from residential and commercial buildings today.
The study also explored how wind power could supply about 36% of the power grid while nuclear power could account for 13%. Hydroelectric and geothermal power would make up for the rest.
“The study illuminates the fact that solar, our cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy, could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the U.S. by 2035 and employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
Solar installations achieved record high numbers last year and wind power generation contributed to historic numbers to US power capacity, due to energy generation at lower costs as well as tax incentives that have helped boost solar’s growth over the last decade.
Despite positive progressions for renewables in the US, it will be a tough road ahead for Biden’s clean energy goals to be realised as it is contingent on Congress to pass a $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill. The legislation would encompass incentives for electric utilities to generate more power from carbon-free sources, energy storage, and the widespread adoption of solar power.
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