National Geographic : 2015 Nov
70 national geographic • november 2015 25% Onshore wind 10% Offshore wind 26.5% Utility PV 15% Concentrated solar power (CSP) plants 4.5% Hydroelectric 0.5% Wave 0.5% Tidal 5% Geothermal 60% Offshore wind 0.7% Onshore wind 31.3% Utility PV 5% CSP plants 0.1% Hydroelectric 0.4% Wave 55% Onshore wind 35% Utility PV 5% CSP plants 3% Hydroelectric 13% Rooftop photovoltaic (PV) 2.5% Rooftop PV 2% Rooftop PV 417,719 megawatts (MW) Total energy needed in 2050 Offshore area: 11.3% Offshore area: 0.7% MA MD DE RI NJ 0 25 50 75 100% 0 25 50 75 100% SD OK KS IA MN Infrastructure challenge Fossil fuel and nuclear Health and climate costs Estimated energy costs in 2050 in cents per kilowatt-hour 100% renewables Business as usual Projections for 2050 SAVINGS FROM DEATH AND ILLNESS PREVENTED DEATHS FROM AIR POLLUTION AVOIDED, PER YEAR ANNUAL ENERGY, HEALTH, AND CLIMATE COSTS SAVINGS, PER PERSON 9.4 million+ RESIDENTIAL SOLAR PV SYSTEMS NEEDED LESS THAN 3% OF THE NECESSARY PV SYSTEMS ARE CURRENTLY INSTALLED. $127.9 billion 12,528 $7,395 288,769 MW Total area of North Dakota: 68,976 square miles Equipment footprint: 0.1% Total area: 0.8% Equipment footprint: 1.2% Total area of Louisiana: 43,562 square miles Total area: 12.7% 34,097 MW Total area:* 4.1% Equipment footprint: 0.6% 16.4 9.7 Total area of California: 155,940 square miles OPPORTUNITIES: From rivers to ocean waves, the Golden State’s natural riches offer many clean-energy options. California has set ambitious goals for re- newables and is reducing regula- tions and costs for solar and wind projects. This could create jobs, reduce the state’s severe air pollution, drive innovation, and jump-start a national movement. OBSTACLES: Land-use battles seem inevitable, whether over raptor deaths at wind farms or the risk that solar projects pose to endangered tortoises. Cali- fornia, already crowded, is still growing fast, but its progressive political bent has not resulted in a commitment that comes close to eliminating fossil fuels. CALIFORNIA A Wealth of Resources AREA NEEDED Individual wind turbines take up little room but must be spaced far apart, so wind farms need a lot of land. Some of that land, however, could be used for farm- ing and other purposes. *Includes existing land and offshore projects A Snapshot of Six States Explore how this blueprint would work in your state at nationalgeographic.com/ energyblueprint. Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson has outlined a plan detailing how energy in the U.S. could be carbon free by 2050.