A study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) found that wind power can supply 20 percent of our electricity by 2030.
The report examines the U.S.'s technological and manufacturing capabilities, future costs of energy sources, the quality of U.S. wind sources, and the environmental and economic impacts of wind power development.
Specifically, the DOE found that an energy mix of 20 percent wind power would:
- Reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 25 percent in 2030
- Reduce natural gas use by 11%
- Reduce water consumption associated with electricity generation by 4 trillion gallons by 2030
- Increase annual revenues to local communities to more than $1.5 billion by 2030
- Support roughly 500,000 jobs in the U.S., with an average of more than 150,000 workers directly employed by the wind industry
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) says we've been doing something right for the past 40 years: Since 1970, U.S. energy consumption (as measured per dollar of economic output) has been slashed in half.
This is a great success story, but the ACEEE points out that energy efficiency can do even more to help us meet increasing energy demands quickly and cost-effectively while still cut global warming emissions. Additional findings include:
- Given the right choices and investments in the many cost-effective but underutilized energy efficiency technologies, the United States can cost-effectively reduce energy consumption by an additional 25-30% or more over the course of the next 20-25 years.
- Annual investments in energy efficiency technologies currently support 1.6 million U.S. jobs. The $300 billion invested in energy efficiency in 2004 was three times the amount invested in traditional energy infrastructure.
- Investments in energy efficiency technologies are estimated to have generated approximately 1.7 quads of energy savings in 2004 alone – roughly the equivalent of the energy required to operate 40 mid-sized coal-fired or nuclear power plants.
- Since 1970, energy efficiency has met about three-fourths of the demand for new energy-related services while conventional energy supply has covered only one-fourth of this demand.
- Total investments in more energy efficiency technologies could increase the annual energy efficiency market by nearly $400 billion by 2030, resulting in an annual efficiency market of more than $700 billion – and total additional investments over the period 2008-2030 of nearly $7 trillion.
Both of these reports are good news, especially considering the more sobering findings of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have reached record highs at 387 parts per million (CO2 is a major contributor to global warming). That's up almost 40 percent since the industrial revolution and it's the highest concentration in the last 650,000 years. NOAA says CO2 is increasing faster than scientists expected.
"Despite all the talk, the situation is getting worse. Levels of greenhouse gases continue to rise in the atmosphere and the rate of that rise is accelerating. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change and the scale of those impacts will also accelerate, until we decide to do something about it."Here are the graphs from the research.