The other day, we wrote about a new study by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., which found that cranking up wind power transmission capacity in the Midwest would save customers billions of dollars a year. We thought this was an intriguing study, and apparently so did others. For instance, over at Grist, Bill White, who manages the National Clean Energy Transmission Initiative for the Energy Future Coalition, gives us his take:
America has far more than enough renewable energy resources to meet its entire electric demand. World-class renewable resources from wind in the Great Plains to solar in the Southwest could power the whole country more than a dozen times over. The fuel for these power plants, wind and sunlight, are unlimited and will always be free. State renewable energy standards once considered ambitious at 10 to 40 percent now look modest in light of recent growth. Given our current understanding of renewable energy resources, technology, cost, and integration, it’s now realistic to envision a future where renewable resources provide far higher shares of America’s electric generation needs — 80 to 90 percent or more.
The only remaining barriers to achieving such massive increases in renewable energy use are a lack of understanding and a lack of political will. We are overcoming the former as we discover the truth about renewable energy. It’s inexpensive, reliable, abundant, all-American — and yes, it’s still clean.
And keep in mind, clean energy doesn't come with the negative "externalities" - pollution, damage to peoples' health, adverse national security consequences, the enormous cost of imported oil - associated with fossil fuels. This means that wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources are actually even more competitive than reports like the one by Synapse Energy Economics find them to be. Now, as Bill White argues, all we need is "understanding" and "political will," and the already-rapid growth of clean energy will only accelerate further.