Report: Western U.S Has Bright Green Future

Western Advocates, an alliance of more than 25 renewable energy industry, environmental, tribal, and public health organizations and regulatory experts, has released a report called Western Grid 2050: Contrasting Futures, Contrasting Fortunes in which it examines two different energy investment pathways facing the 11 western states: business-as-usual or a new clean, alternative energy trajectory.

The report, released by the Western Grid Group (WGG) with support from Western Clean Energy Advocates (WCEA), arrives at an optimistic outlook. It concludes that with intentional policymaking and planning today, the West can successfully transition to a clean energy economy that will deliver job, environmental and public health benefits for decades to come.

“It is time to rethink our grid,” said report author Carl Linvill, Director of Integrated Energy Analysis & Planning at the Aspen Environmental Group. “Advances in information, communications and clean energy technologies have opened the opportunity to overcome the barriers of 20th century grid technology and transition to a 21st century clean energy economy in the West. Retooling the infrastructure and changing the way we use will require a serious commitment, but the transition is achievable through deliberate policy, planning and investment decisions.”

Over $200 billion will be invested in the western electricity system over the next two decades as aging infrastructure is replaced and new infrastructure is built to meet the United States’ growing energy needs. Policy and investment decisions made today will have lasting economic and environmental consequences, the report writers argue.

Some of the key findings in the report include (CEV stands for Clean Energy Vision):

  • CEV Creates More Local Jobs: CEV represents significantly more direct investment in high job-creating infrastructure development and operation than BAU, which requires high expenditures on fuel supply.
  • CEV Increases Energy Reliability and Security. CEV delivers the energy security and price benefits of reduced dependence on volatile fuel supplies, centralized power generation and imported fossil fuels (via electrification of our vehicles).
  • CEV Significantly Reduces the Direct Environmental Impact of our Power Supply: CEV is much less polluting and emits significantly less carbon dioxide. CEV also reduces electricity-related water consumption by more than half by 2050, saving 289-343 billion of gallons of this severely limited resource.
  • CEV Is Achievable with Manageable Impact on Western Lands. The highest large-scale renewable build-out case under CEV represents approximately ½ of 1% of the land in the West.
  • CEV Improves Public Health: CEV cases can prevent hundreds of thousands of cases of premature death, heart attacks, asthma from particulate matter and neurological and development disorders from mercury exposure.
  • CEV is Likely a Cost Saver for Consumers: By taking full advantage of energy saving opportunities, a CEV trajectory can be achieved at lower cost than BAU. Because BAU cases have higher fuel and carbon costs, CEV will only cost consumers more in the unlikely case that natural gas prices and carbon prices stay low for the next 20 years.
  • WGG and WCEA will follow the Western Grid 2050 report with other materials with proposals of a sustained, orderly transition to clean energy across the western U.S. The second phase of the report is due out in September and it’s called Clean Energy Vision Policies. It will identify the many policies that are already in use and can be expanded as well as new ones available to states that can and will guide a transition to a prosperous clean energy future.

    To find out more visit Clean Energy Vision.

    Original Article on Energy Refuge





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