See our newest powerpoint on waste and energy solutions, with some great news on solar and wind becoming cheaper than fossil fuels!
- Conservation and Efficiency
- Wind Power
- Solar Power
- What About When the Wind Isn't Blowing... (Grid Stability and Energy Storage)
- Transportation and Heating
We can meet all of our electricity needs and nearly all of our transportation and heating sector needs without burning anything: through the use of conservation, efficiency, wind, solar and energy storage. The only sectors where select burnable fuels might be necessary are in planes, boats and certain industrial heating applications.
A December 2012 study from the University of Delaware has determined that wind, solar and energy storage could economically fully power a utility scale electric grid with 99.9% reliability by 2030 - cheaply and without government subsidies, if the proper mix is implemented. See the press release or the full study.
The potential for 100% clean energy has also been documented worldwide for all energy (electricity, heating and transportation) in 2009 and 2011 studies out of Stanford University, which you can find in more detail here. State-by-state plans available at the Solutions Project.
These studies say it can be done by 2030, but with enough political will and a shifting of subsidies from dirty energy and militarism to clean solutions, it can likely be done much sooner.
When it comes to materials management, the simplified solution can be summed up as the three R's --
The equivalent in the energy world is:
Conservation, Efficiency and Clean* Renewables
*Clean means technologies which don't create pollution while generating energy
These solutions have the potential to fill all of our energy needs, without needing nuclear power, fossil fuels, biomass/incineration, or even large hydro dams. The technology exists, and the money exists (yet it's being used to subsidize dirty energy and wars to prop up our addiction to these dirty energy sources). What's missing is the political will to enact the solutions. We need politicians without connections to dirty power industries so that we can direct public and private investment dollars towards clean energy solutions, rather than a continued reliance on dirty, unsustainable energy sources.
Please use the information on this page, and our platform to influence anything in your power, from the energy choices in your home, school, workplace or local government to the energy policies in your state or on the national level.
Here is a broad outline of the policy solutions as we see them:
1) An Energy Conservation and Efficiency Law that reduces energy demand by 50% in 20 years, across all three energy sectors (transportation, heating and electricity), and then in half again within 50 years. This would necessarily include many solution pieces, from appliance efficiency standards to serious mass transit investments and much more. See our platform for some more detail.
2) A Clean Energy Portfolio Standard that meets the demands of the remaining energy needs by phasing out our current reliance on coal, oil, gas, nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass/incineration, and biofuels, and phasing in wind, solar and ocean power (and perhaps some small-scale micro hydro or closed-loop geothermal), using energy storage strategies and decentralized energy production to make the system stable and efficient.
3) Shift the $74 billion in annual dirty energy subsidies plus at least half of the military budget (a major oil and gas subsidy) to clean solutions, making the above shift possible.
4) Set a national "zero waste" policy, starting with a national 75% waste reduction, recycling and composting goal. Minimizing waste can reduce 37% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and will save huge amounts of energy in manufacturing and avoided resource extraction.
5) Adopt a climate-friendly sustainable agriculture program, focusing on making all food organic, localizing food production systems and encouraging eating lower on the food chain. This can reduce over 20% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Not politically realistic? No effective legislation is currently politically realistic at the federal level so long as corporate interests control our political process. To be able to win any effective changes at the federal level, our first priority must be clean and fair elections. We must unshackle our democracy from corporate control and political bribery. Clean energy needs clean elections!
Without waiting for federal policy action, we are focusing where the people power is: at the grassroots level, winning victories and building power to advance the policies and projects from the bottom up, as we reshape entire energy and waste industries one community at a time. This is what good, well-networked, grassroots organizing has been doing for decades: shutting down and preventing polluting facilities from coming online at the source while creating vibrant real solutions right at home.