The target of 45% of US solar power

The target of 45% of US solar power - Photo 1.

Solar energy will play an important role in achieving President Biden’s “clean electricity” goal by 2035 – Illustration: Fox Business/Getty Images

On September 8, the US Department of Energy released a report “Study on the future of solar energy”, which said that it is expected that by 2035 solar power will account for 40% of the US electricity supply and by 2050 it will be 45. %. These will be very breakthrough targets compared to the current 3% level.

Ambitious goal

The US Department of Energy’s report includes a number of policy goals, but many details and final decisions are still pending congressional approval.

The report outlines a number of steps that need to be taken to reach the 40% goal. Including installing a solar power system with a total capacity of 30 gigawatts per year from now until 2025, and 60 gigawatts per year in the period 2025 – 2030.

The study also calls for the deployment of additional infrastructures to enhance transmission capacity such as storage devices, microgrids and forecasting systems. These tools play a role in maintaining grid reliability and performance when renewables prevail.

“This study sheds light on a fact: Solar energy – our cheapest and fastest growing source of clean energy – could power every American home by 2035.” US Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, said.

“For that bright future, large-scale and equitable deployment of renewable energy as well as strong decarbonization policies are needed. These are the things that are enshrined in the Basic Employment and Investment Act. bipartisan infrastructure (Republican and Democrat) and President Biden’s “Rebuild Better” agenda, Jennifer Granholm pointed out.

The American Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) backs the Biden administration’s plan. Environmental group NRDC also concurred and called on the US Congress to fund enough clean electricity investments in the current budget allocation process to realize this plan.

Is it feasible?

The US Department of Energy’s report comes in the context of President Biden promoting many strong action programs on renewable energy and combating climate change.

The US Congress is also debating major proposals to upgrade infrastructure after a series of serious natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes. Extreme weather events have exposed severe defects in power grids and power generation infrastructure in states such as California, Texas and Louisiana. In those places, hundreds of thousands of people had to live without electricity for more than a week after Hurricane Ida made landfall.

Last month, the White House announced a goal that by 2030, 50% of cars sold in the US must be zero-emissions. This is considered a bold goal and achieving it will depend on many factors such as public policies, private sector investment and consumer tastes.

Also last month, the US Department of the Interior announced it would launch a process to facilitate access to large swaths of federal land for solar and wind energy development needs.

According to Dan Pickering, founder of Houston-based Pickering Energy Partners, as with other ambitious climate goals, Biden’s solar goal is “aspirational but unrealistic” because will cost trillions of dollars.

The report is the clearest sign yet that the Biden administration intends to rely primarily on solar rather than wind to harness renewable energy.

“This is really a competition between the wind and the sun,” said Fengqi You, a professor of energy systems engineering at Cornell University (USA).

Given that the majority of solar panels installed in the US are imported, mainly from China, Mr. Fengqi You said: “If the US increases solar power production, it will also be related to other industries. complex geopolitical issues”.

Policy and resources

According to the US Treasury Department, the future of solar power in the US also depends on huge public investments in the grid (which was originally designed for coal and natural gas extraction systems). and policy changes to reduce carbon-based energy sources.

Energy research firm Rystad Energy believes that to achieve Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the electricity sector by 2035, it will be necessary to dedicate an area larger than the Netherlands to the electricity industry. Sun.

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