The Biden administration has issued a plan to increase the country’s reliance on solar power from 3 per cent to more than 10 times that amount in under 30 years.
The Department of Energy published a blueprint on Wednesday on how to provide 45 per cent of US electricity from solar by 2050, which would involve ramping up production of solar panels and modernising energy infrastructure across the country.
President Joe Biden has touted clean energy as the way for America, the world’s second largest polluter, to reduce emissions and help in tackling the global climate crisis but also provide thousands of jobs.
The Solar Futures study found that to achieve 40 per cent solar in the next 15 years, the US must double capacity per year between now and 2025, and then double it again from 2025 to 2030.
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm noted that solar is the country’s “cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy”, producing enough power to run all American homes by 2035 while employing 1.5 million people.
In 2020, the US installed a record amount of solar — 15 gigawatts — to total 76 GW, the government report stated, making up 3 per cent of the current electricity supply.
As he toured neighbourhoods in New York and New Jersey ravaged by Storm Ida on Tuesday, President Biden underlined the role that the climate crisis played in the disaster.
“We’re all in this,” Mr Biden noted while on a walkabout in Queens with New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“I think what people are seeing across this country, from the wildfires in California and the west ... all the way down to Louisiana ... people are beginning to realise, this is much, much bigger than anyone was willing to believe,” he added.
Environmental activists cautiously welcomed the announcement. Jean Su, Center for Biological Diversity’s energy justice program director, said: “An ambitious solar target shows real promise in addressing the climate emergency, but it has to include careful considerations of scale and design.
“By prioritising rooftop and community solar and storage, Biden’s team could boost energy affordability and resilience in extreme weather events like Hurricane Ida. Because private utilities are fighting distributed energy, the Biden administration should make utility reform a key part of this important climate and justice transformation.”
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