FAccording to a report released on Thursday by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie, a key goal of the “Green New Deal” backed by many Democratic presidential candidates, eliminating fossil fuels from the U.S. power sector would cost $4.7 trillion and pose massive economic and social challenges.
Also, according to the study, which called the price tag for such a project “staggering,” this would amount to $35,000 per household, or nearly $2,000 a year for a 20-year plan.
With most Democrats proposing multi-trillion-dollar plans to eliminate U.S. carbon emissions economy-wide, the report is one of the first independent cost estimates for what has become a key issue in the 2020 presidential election.
The cost of a comprehensive climate solution at around $10 trillion comes from a non-binding Congressional resolution Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the authors of the “Green New Deal.”
Meanwhile, front-runner Joe Biden’s plan to get to zero emissions carries a $1.7 trillion price tag, while Beto O’Rourke’s proposal comes in at $5 trillion.
Criticism rises when President Donald Trump and many Republicans became unfeasible, costly, and a threat to the economy. He aims to tap the ideas into a growing sense of urgency about global warming on both sides of the political division.
Broad Reformatting of Plans
A top contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, Wood Mackenzie’s report focuses solely on what it would cost to green the U.S. power sector but does not include costs for other sectors like transport, agriculture or manufacturing.
To adapt to a system of mostly intermittent resources like wind and solar energy that rely on the wind blowing and sun shining to generate electricity, news reports said the transition would require “a complete redesign of the power sector.”
An estimation of 1,600 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity should be added, costing around $1.5 trillion.
A sharp increase in demand could strain supply chains and send prices of key materials like steel and copper upward then the costs of wind and solar must come down. That’s more than 11 times the nation’s current wind and solar capacity.
Even when the weather isn’t cooperating, energy storage would be required to make sure wind and solar assets can work reliably, study said it requires 900 GW of energy storage. This means that 900 times more than is currently installed.
In a news report, technology would raise the cost of all-renewable generation to $4 trillion. That sharp increase in investment in still-emerging energy storage.
Furthermore, an addition of 200,000 miles of high voltage transmission to get wind and solar energy from the plains or deserts to major metropolitan areas would add another $700 billion.
In an interview, one of the report’s authors said, “If you move too fast you run the risk of upending the entire initiative.”
Allowing the newer technologies to be developed and including nuclear power plants and some portion of natural gas generation could reduce the costs significantly is extending the timeframe for such a transition, news report said.
Wood Mackenzie also said, allowing gas to supply 20% of the nation’s power needs, for example, would reduce renewable energy costs by 20% and energy storage investment by 60%.
- Trading Instrument