80% reduction in US GHG in 15 years possible

The US could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation by 80 per cent below 1990 levels within 15 years just by using renewable sources such as wind and solar energy, according to Dr Alexander MacDonald, a distinguished meteorologist, who was until recently the head of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

The nation could do this using only technologies available right now, and by introducing a national grid system connected by high-voltage direct current (HVDC), which could deliver the power with minimal losses to those places that needed it most, when they needed it. He and his colleagues at the University of Colorado report in Nature Climate Change that instead of factoring in fossil fuel backup, or yet-to-be-invented methods of storing electricity from wind and solar sources, they took a new look at the simple problems of supply and demand in a nation that tends to be sunny and warm in the south and windy in the north, but not always reliably so in either place.


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