On Wednesday, the Energy Department revealed a plan to generate nearly half of the United States’ electricity from solar power by 2035, representing a massive increase over the country’s current solar consumption.
Jennifer Granholm, Secretary of Energy, stated that a department study will examine the future of supplying solar electricity to the electric grid and decarbonizing the national power sector.
The plan aims to supply 40% of the grid’s energy through solar within 15 years. By 2050, solar energy could provide 1,600 gigawatts of energy to the grid.
Granholm said solar is the least-expensive energy source and would produce 1.5 million new jobs without raising power costs.
“Achieving this bright future requires a massive and equitable deployment of renewable energy and strong decarbonization polices — exactly what is laid out in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” Granholm said in a statement.
The department said presently, the United States allows solar to contribute just 3% of the energy supply. The department study says annual solar additions need to be quadrupled and provide 1,000 gigawatts to a renewable-dominant grid.
According to the department’s blueprint, expanding solar power in the United States will save money and enhance health across the country by reducing carbon emissions.
One of the most difficult challenges, it says, would be catalysing bipartisan legislative efforts that allow for the expansion of solar power at the expense of fossil fuels, which have traditionally had a very powerful lobby in Washington, D.C.
House Democrats are negotiating a $3.5 trillion budget measure that includes cash for wind and solar energy development. The bill was passed by the Senate last month, but its destiny in the House is questionable.