Study: US Could Switch to Alternative Energy with Relative Ease

solar-panels-944000_960_720Most people are fully aware of the benefits of using alternative energy sources such as wind turbines, solar panels and geothermal. Because they don’t produce or emit greenhouse gases, they do not contribute to man-made climate change. However, one of the drawbacks to alternative energy has been the cost-effectiveness (or lack thereof). Up until now, lawmakers have said that alternative energy sources cost more to produce than traditional energy like coal-burning power plants. But a new study suggests that the United States could switch to alternative energy with relative ease.

According to a recent study published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States could switch primarily to wind and solar energy by 2030 without having to raise the cost of electricity. That’s a pretty bold assessment to say the least, especially when you consider the long-standing ‘thinking’ behind alternative energy.

After accounting for costs reductions and limitations on existing technology, NOAA researchers say that renewable sources like wind and solar can meet energy demands while simultaneously reducing carbon dioxide emissions from electricity by as much as 80% below levels from 1990.

Coal-burning power plants remain the country’s primary source of energy, and for good reason: it’s cheap, easy to make, and the technology has been around for decades. But just because it’s convenient doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best choice. Coal-burning power plants are believed to contribute to man-made climate change, as they emit billions of tones of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Over time, this carbon dioxide creates a greenhouse effect in which warm air becomes trapped inside the Earth’s atmosphere, triggering higher temperatures across the globe.

Scientists say that switching from coal-burning power plants to alternative energy sources like wind turbines and solar panels is a step towards creating a cleaner atmosphere while slowing down man-made climate change. In any case, this study reveals that alternative energy may actually be easier to achieve than we had previously thought. Whether or not companies actually take the initiative to implement these alternative energy source,s however, remains to be seen.

This study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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