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Utility Dive: Falling Renewable, Storage Costs Make 90% Carbon-free US Grid Feasible by 2035, UC Berkeley Finds

Posted by Kavya Balaraman on Jun 9, 2020

Utility Dive covered a new UC Berkeley report concluding the U.S. could switch to 90% renewable energy by 2035, and create half a million jobs, referencing similar arguments that AEE and others delivered to Calif. leaders. Read excerpts below and the entire UD piece here. 

The U.S. can deliver 90% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2035, according to a new report from the University of California, Berkeley, and experts say accelerating clean energy deployments could also play an important role in the country's economic recovery. Building out renewables to achieve this target will add more than 500,000 jobs per year as well as $1.7 trillion in investments into the economy, without raising customer bills, the report found...

The country is experiencing a cost-crossover, as clean energy resources become cheaper than continuing to run existing fossil fuel resources, Sonia Aggarwal, vice president at Energy Innovation and co-author of an accompanying report outlining policy measures to achieve the 2035 target, told Utility Dive. "I see it as an amazing opportunity for America to create a bunch of jobs to decarbonize our electricity sector, and do all of that without raising electric bills for customers at a time when budgets are awfully tight," she said...

Unemployment data indicates that around 600,000 people working in clean energy lost their jobs in March and April alone, Bob Keefe, executive director of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), told Utility Dive. But "these aren't jobs that have disappeared. These are jobs that are still there — we just need to get them back to work." After the 2008 recession, the U.S. invested around $90 billion in clean energy, resulting in around 100,000 projects across the country and putting thousands of construction workers back on the job, according to Keefe...

The researchers undertook the study because they sensed that the rapidly declining costs of utility-scale renewables weren't being captured in most plans, he said. What they found is "particularly in a slack labor market like we're in now because of the crisis, this can have a really powerful effect on employment. It's not the only thing you would do in regard to recovery, but it's one thing you could do."

The findings mirror arguments that a coalition of California energy groups  including Advanced Energy Economy, California Energy Storage Alliance and the Solar Energy Industries Association  made in a letter to state lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom last week...

Read the entire UD piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News