Stanford Professor says, U.S. can enjoy 100% clean energy with wind, solar, water and zero nuclear

Stanford Professor says, U.S. can enjoy 100% clean energy with wind, solar, water and zero nuclear


  • Stanford scientist Mark Jacobson believes that by 2050, the United States will be able to meet its energy needs entirely from wind, water, and solar energy
  • Neither fossil fuels, carbon capture, direct air capture, bioenergy, blue hydrogen, nor nuclear power are used in his simulations
  • Jacobson’s roadmap differs from many clean-energy ideas, which advocate for the use of all available technologies

Plan for Total Energy Needs by 2050

By 2050, a prominent Stanford University researcher has devised a plan for the US to meet its overall energy needs entirely using wind, water, and solar energy.

Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and the director of the university’s Atmosphere/Energy Program, has been advocating for 100% renewable energy. For more than a decade, he championed it as the best path ahead. His most current estimates toward this lofty target were recently published in Renewable Energy, a professional magazine.

According to the report, the transition to a clean-energy system should be completed by 2035, with at least 80% of the work finished by 2030. Jacobson’s team used assumptions about population increase and energy efficiency improvements to create a model for what the world might look like in 2050.

In 2015, Jacobson presented the first renewable energy roadmap for all 50 states. There are a few noticeable enhancements in this current version of that 2015 work.

First, Jacobson and his colleagues have access to more detailed information on how much heat will be required in buildings in each state in 30-second intervals over the next two years. “We didn’t have that type of data before,” Jacobson explained to reporters.

In addition, the updated data include battery storage, whereas the first projections depended on adding turbines to hydropower plants to satisfy peak demand. This was an assumption that turned out to be unrealistic, especially given the lack of political support for the technology, according to Jacobson.

Fighting the fears of blackouts and Challenges

Jacobson is well aware that his point of view is not the most popular. For example, the promise of next-generation nuclear power facilities has recently received government and corporate support.

Nuclear innovation is “mostly pushed by industrial individuals, such as Bill Gates, who has a sizable interest in tiny modular reactors,” according to Jacobson. “Having financial stake , he also wants to be known as the person who strives to help resolve the problem.”

The technology, specifically the Natrium nuclear reactor, will make a significant difference in tackling climate change, according to TerraPower CEO Chris Levesque.

He stated that renewable alternatives for long-distance ships and aircraft are not yet accessible. “However, those are still on the drawing board.” And we know it can be done technically, even if it hasn’t been commercialized.”

As Jacobson sees it, education is a major roadblock. “I believe in myself. But the thing that I find to be the most problematic is that it is an information issue, because most people are unaware of what is available,” he remarked.

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