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Renewable Sources Could Power 80% of U.S. Energy Needs by 2050

Renewable. Clean. Green. These three words characterize an aspirational trifecta and pose what is simultaneously one of the greatest challenges and most significant opportunities facing this generation: how can we rethink and rebuild our infrastructure to meet energy demands while reducing our carbon footprint? And how close are we to attaining that goal? According to researchers, closer than you might think.

Last month the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published a study concluding that renewable resources like wind and solar power could supply up to 80% of U.S. energy consumption needs by the year 2050 using currently available technologies.And for those of us who live and work in the U.S. southwest, which renewable resource is cited as the most important source of clean, green energy? You guessed it: solar power.

The NREL’s study comes on the heels of similar studies released from other reputable thinktanks. Earlier this year, another highly regarded body, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), found that up to 70% of electricity needs in the contiguous U.S. could be met using clean, renewable energy by 2030. And in 2009, well-respected researchers from Stanford and UC Davis posed that the entire world could be 100% powered by clean, renewable energy by 2030. We’re talking less than 20 years away!

What do these studies tell us? Achieving a U.S. powered primarily, if not fully, by clean, renewable energy in the near future is absolutely possible.

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