US President Joe Biden has set a goal of greening the country’s electricity grid so that it is carbon neutral by 2035. And Ryan Weiser, a senior fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, believes the US is halfway there.
The scientist compared last year’s data on carbon emissions from the U.S. electricity grid with projections 15 years ago and found that actual CO2 emissions in 2020 were 52% lower than the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2005 projections.
“There are always fears that energy transit could take a hundred years or at least several decades. However, the fact that we have already come half way is impressive, ”Weiser writes in his report.
This document was published at the most opportune moment: on April 22-23, a virtual climate summit organized by Washington will take place. Joe Biden’s goal of completely greening the U.S. electrical grid by 2035 and the entire economy by 2050 is one of the most ambitious in the world. However, it will not be easy to achieve.
The sharp drop in greenhouse gas emissions between 2005 and 2020 was largely due to the shift in most U.S. power plants from coal to natural gas… However, gas is not a carbon-neutral fuel, so further greening of the US electrical grid will require a larger use of clean technologies such as energy storage.
In addition, the coronavirus pandemic also played a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2020.
However, there are also positive aspects.
First, the share of renewables in the overall US energy mix has skyrocketed over the past decade. And, secondly, electricity consumption in the country in the period from 2005 to 2020 remained approximately unchanged, although the US Department of Energy predicted its growth. This was facilitated by the emergence and widespread use of energy-saving technologies, such as LED lamps.
“Will it be easy to walk the rest of the way? Definitely not, ”concludes Weiser. “But I also think it would be wrong to say that there are no more easy solutions.”