An academic battle over the US energy future isn’t just theoretical

It’s been called Sayre’s Law: The idea that the viciousness of battles in academia is in inverse proportion to the importance of the issue at the center of the fight. That’s not the case, however, with the conflict that is raging over the issuance of two papers by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science (PNAS) in the United States. It speaks to the question that many advanced countries are facing as several trends merge and, in some cases, collide: How much of a country’s power needs can be supplied by intermittent renewable sources of energy given trends in lower costs of generation, the pace of technological change in storage and the costs of adaptation? And what are the costs to get there? What began the dispute is a paper published by the PNAS in February, led by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and the director of the school’s Atmosphere/Energy program. The paper builds on earlier work by Jacobson. It conclusion is that by 2050-2055, the US can produce all its electricity needs with WWS — wind, water and solar — as its base fuels, use no fossil fuels or nuclear power.

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Source: CTRM Center

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