The NREL(National Renewable Energy Laboratory) recently did a study on renewable energy potential in the U.S. and the results certainly expose the lies spouting from the mouths of the Republican(Big Fossil, Inc.) Party. Contrary to the nonsensical statements that we continuously hear from Republicans about solar power being a pipe dream, solar power actually has the greatest potential of any energy source in the U.S.
There's a great chart in the NREL publication that clearly shows how incredibly large the solar power potential in the U.S. is:
Table ES-1. Total Estimated U.S. Technical Potential Generation and Capacity by Technologyhttp://www.nrel.gov/...
Technology Generation a Potential (TWh) Capacity a Potential (GW)
Urban utility-scale PV 2,200 1,200
Rural utility-scale PV 280,600 153,000
Rooftop PV 800 664
Concentrating solar power 116,100 38,000
Onshore wind power 32,700 11,000
Offshore wind power 17,000 4,200
Biopower 500 62
Hydrothermal power 300 38
Enhanced geothermal 31,300 4,000
Hydropower 60 300
*a Non-excluded land was assumed to be available to support development of more than one technology.
*b All biomass feedstock resources considered were assumed to be available for biopower use; competing uses, such as biofuels production, were not considered.
The U.S. currently generates around 4k Terawatt hours of electricity from fossil, nuclear, and a small amount from renewables. What this NREL study clearly shows is that renewables, and especially solar power, blow all other sources out of the water in terms of electricity-generating potential. Solar alone could generate 400k Terawatt hours of electricity!
The study is even conservative in its estimates. For example, an efficiency rating of 13.5% was used for rooftop solar panels while a 20% efficiency rating is rapidly becoming the new normal with solar pv panels. In five to ten years, a 25% efficiency rating will probably be the new normal, which means that rooftop solar pv alone could cover nearly half our current electricity needs. In regards to urban utility scale solar, parking lots were excluded despite them having some of the greatest potential for urban solar power generation. So, not only is the solar power potential likely even more than 100 times our current electricity generation, it seems clear that rooftop solar and urban utility solar alone could provide us with all our electricity needs.
The Republican know-nothings, bought and paid for Republican politicians, and the easily manipulated are likely to continue with their ignorant "Drill, baby, drill!" chants and their dumb comments about renewables being a "pipe dream". They can deny realty all they want, but it is now clear that renewables are the future and the only logical answer to our energy needs. This study and the increasing threat of global warming makes it 100% clear that:
Coal is a pipe dream!
Oil is a pipe dream!
Natural Gas is a pipe dream!
Nuclear is a pipe dream!
And they're dangerous pipe dreams that threaten all the species on our earth, to boot.
For this reason alone, we cannot afford to have Republicans do well in the 2012 election. It is an absolute necessity that we re-elect President Obama, that Democrats hold the Senate, and that Democrats retake the House of Representatives.
President Obama summed it up pretty well when describing the dinosaur Republican politicians who will do everything in their power to block the implementation of renewables:
President Obama launched a fiery attack today on his Republican rivals for the presidency, accusing them of pursing energy policies that are so “stuck in the past” they amount to a “bad rerun” and comparing their beliefs to those of the “Flat-Earth Society.”http://abcnews.go.com/...
In a campaign-style speech, the president blasted the GOP candidates for resisting alternative energy sources. “They dismiss wind power. They dismiss solar power. They make jokes about biofuels. … We’re trying to move towards the future. They want to be stuck in the past,” Obama said at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md.
“We’ve heard this kind of thinking before. Let me tell you something: If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the ‘Flat-Earth Society,’” Obama said to cheers from the crowd. “They would not have believed that the world was round.”
“They probably would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio who said television won’t last, just a flash in the pan. One of Henry Ford’s advisers was quoted as saying the horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a fad,” Obama said, chuckling. “There have always been folks like that. There have always been folks who are the naysayers and don’t believe in the future and don’t believe in trying to do things differently.”
I'll conclude this diary with the video of the Obama Speech from which those excerpts were taken(Excerpts start at 29:00):