Renewable energy could power half the nation
Industry report says wind, solar could make big contribution to energy supply by 2025, but only if policies change.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Renewable energy could supply up to half the nation's current electricity demand and 40 percent of its transportation fuel demand by 2025, proponents said Tuesday.
But to do so, the government would have to commit to long-term policies that promote renewable energy.
Wind energy could play the biggest part in generating electricity, supplying nearly 40 percent of the renewable power, according to a report from the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE).
Second on the list is solar power, at 26 percent, followed by geothermal energy with 16 percent, biomass, which is energy produced from plants and garbage, comes in at 16 percent, and water - including hydro dams, tidal and wave power - rounds out the alternative-energy-source list at 3.6 percent.
"We still have elected officials who believe renewable energy cannot power this country, and I think that is incorrect," ACORE president Michael Eckhart said on a conference call. "We can deliver huge amounts of energy in an environmentally sustainable way."
What we have here is a failure to communicate
ACORE's projections differ sharply with those of the U.S. government and most major oil companies, who say renewables will continue to account for between 5 to 10 percent of the country's energy use by 2030.
Eckhart noted the government's forecasts are made considering only current policies and laws, but said ACORE's study highlights what could be done with laws and policies that encourage renewable energy use.
"Renewable energy doesn't amount to much unless you change policy," he said.
Eckhart steered clear of endorsing specific policies or candidates, but said government laws and incentives for green power should be long term in scope to give the industry and investors the stability it needs to grow.
Policies others have mentioned that support renewable energy include mandating utilities to get a certain percentage of their power from clean sources, placing a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, and making tax credits for renewables permanent.