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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Clean Energy 2030 - Reshared Knol

Source Knol: Clean Energy 2030

Right now we have a real opportunity to transform our economy from one running on fossil fuels to one largely based on clean energy. Technologies and know-how to accomplish this are either available today or are under development. We can build whole new industries and create millions of new jobs. We can cut energy costs, both at the gas pump and at home. We can improve our national security. And we can put a big dent in climate change. With strong leadership we could be moving forward on an aggressive but realistic time-line and an approach that offsets costs with real economic gains.

The energy team at Google has been analyzing how we could greatly reduce fossil fuel use by 2030. Our proposal - "Clean Energy 2030" - provides a potential path to weaning the U.S. off of coal and oil for electricity generation by 2030 (with some remaining use of natural gas as well as nuclear), and cutting oil use for cars by 44%.

President-elect Obama announced his New Energy for America plan this past summer that is similar to ours in several ways, including a strong emphasis on efficiency, renewable electricity and plug-in vehicles. Similarly, the Natural Resources Defense Council, McKinsey and Company, and the Electric Power Research Institute have issued proposals that share all of these same elements. Al Gore has issued a challenge that is even more ambitious - getting us to carbon-free electricity by 2020 - and we hope the American public pushes our leaders to embrace it. T. Boone Pickens has weighed in with an interesting plan of his own to massively deploy wind energy, among other things. Other plans have also been developed in recent years that merit attention.

Google's proposal will benefit the US by increasing energy security, protecting the environment, creating new jobs, and helping to create the conditions for long-term prosperity. Some of the necessary funds will be public, but much of it will come from the private sector -- a typical approach for infrastructure and high technology investments.

Our goal in presenting this first iteration of the Clean Energy 2030 proposal is to stimulate debate and we invite you to take a look and comment - or offer an alternative approach if you disagree. With a new Administration and Congress - and multiple energy-related imperatives - this is an opportune, perhaps unprecedented, moment to move from plan to action.

This revised proposal was released on November 20, 2008. Check out Google CEO Eric Schmidt's energy speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on October 1, and his energy speech at the Natural Resources Defense Council headquarters in New York on November 20.

Summary: What's New in Version 2.0

Since Clean Energy 2030 was first published on October 1, 2008, we have made several changes based on comments from readers and internal feedback, most notably:

* an analysis of job creation in the electricity sector
* an improved vehicle model which results in higher average fleet fuel efficiency (and significantly increased savings)
* a decrease in the price of gasoline from $4 to $3 per gallon (doubling by 2030), in light of recent economic changes

Also included:

* a comment on why nuclear power was not expanded beyond the level in the baseline, and why coal with carbon capture and sequestration technology was not included
* an analysis of the precedent for rapid capacity build-outs in the natural gas and nuclear industries
* estimates of the required land area for wind and concentrating solar installations, and roof area for solar photovoltaics
* an analysis of the age of US coal and natural gas plants when retired under our proposal
* a more thorough analysis of the impact of accelerating the retirement of older vehicles
* a summary of the major activities Google is pursuing in the clean energy arena

Overall, we find a slight increase in vehicle fuel and economy-wide CO2 savings, and despite the decrease in fuel prices, a net economic savings almost as large as previously calculated, $820 billion over 22 years.

Summary: Reductions in Energy Use and Emissions
Our proposal will allow us to reduce from the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) current baseline for energy use:

* Fossil fuel-based electricity generation by 88%
* Vehicle oil consumption by 44%
* Dependence on imported oil (currently 10 million barrels per day) by 37%
* Electricity-sector CO2 emissions by 95%
* Personal vehicle sector CO2 emissions by 44%
* US CO2 emissions overall by 49% (41% from today's CO2 emission level)

We can achieve these results in 2030 by:

* Deploying aggressive end-use electrical energy efficiency measures to reduce demand 33%.
Baseline EIA demand is projected to increase 25% by 2030. In addition, the increase in plug-in vehicles (see below) increases electricity demand another 8%. Thus, our efficiency reductions keep demand flat at the 2008 level.
* Replacing all coal and oil electricity generation, and about half of that from natural gas, with renewable electricity:
o 380 gigawatts (GW) wind: 300 GW onshore + 80 GW offshore
o 250 GW solar: 170 GW photovoltaic (PV) + 80 GW concentrating solar power (CSP)
o 80 GW geothermal: 15 GW conventional + 65 GW enhanced geothermal systems (EGS)
* Increasing plug-in vehicles (hybrids & pure electrics) to 90% of new car sales in 2030, reaching 41% of the total US fleet that year
* Increasing new conventional vehicle fuel efficiency from 31 to 45 mpg in 2030


* Accelerating the turnover of the vehicle fleet, resulting in maximum new vehicle sales of 21.5 million per year in 2020, a 30% increase over the baseline, and boosting fleet average fuel efficiency by 7.5 mpg.

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Source Knol: Clean Energy 2030

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