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By Umair Irfan
Wind and sunshine could power most of the United States by 2030 without raising electricity prices, according to a new study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Even when optimizing to cut costs and limiting themselves to existing technology, scientists showed that renewables can meet energy demands and slash carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 80 percent below 1990 levels.
The study, published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change, factors in energy demand, costs and, crucially, the role of weather.
Co-author Alexander MacDonald, outgoing head of the American Meteorological Society and recently retired from NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, said the study sprang from discussions he had at the 2009 U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“Basically, it was really clear that nobody has really looked at the importance of weather for wind and solar energy,” he said.
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