New Study Tallies Environmental and Public Health Benefits of Solar Power

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Solar appetite could broach $400 billion in environmental and open health advantages via a United States by 2050, according to a investigate from a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

“We find that a U.S. electric complement in that solar plays a vital role—supplying 14% of direct in 2030, and 27% in 2050—would outcome in fast environmental and health benefits. Moreover, we find that a existent swift of solar plants is already charity a down-payment towards those benefits, and that there are vast informal differences in a benefits,” pronounced Ryan Wiser of Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area.

The sum financial value of a greenhouse-gas and atmosphere wickedness advantages of a high-penetration solar unfolding exceeds $400 billion in present-value terms underneath executive assumptions. Focusing on a existent end-of-2014 swift of solar appetite projects, new annual advantages equal some-more than $1.5 billion underneath executive assumptions.

The report, The Environmental and Public Health Benefits of Achieving High Penetrations of Solar Energy in a United States, might be downloaded here. The news is partial of a array of papers published as partial of a U.S. Department of Energy’s On a Path to SunShot study. The DOE launched a SunShot Initiative in 2011, with a idea of pushing down a cost of solar appetite so that it was cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by a finish of a decade. The new reports take batch of a swell already made, and prominence several barriers and opportunities that sojourn to achieving SunShot-level cost reductions. The full set of reports, including dual others involving Berkeley Lab, can be found here.

Environmental and health advantages of achieving a SunShot Vision Scenario (14% of U.S. electricity direct by 2030 and 27% by 2050)

Environmental and health advantages of achieving a SunShot Vision Scenario
(14% of U.S. electricity direct by 2030 and 27% by 2050)

The SunShot Initiative aims to revoke a commissioned cost of solar by 75% between 2010 and 2020. In their SunShot Vision Study, published in 2012, DOE found that assembly SunShot’s low-cost solar idea could outcome in solar provision 14% of U.S. electricity direct by 2030 and 27% by 2050.

The new investigate follows adult on that work by evaluating a greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions reductions, air-pollution health and environmental impacts, and water-use reductions from vast amounts of solar. As Trieu Mai from NREL explains, “This investigate augments a strange DOE news by attaching specific numbers to a advantages of solar energy. It also assesses a advantages already being delivered by a existent swift of solar projects. Importantly, we take good caring to report a methods and prominence underlying uncertainties.”

Benefits of a Existing Fleet of Solar Projects

The investigate finds that a 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar commissioned as of a finish of 2014 is already obscure annual GHGs by 17 million metric tons, value about $700 million per year if valued with a executive guess of a “social cost of carbon” – a Obama Administration’s guess of a long-term repairs finished by one ton of CO emissions. Over half of these advantages come from emissions reductions in California.

Solar is also shortening required atmosphere pollutants from appetite plants – sulfur, nitrogen, and particulates – and a analogous health advantages are biggest in a eastern United States. Overall, a health and environmental advantages of this wickedness rebate are value an estimated $890 million from avoiding beforehand mankind and a operation of other disastrous health outcomes. “The East has some-more coal-fired appetite era than a rest of a country, and therefore sees larger advantages in shortening required pollutants,” explained Wiser, a lead author of a study.

Annual environmental and health advantages of a 20 GW of solar appetite commissioned by a finish of 2014

Annual environmental and health advantages of a 20 GW of solar appetite commissioned by a finish of 2014

Annual GHG and atmosphere peculiarity advantages of a 20 GW of solar appetite commissioned by a finish of 2014 by segment or state

Annual GHG and atmosphere peculiarity advantages of a 20 GW of solar appetite commissioned by a finish of 2014 by segment or state

Benefits from a High-Penetration Solar Energy Future

Looking serve ahead, with solar flourishing to 14% of direct by 2030 and 27% by 2050, a investigate finds GHG reductions of 13% in 2030 and 18% in 2050, compared to a unfolding of no new solar. These glimmer reductions are value about $259 billion in reduced tellurian meridian indemnification formed on executive estimates, or 2.2 cents per kWh of solar.

Hitting SunShot goals is also found to revoke sulfur, nitrogen, and particulate emissions, delivering $167 billion in health and environmental benefits, or 1.4 cents per kWh of solar, again formed on executive estimates. The many important advantage comes from shortening beforehand mankind from sulfate particles. Achieving a SunShot Vision unfolding reduces beforehand mortalities by between 25,000 and 59,000 lives, formed on methods grown by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Lastly, solar appetite reduces H2O use by appetite plants. Relative to a baseline scenario, achieving a SunShot Vision unfolding reduces power-sector H2O withdrawals by 8% in 2030 and 5% in 2050, while H2O expenditure is reduced by 10% in 2030 and 16% in 2050. Importantly, states that are sunny, though drought-prone and dull like California and Texas, are among those with a largest reductions in H2O use.

The investigate was upheld by appropriation from a U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative.

Source: LBL