Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Energy Sources, 2030, 2050

Xcel Energy (our local electric and gas utility here in Saint Paul) recently announced its plans for energy sourcing in 2030. Here it is as shown in the Star Tribune on Saturday:

Note that there is some drop in coal, but only about 20 percent; natural gas is unchanged, and hydro actually decreased. What's up with that? On the good side, wind is up 67 percent, to 25 percent of the total, and solar goes from almost nothing to 8 percent of the total.

The total share of renewables in Xcel's plan is 35 percent. (Meanwhile, California Governor Jerry Brown has pledged to make his state's energy use 50 percent renewable by 2030.)

It's a beginning, but I'd prefer if 35 percent was the plan for 2025 or even earlier. Here's the path we need to be on:

This graphic, from Mark Jacobsen's The Solutions Project, shows how Minnesota could get to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. There's a similar graphic for each state on the Solutions Project site.

I personally don't have much of a problem with Minnesota maintaining its nuclear power plants as part of the mix, but that coal has got to go.

As Grist's Dave Roberts is fond of saying, changing our electricity sources to no-carbon is the easy part; it will be harder to come up with mobile fuels (or batteries) for transportation. So we should get the "easy part" done as soon as possible, right?

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