Solar power is the fastest growing, most cost-effective renewable energy source in the U.S. Tapping solar energy to electrify our homes, businesses, municipalities and transportation will provide a viable future alternative to fossil fuels.
Will our electrical grid be operational as demand for electricity grows and hydroelectric power declines due to less annual snowpack and precipitation?
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Oregon is already experiencing severe drought conditions across 75 percent of the state. The fifth Oregon Climate Assessment Report predicts 2030 annual average temperatures will increase by 5 degrees Fahrenheit. A decrease in Cascade snowpack and earlier melting is imminent and could dramatically decrease our ability to produce sufficient hydroelectric power.
In Eugene, 77 percent of our electricity is generated by hydroelectric power. Currently, just one-tenth of 1 percent is supplied by solar sources.
Preparing our energy infrastructure now, to integrate solar resources can allow for energy resilience in the future. Restructuring the electrical grid to integrate large amounts of solar is complex and will take time and money. The use of lithium ion batteries, whose price continues to fall, can make solar energy generation 24/7.
A recent U.S. Department of Energy study states that by 2035 solar energy can create 40 percent of our nation’s electricity and employ 1.5 million people.
For more information contact SolarizeEugene@gmail.com.