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Solar could power more than 1/3 of the US West finds new study

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That’s if the SunShot Initiative’s goals to reduce the cost of solar are realized, according to a new University of California, Berkeley. The research used computer modeling to predict what the U.S. West’s energy infrastructure could look like by 2050.

The study was led by study leader Dan Kammen, a professor of Energy in UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group and will appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, in a piece that was written by graduate student Ana Mileva, coauthored by James Nelson and Josiah Johnston. In the study the researchers developed a computer model to predict what will happen if the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative succeeds, including the effects of potential carbon policies like a carbon cap.

Ultimately they found that if SunShot is successful, photovoltaics would provide more than a third of electric power in the region by 2050. If it reaches those adoption rates it would displace natural gas, nuclear and carbon capture and sequestration technologies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to help minimize the negative impacts of climate change, the researchers said.

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