This op-ed was originally published by Colorado Politics on May 25, 2021. Click here to read the entire piece.
Policy makers in Denver, D.C., and across the country are looking for ways to make the transition to 100% clean energy to address climate change and improve our environment.
Colorado was among the first few states in the nation to set a target to provide carbon-free power by mid-century.
But we need to do that in a way that’s affordable. And there, Colorado can lead again.
The state’s immense wind and solar resources give it a head start. Xcel Energy, for example, already provides nearly 30% of its power in Colorado from wind and solar, and aims to build a lot more. In fact it has recently announced that 80% of the power it delivers by 2030 will come from renewables.
But, a fundamental question remains on the path to 100% clean — what happens during the weeks and months (not just days), when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind blows very little? While battery technology improves every year to help address these challenges, most major studies agree that we’ll need other technologies — mainly ones that operate 24/7/365 — to get us all the way to 100% clean affordably and reliably. Today, the International Energy Agency (IEA) believes only two of 14 critical new power sector technologies are on track to deploy at the needed rate.
Congress took a huge step towards providing answers to this question back in December, committing to next-generation clean energy technologies by financing the demonstration of long duration storage, enhanced geothermal, advanced nuclear, and carbon capture, and enhanced geothermal. This includes up to 20 new large-scale demonstration projects. Where these units are built, who benefits from the job creation, and what state benefits from becoming the first to capture the market opportunity is up in the air. States offering to share the cost of these demonstrations are likely to be first in line for benefits from these new advanced energy projects.
Click here to read the full article