Tech to help US meet ‘25-by-25′ energy goal: report

June 25th, 2008 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 25 (IANS) Technology needs to gear up to enable the US to meet 25 percent of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2025 — what is known as its “25-by-25″ goal. And this has to be done without adding to consumer costs, according to a study by the independent think tank RAND that said biomass resources and wind power have the greatest potential to contribute toward reaching this goal.

The study supersedes an earlier 2005 RAND report and finds that meeting the goals would be more challenging than outlined in the earlier version.

The Energy Future Coalition, a non-profit organisation, asked RAND to assess the economic and other impacts of meeting the 25-by-25 goal.

The report comes even as oil prices have peaked and growing worries about global warming have increased interest in expanding renewable energy.

Substituting renewable energy for fossil fuels would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the most prevalent greenhouse gas associated with global warming.

Currently, renewable energy provides 9.5 percent of total US power supply, mostly hydroelectric and 1.6 percent of motor vehicle fuel.

“Expanding the use of renewable fuels will lower the long-term price of crude oil and reduce carbon dioxide emissions that are contributing to global warming,” said co-author Michael Toman, director of RAND’s Environment, Energy and Economic Development programme.

Wind power, solar power, hydropower and the burning of agricultural waste are all examples of renewable energy sources that can be used to produce electricity.

Biomass resources like stalks from food crops, wood material and grasses also can be turned into ethanol or gasoline that can power motor vehicles.

“Without increased biomass availability, expanded renewable energy use could impose economic burdens and result in environmental setbacks due to land conversion,” Toman said.

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