Why Renewable Energy Innovation May be the Ultimate Democratizing Issue of the Political Season

This is a repost from my HuffPost page: https://www.huffpost.com/author/stacy-clark

The renewable energy plans are as viable today — if not more so — than they were when I originally posted this story in 2015:

The popularity of Bernie Sanders has a lot to do with his pragmatic, down-to-earth assessment of America’s socio-economic landscape — one that the Vermont Senator hopes to influence.

Whether outlining prescriptions to address income and racial inequality and campaign finance reform, re-working a discriminatory criminal justice system or addressing the reality of climate change, one clear message shines through: Bernie Sanders’s vision for America is resonating with the people.

Perhaps no other issue unites us all more than climate change, both for its sweeping environmental consequences and for the opportunities it presents for reigniting our economy, growing a diversified, 21st century labor force, and fundamentally redefining the way that electricity is made, stored, distributed and shared.

Sanders supports the 100% clean energy blueprints developed by The Solutions Project (TSP), the non-profit science/culture/business action organization that surveys, analyzes and maps regional wind, water, solar and geothermal resources. TSP estimates that building the renewable energy infrastructure needed to harness these resources in the U.S. by 2050 will create 2.3 million construction jobs and 2.8 million operation jobs. This is the kind of socio-economic revolution that could actually make America great again.

Clean Energy Resources Available to Power the U.S. by 2050, Courtesy: The Solutions Project

TSP’s interactive 50 State Plan invites visitors to click on any state to discover its available clean energy resource mix. Clicking on Texas, for example, reveals that by 2050, on- and offshore wind power could supply nearly 64% of the electricity required by all Texas ratepayers, including homeowners, businesses, manufacturers, government facilities and transportation. Add solar power into the mix and the number jumps to 99%. Georgetown, TX Mayor Dale Ross, aware of Texas’s abundant clean energy supply, announced last year that West Texas winds and sunshine will provide 100% of the electricity his city requires beginning as early as 2017. With wind and solar power generation costs having plummeted over the past decade, Georgetown will pay less per kilowatt hour for clean, renewable electricity than they would pay for coal- and/or natural gas-produced electricity.

The Renewable Energy Mix Capable of Powering Texas by 2050, Courtesy: The Solutions Project

With his endorsement of TSP’s 50 State Plan, Sanders appears to be the one Presidential candidate who recognizes that the renewable energy economy that must be unleashed to address climate change benefits us all. Shifting to an electricity grid powered by clean energy would slash carbon emissions, improve public health, lower medical costs, move energy production away from the mighty fossil fuel conglomerates, set America on a course for renewed and sustainable economic prosperity and demonstrate that we are still a nation of innovators, worthy once again of the world’s attention.

Originally published at https://www.huffpost.com on March 3, 2016.

Sharing the unfiltered science of climate change and the power of renewable energy to transform the world. My 2nd book, “Planet Power,” to be released in ‘21.

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