A report from the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force calls for the installation of 500 million solar modules in the next five years.
Solar module sizes vary widely these days — but that’s hundreds of gigawatts of solar and several times the current U.S. appetite for PV.
The report covers renewables, energy storage, energy efficiency and clean transportation. The report also covers criminal justice reform, climate change, health care, closing the racial wealth gap and explicitly, “Undoing the Harms of the Trump Administration and Righting the Wrongs.”
When it comes to renewable energy, here are the task force’s aims.
- Dramatically expand solar and wind energy deployment through community-based and utility-scale systems. Within five years, we will install 500 million solar panels, including eight million solar roofs and community solar energy systems, and 60,000 made-in-America onshore and offshore wind turbines.
- Cut red tape: promote fast and easy permitting for rooftop solar and energy retrofits
- Launch a battery storage and clean energy transmission line moonshot: super charge investment in innovation and deployment of American made battery technology and clean energy transmission lines.
- Improve transmission planning: increase transparency and fairness in power markets for clean energy. Develop and implement a long-term transmission plan to deliver more renewables.
- Adopt scaled-up tax credits for renewable energy projects that meet certain labor standards.
The plan upends four years of fossil-fuel favoritism and acknowledges, “Climate change is a global emergency.”
The Biden-Sanders task force finds:
“We have no time to waste in taking action to protect Americans’ lives and futures. From Houston, Texas, to Paradise, California; from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Davenport, Iowa, the last four years have seen record-breaking storms, devastating wildfires, and historic floods. Urban and rural communities alike have suffered tens of billions of dollars in economic losses. Dams have failed catastrophically in Michigan. Neighborhoods have been all but wiped off the map in Florida. Farmers’ crops have been drowned in their fields across the Midwest. Thousands of Americans have died. And President Trump still callously and willfully denies the science that explains why so many are suffering.”
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“The plan upends four years of fossil-fuel favoritism”
4 years, yeah, right. Try over a century.
I like the boldness of the plan!
That wasn’t as alliterative.
forever fossil-fuel favoritism foiled…
As usual, no mention of how to pay for it. More increased debt put on the backs of our working class and our children and our grandchildren.
@Larry above, face-value cost of solar and wind are lower than coal and are also approaching natural gas.
The big differentiator comes when considering the hidden costs of fossil fuels, especially coal and oil, which drive up healthcare costs (paid for in higher healthcare premiums) and pollute land and water (paid for in higher taxes or increasing national debt, or more often higher healthcare costs when problems are unaddressed). It requires an extra layer of analysis, which is why it’s often overlooked in our soundbite society, but solar and wind energy are notably less costly when factoring in the hidden costs of fossil fuels.
In some parts of the country, it costs less per kWh to set up micro-grids in semi-dense very urban areas that run on solar and are disconnected from the grid entirely (with 24+ hours of backup power in storage), even if we ignore the hidden healthcare costs. That said, this industry is still organizing, but it would not surprise me if Tesla or another energy company launched something in the next 1-2 years in this market.
@Larry Klone: renewable energy has a pretty short payback period. After that it’s income property…;)
Larry, do you question fossil fuel subsidies?
Today’s American megawatt solar farms are already being paid for via large-scale investment primarily from foreign mega-corporations. American public utilities such as National Grid and NYSEG are also owned by foreign corporations. Is it wise for American electric power production and distribution – renewable or not – to be owned primarily by foreigners?
From my observations of foreign organizations investing in US real estate, it is very wise for them to invest and be owned by foreigners. Real estate is something that remains here, they can’t take it away from the US. Same with electric power.
the “how do we pay for it” is ALWAYS heard from GOP pundits like Fox Noise, but NEVER when billionaires and corporations get multimillion and multibillion-dollar tax breaks and stimulus handouts and the like.
@Ronald Schultz exactly right. The genius of the Right is their rhetoric that leads working class people to vote against their interests.
So much confusion over money questions would be solved if only one fact were to be regularly stated:
Money is a government program. It always has been for the entire existence of money. It is always created and disseminated and captured and destroyed in ways which serve a particular government’s agenda. There is no “my money”. There is no “somebody else’s money”, unless by someone else you mean THE GOVERNMENT. Your bills and your coin and the numerical entries in your bank accounts are federal tender. The most devastating way government can punish, short of direct bodily harm, is through fines, by which they claim the right to seize assets. Inflation is not a worry if the conjured quantities of money are directed at paying Americans to build stuff Americans will use. Inflation only becomes a worry with foreign purchases, or for large creditors because their loans lose value. On the other side of that coin, inflation is great for those saddled with a lot of debt, because getting to the payoff number just got easier. I’m being simplistic to be short, but the people in charge know this “Where does money come from ” business is a snow job.
they said they would install 8 million solar roof panels in 5 years- if you take an average of 400W per panel- you get 3.2 GW rooftop solar in 5 years- in 2019 alone rooftop solar installations in USA was about 2.5 GW… so where are the big news?
It looks like the plan says 8 million solar roofs, not panels. That said, I wasn’t immediately impressed by that until I thought about how a ramp up is required to hit this goal…
Suppose the typical installation is 7 panels, which would mean based on your 2.5 GW number that today we’re installing 350k solar roofs each year. Now we need to ramp up to get 8 million installations over 5 years, with the trajectory below barely getting us there:
Year 1: the first year we probably don’t have many graduates from new training programs we’ve just implemented, so we can only increase installations by about 40% to 500k solar roofs installed in the first year.
Year 2: more new workers and production come online from programs that are starting to hum along, doubling installations from the previous year to 1000k.
Year 3: further ramp up to 1500k.
Year 4: … 2000k.
Year 5: … 3000k.
We start at 350k and end at 3000k an increase of +750% from today. Even if the growth is much faster earlier on, we’re still looking at an increase of about +500% from today’s annual installations. 🙂
thank u very much for your answer- i was wrong here. i did a new calculation- if you take an average rooftop solar system , about 5 KW and lets assume that 3/4 will be residential and 1/4 will be community (very rough assumption) you will get 30 GW in 5 yrs… i do agree that it will be hard to execute.
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