Democratic Governor of Washington State and Presidential Candidate, Jay Inslee, has proposed that 1,100 gigawatts of solar energy capacity be installed by 2035.
Of the many democratic candidates, Inslee is, by far, the most vocal proponent of a quick transition to a clean energy society for the United States. It’s his primary platform. He is calling for 100 percent “clean, renewable, and zero-emission” energy by 2035. This is his energy version of Kennedy’s “moonshot” program. “A massive, full scale mobilization of the federal government that will spur major innovation and deployment of clean energy.” This will also include “good paying jobs for workers, and support for vulnerable communities.”
In order for Inslee’s goal to be met by 2035, solar would need to be installed at a compound annual growth rate of 19 percent. This growth rate is actually less than what an independent Japanese/German/U.S research consortium (GA-SERI) has determined. Of course, additional solar capacity would be needed after 2035 to meet the needs of an increasing amount of electric vehicles and new infrastructure that will need to be zero-emission.
In addition to more clean energy deployment, the governor also realizes that there are other pieces of the puzzle that must be supported. Energy storage, smart grids, and transmission are topics that must be dealt with as well. He mentioned that “through expedited planning, broad cost allocation, and negotiated siting”, the long distance interstate transmission of clean energy can be accomplished. The Governor also mentioned an idea that has already passed in California, that all new homes should automatically include solar.
It’s quite refreshing to hear a Presidential candidate put such a strong focus on renewable energy as a part of his campaign. This is the kind of leadership that is needed, and will continue to be needed many years into the future.
It’s worth noting that, from a political standpoint, promoting clean energy is no longer a radical idea. This is mainly due to the fact that it is now the cheapest option available. Voters like hearing that they will be saving money.
The one idea that may have been overemphasized was the need for investments in transmission and distribution. One of the great things about solar power is that it is easily distributed. In other words, the energy can be used where it is produced. A good deal of solar can be installed in the cities that require it. The remainder of the required solar can, in many cases, be installed nearby the cities that need it. This can limit the required transmission lines. This energy does not need to be transmitted across multiple states, like conventional energy.
Hopefully, more politicians will feel comfortable showing support for solar power and other sources of clean, renewable energy. After all, it’s a safe bet now.