26 Jul Elon Musk claims it’s possible to power the U.S. entirely with solar
Elon Musk joined 30 United States Governors at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island on Saturday to discuss how it would be possible to power the nation with solar energy.
“If you wanted to power the entire U.S. with solar panels, it would take a fairly small corner of Nevada or Texas or Utah; you only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States,” Musk said. “The batteries you need to store the energy, to make sure you have 24/7 power, is 1 mile by 1 mile. One square-mile. That’s it.”
Currently, only 10-15% of the U.S’s power comes from renewable energy sources. “People talk about fusion and all that, but the sun is a giant fusion reactor in the sky. It’s really reliable. It comes up every day. If it doesn’t we’ve got bigger problems.”
Musk firstly discussed the possibility of combining rooftop solar on residential homes and utility-scale solar plants. Such as the large-scale solar plants seen in Australia.
Following this, during the transition from fossil fuel to solar, it would be necessary to rely on other renewables. “We’ll need to be a combination of utility-scale solar and rooftop solar, combined with wind, geothermal, hydro, probably some nuclear for a while, in order to transition to a sustainable situation,” Musk explained.
Lastly, the U.S. would need to build more localized power sources, like the rooftop solar setups. “People do not like transmission lines going through their neighbourhood, they really don’t like that, and I agree,” Musk said. “Rooftop solar, utility solar; that’s really going to be a solution from the physics standpoint. I can really see another way to really do it.”
If complete renewable energy power is achieved in the U.S. this would wipe out around 1,821 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions currently produced by the country’s electric power sector — 35 percent of the overall CO2 energy-related emissions in the U.S.