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Wind, Solar Could Play Bigger Roles in Future US Energy Mix

U.S. climate change legislation now before Congress would mandate that by 2020, 15 to 20 percent of the nation’s electricity supply would come from renewable sources like wind and solar.

Currently wind and solar contribute only about 2 percent, with hydropower providing an additional 6 percent.

Can these renewable sources meet the nation’s energy needs? A new report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change finds that wind and solar can be a major source of electricity in the United States. But the report says that will happen only if the United States adopts new policies that promote renewable energy and put a price on climate-changing carbon emissions.

Paul Komor, professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado and author of the Pew report, says there’s theoretically enough sun and wind to meet all U.S. energy needs. The good news, he says, is that the country is already tapping these unlimited resources.


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