Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson previously co-authored studies in 2009 and 2011, outlining what it would take to shift completely to renewable energy at a global and national scale, respectively. In either case, such conversion would be a colossal undertaking in infrastructure, policy, finance, and partnerships.
But could it be more feasible to do it on a smaller scale — say, an individual state? Jacobson has now shrunk those analyses down to what it would take for the State of New York to shift its entire energy needs — transportation, electricity, heating and cooling — to renewable sources.
Here's what they come up with as New York's renewables-only mix by 2030:
40 percent: Offshore wind (12,770 5-megawatt turbines)10 percent: Onshore wind (4,020 5-MW turbines)10 percent: Concentrated solar (387 100-MW CSP plants)10 percent: Utility-scale solar PV (828 50-MW plants)6 percent: Residential rooftop PV (5,000,000 5-kW systems)12 percent: Commercial/government rooftop PV (500,000 100-kW systems)5.5 percent: Hydro (7 1.3-GW hydroelectric power plants, most of which already exist)5 percent: Geothermal (36 100-MW plants)1 percent: Tidal (2,600 1-MW tidal turbines)0.5 percent: Wave energy (1,910 0.75-MW wave devices)
The end result, according to the study: power demand would be reduced by 37 percent, fuel costs would be zero, there would be a net increase in jobs, nearly all energy would be produced in-state, costs (and mortality) associated with pollution and emissions would decline significantly, and the 271 GW of installed power needed would be repaid within 17 years.