With all the talk in the US about bringing back coal and opening more oil reserves, it can be discouraging for those of us dreaming of a sustainable energy future. Fortunately, Elon Musk has laid out a feasible plan for transitioning the entire US to renewable energy. Speaking at the National Governors Association meeting this week, Musk talked about how little real estate it would require to power the country.
According to Musk, solar makes the most sense for large-scale deployment, he said, because the sun is essentially a giant fusion reactor in the sky. “If you wanted to power the entire United States 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. The batteries you need to store the energy, so you have 24/7 power, is 1 mile by 1 mile. One square-mile,” he said.
Right now, just under 15 percent of the country runs on renewable energy. But with Musk’s plan, that number could be 100 percent. His plan includes combining rooftop solar, like Tesla’s new solar roof, with utility-scale solar. During the transition, Musk says that we’d likely need to rely on transition power like wind, hydro, geothermal and nuclear energy as we make the adjustment. During that time, we’d need to focus on building up infrastructure, along with encouraging local solar power to limit the amount of transmission lines that would need to be laid.
You can watch the entire speech below:
Images via Tesla and the National Governors Association