What Clean Energy Out West Could Mean

When it comes to the future of energy and energy use in the country, there are usually two possible oaths that people envision: the traditional, “business-as-usual” way that was prevalent for much of the past century, and the new, clean, renewable energy path, that uses cutting-edge technology and has the goal of being sustainable and ecologically sound. These two paths are exactly what a new report, Western Grid 2050: Contrasting Futures, Contrasting Fortunes, examines in relation to the states in the western part of the country.

The report imagines contrasting scenarios in 2030 and 2050; one is the Business-As-Usual (BAU) option, which expects that the country will continue to rely on its traditional methods of energy–namely coal and nuclear–and infrastructure, and the other is the Clean Energy Vision (CEV) option, which envisions the pursuit of renewable, small-scale energy and energy efficiency, as well as increasingly electric transportation and smart grids.  The report shows that a CEV future can create more jobs, save money for consumers, create reliable energy and reduce negative environmental impact by moving away from fossil fuels.

Image via Clean Energy Vision.org

Image via Clean Energy Vision.org

The report was released by the Western Grid Group (WGG), along with support from the Western Clean Energy Advocates (WCEA), which is an alliance formed by over 25 organizations in the clean energy, environmental, tribal and public health areas, as well as former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter.

The next phase of the project entails identifying new policies as well as policies already in use than can be expanded that can push states towards a clean, green future.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.