What are the best primers on the technical side of the Green New Deal?
January 5, 2021 10:38 AM   Subscribe

What are the best explainers out there that go in to detail about what will actually be required to pull off the Green New Deal's call for 100% renewable energy in the U.S. in the very near future?

Specifically, has anyone written anything useful about the technical requirements for this to happen? Speculated about what the mix of power sources will be, what regions will get what types of generation, what new transmission and storage infrastructure will be required, and calculated costs? The more detail the better, especially if there's comparisons of cost/feasibility/etc. between a menu of options, and ESPECIALLY if there's a good breakdown of the cost of achieving the goal vs. the cost of the status quo.
posted by saladin to Law & Government (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Winning The Oil Endgame substantially predates popular use of the phrase "Green New Deal" but covers most of the same territory.
posted by flabdablet at 11:10 AM on January 5, 2021

It sounds like your question is about the science/civil engineering/macroeconomics of 100% renewable energy. This is not the Green New Deal's bailiwick. The Green New Deal is not specific about these issues, as far as I understand it. It's specific about funding, job creation, organized labor, and social justice in support of these goals (and others), and about the legislative tactics required to implement them (which echo those of the original New Deal in some ways).
posted by caek at 11:14 AM on January 5, 2021

You might be interested in Rewiring America.
posted by catquas at 11:31 AM on January 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

The National Academy of Sciences it my go-to for questions like this. Nothing available yet, it seems, but they are working on it: Accelerating Decarbonization in the United States: Technology, Policy, and Societal Dimensions
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:44 AM on January 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

David Roberts (twitter) is a superb reporter who's really made energy reporting his beat and learned substantive issues--and has not an ounce of "both side-ism" in him.

As caek says, there's not a single GND detailed "plan" to change the infrastructure. It's a goal. There are a lot of options, none easy. What GND does is commit to spending the needed money.to get to where we need to be.
posted by mark k at 11:50 AM on January 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: To be clear, I understand that the GND does not actually spell out how to accomplish a shift to renewables. But it does provide that "the goals [of the GND] should be accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization . . . that will require . . . (C) meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources" and I'm curious to know who, if anyone, has speculated on what that will actually look like.
posted by saladin at 12:57 PM on January 5, 2021

Best answer: Sen. Warren's Green New Deal [GND] plan has an estimated $10 trillion cost: The senator worked closely with Data for Progress, a progressive think tank, to crunch the numbers in her Green New Deal using modeling and federal data to see just how Warren’s plan would change the U.S. economy. Senator Markey & Representative Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Green New Deal Resolution in February 2019 (text). The September 2020 analysis in Energy Research & Social Science, a peer-reviewed international journal, The Green New Deal in the United States: What it is and how to pay for it, draws from a wide variety of great sources and notes: Senator Sanders’ version of the GND is largely based on the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey GND but fleshes it out with carefully costed details, targets fossil fuels directly through bans on fossil fuel production, and contests the role of private interests in the US energy system more broadly.[...] We examined recent critique of the economics of the GND and found that Sanders’ GND could be financed without causing excess inflation, provided US society is willing to accept tax increases for its wealthiest citizens reminiscent of those of the mid-to-late 20th century. [The Sanders GND plan is $16 trillion.]
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:47 PM on January 5, 2021

Best answer: Some details in this report from Princeton researchers.
posted by pinochiette at 7:26 PM on January 5, 2021

I'm curious to know who, if anyone, has speculated on what that will actually look like.

Amory Lovins (author of Winning the Oil Endgame) has been not only speculating but applying what he's described as "industrial acupuncture" to make this happen since the Seventies. If you're interested in this policy area and haven't already read Soft Energy Paths (1979) then I strongly recommend that you do.
posted by flabdablet at 7:42 PM on January 5, 2021

I'm still fond of Van Jones' Green Collar Economy, which covers all sorts of unsexy, old-technology fixes that need to be done in parallel, like insulation and other weatherproofing.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 6:08 PM on January 7, 2021

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