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Major progress in technology needed for 25 percent renewable energy use to be affordable
Date:6/24/2008

Dramatic progress in renewable energy technology is needed if the United States desires to produce 25 percent of its electricity and motor vehicle fuel from renewable sources by 2025 without significantly increasing consumer costs, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today.

Produced by the RAND Environment, Energy and Economic Development program, the study provides a "snapshot" of the nation's potential energy expenditures if a requirement was imposed that 25 percent of electricity and motor vehicle fuels used in the United States by 2025 would come from renewable resources (a goal activists have described as "25 x '25").

The study finds that biomass resources and wind power have the greatest potential to contribute toward reaching the 25 x '25 goal.

The study replaces a report withdrawn by RAND in 2006 because of errors RAND identified in the computer model and numerical assumptions on which the findings were based. The new report finds that meeting the 25 x '25 goals would be more challenging than outlined in the earlier version of the report. RAND is a nonprofit research organization.

The Energy Future Coalition, a nonprofit environmental organization, asked RAND to assess the economic and other impacts of meeting the 25 x '25 goal. The RAND study considered technological and economic factors that would affect the costs of renewable energy as well as non-renewable fossil fuels.

The report comes as sharply higher prices for oil, concerns about energy security and growing worries about global warming have increased interest in expanding renewable energy in the United States. Substituting renewable energy for fossil fuels would reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the most prevalent greenhouse gas associated with global warming.

Currently, renewable energy provides 9.5 percent of total U.S. electricity supply, mostly hydroelectric power, and 1.6 percent of motor vehicle fuel.

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Contact: Lisa Sodders
media@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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