Wind and solar resources could provide 80% of the electricity demand in the United States, provided improvements are made in transmission and storage, scientists said Tuesday.
These renewable energies were considered only a few years ago, being able to meet only 20 to 30% of American electrical needs, according to a study published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.
The United States currently generates about two-thirds of their electricity with fossil resources – natural gas, coal, oil – which contributes to the rise in global temperature by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And a fifth comes from nuclear power plants.
Renewable energies account for only 15% of the energy mix: wind contributes 7%, solar 1% and other sources such as hydraulics bring the balance, According to the US Energy Information Authority
To determine the potential contribution of sustainable energy in the future, researchers analyzed US weather, hour by hour, between 1980 and 2015.  "We observed the variation of solar and wind energy both in time and space and compared it to US demand for electricity," said Steven Davis, professor of system science. at the University of California-Irvine
"We have determined that we could reliably obtain about 80% of our electricity from these (renewable) sources by building a continent-wide transmission network. u facilities that can maintain the equivalent of twelve hours of national electricity consumption, "he continued.
These requirements would require an investment" very important, but not inconceivable, "noted the researchers, also from California Institute of Technology and the Carnegie Institution for Science.
They called for the United States, the second largest polluter behind China, to consider developing low-carbon energy sources while waiting for these facilities to be built.
" Options could include nuclear and hydroelectric power generation as well as demand management, "said Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science.