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Alternatives to Nuclear

Sustainable Energy Studies, compiled by the SUN DAY Campaign:

The following studies were produced by various governmental, business, academic, and non-profit organizations. Each provides information and analyses about the near-term potential and/or status of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. Collectively, they document how it is possible to use sustainable energy technologies to meet U.S. energy needs while simultaneously reducing energy imports, phasing-out nuclear power, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

April 28, 2016. Renewables swamp gas for new generating capacity in 1st quarter of 2016: 1,291 MW to 18 MW. No new capacity for nuclear or coal. Non-hydro renewables (9.53 GW) now exceeds nuclear (9.17 GW) in total generating capacity. From Sun Day Campaign.

December 16, 2014. A major new report from Institute for Local Self Reliance: "Beyond Utility 2.0 to Energy Democracy." Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the changes that are rapidly transforming the electric utility industry and how to make those changes both democratize production, delivery and use of energy as well as usher in a clean energy system.

November 24, 2014. For 8th time in past 10 months, renewables dominate new U.S. generating capacity. For year, new renewables are more than 37 times nukes, coal and oil combined. Sun Day Campaign press release

August 20, 2014. Press release from Sun Day Campaign. Renewables make up 100% of new U.S. generation capacity in July 2014.

July 21, 2014. Renewables provided 56% of new U.S. generating capacity in first half of 2014. One-third of new capacity was solar. Sun Day Campaign press release.

June 23, 2014. New release from Sun Day Campaign: renewables accounted for 88% of all new U.S. generating capacity for May; 55% for the year so far.

May 14, 2014 Yet another study, this one from Greenpeace, on how U.S. can attain a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system by mid-century. Energy (R)Evolution: A Sustainable Energy USA Outlook.

April 29, 2014. Sun Day Campaign: EIA renewable energy projections range from: can't pass the laugh test to unduly conservative. Press release.

April 14, 2014. New report from the Sun Day Campaign predicts U.S. will reach 16% renewables generation within five years--a level U.S. Energy Information Administration absurdly claims won't be reached until 2040. Press release; full study. (both in pdf)

February 26, 2014. Rocky Mountain Institute has published a new paper, The Economics of Grid Defection, that is well worth reading. Grid defection refers to the point when it is just as cheap for people to power their own homes than it is to remain connected to the utility grid. And that day is coming sooner that most people think--Hawaii is already there, but even in large states like New York and California, it will be a matter of years--not decades.

January 27, 2014. Press release from Sun Day Campaign: Renewables accounted for 37% of new electricity capacity additions during 2013--more than triple nukes, coal and oil combined.

December 20, 2013. Renewables provide 100% of all new capacity in November 2013; FERC data undermines EIA's projection of slow renewable growth through 2040. SUN DAY press release.

November 22, 2013. Policy brief prepared for United Nations Working Group of Sustainable Development recommends phase-out of nuclear power, emphasis on nuclear-free carbon-free future.

September 11, 2013. 96 organizations, including NIRS, send letter to Energy Information Administration stating its energy forecasts severely understate renewable energy growth and have not been borne out by experience; urge review of current methodologies and assumptions.

March 27, 2013. Major new study, published in Journal of Power Sources, finds that renewable energy can power up to 99.9% of U.S. needs by 2030.

January 10, 2013 Poll from American Clean Energy Agenda finds nearly all Americans want clean energy. 86% want leadership on shifting from coal/nuclear to wind/solar.

October 26, 2012: 100 organizations present American Clean Energy Agenda plans for first 100 days of the next Administration. Press release. Full plans. You can sign a petition in support of the American Clean Energy Agenda here.

September 12, 2012. Transition to a fully sustainable global energy system. New study published in Energy Strategy Reviews details an energy future for 2050 powered 95% by renewables

June 27, 2012. 36 groups, including NIRS, join to fight for American Clean Energy Agenda & against dirty energy industry and lobbyists. Principles of Beyond Business As Usual: The American Clean Energy Agenda: Realizing a Renewable Energy Future by 2030.

June 21, 2012. Renewable Energy Futures Study from U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory concludes renewables can provide 80% of U.S. electricity by mid-century, even using currently available technology.

March 25, 2011: Yet another major report that provides a path to a 100% renewable energy future before mid-century. PDF This one is from the Institute for Policy Research and Development in London, led by two U.S. university professors.

February 2011: Major World Wildlife Fund study on how to bring the entire planet to 100% renewables by mid-century; PDF includes explanation of why nuclear power is no solution to climate change or world’s energy future. Worthwhile.

January 18, 2011: Battle of the Grids. PDF New Greenpeace International report subtitled “How Europe can go 100% renewable and phase out dirty energy.” Though Europe focused, its implications apply elsewhere. How smart grids, micro grids and super grids will enable the transition from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewables.

September 14, 2010: New study from DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory PDF finds that offshore wind power potential alone equals more than 4,000 gigawatts, or about four times entire U.S. electrical demand. Check your state’s offshore wind potential!

August 21, 2010: Nuclear Power’s Competitive Landscape. PDF New presentation from Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute showing why nuclear power cannot compete with micropower—efficiency, renewables, etc. Devastating analysis for new nukes.

July 8, 2010. Solar power is now cheaper than nuclear power in North Carolina, and will gain even more cost advantage in coming years. New report for NC WARN by former Duke University Chancellor. PDF

May 11, 2010. Major new report from Synapse Energy Economics for the Civil Society Institute: Beyond Business as Usual: Investigating a Future without Coal and Nuclear Power in the U.S. Press release. PDF Full report PDF.

March 2009: Can we go carbon-free, nuclear-free! A resounding Yes! says a new report prepared for Greenpeace by German Aerospace Center (German counterpart to NASA). Energy [r]evolution: A sustainable USA concludes that a virtually carbon-free, nuclear-free energy future for the U.S. is possible by mid-century, at an acceptable economic cost. Download here. PDF

May 27, 2008: An important new article from Rocky Mountain Institute: The Nuclear Illusion PDF by Amory Lovins and Imran Sheikh. “Nuclear power is continuing its decades-long collapse in the global marketplace because it’s grossly uncompetitive, unneeded, and obsolete—so hopelessly uneconomic that one needn’t debate whether it’s clean and safe; it weakens electric reliability and national security; and it worsens climate change compared with devoting the same money and time to more effective options.” Read this to understand the reality of energy in the 21st century, and make sure your elected representatives at every level of government read it too.

March 2008: Got Solar! PDF 35.62KB NIRS Factsheet

February 21, 2008: New report from World Wind Energy Association: 19.7 Gigawatts of wind power—the equivalent of 15-20 nuclear reactors—was added in 2007. Wind now generates more than 1% of worldwide electricity, and continues to be the world’s fastest growing source of power. PDF

November 8, 2007: Jobs from Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency. New factsheet from Environmental and Energy Study Institute.

August 2007: Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy, A new report from Institute for Energy and Environmental Research is available at  Four-page summary of the book, with main recommendations available here. PDF

October 5, 2006: 145 organizations, including NIRS, release the Sustainable Energy Blueprint: a paper outlining a "plausible strategy for achieving a no-nuclear, low-carbon, highly-efficient and sustainable energy future. Press Release. Download .pdf verion of Blueprint here

September 2006: A new report from Greenpeace International and the European Photovoltaic Industry Association finds that Solar power can deliver electricity to more than 2 billion people and provide more than 2 million jobs with an annual investment of 113 billion Euros by 2025. According to the report, 350 million tons of CO2 emissions would be cut -- the equivalent amount from 140 coal power stations -- and by 2040, solar electricity could provide more than 16% of the global power demand.

"Factoids" on sustainable energy issues from the Sustainable Energy Coalition:
Factoid #1: Biomass Could Provide 15% of U.S. Energy Demand by 2030.
Factoid #2: Annual Installations of Rooftop Photovoltaics Could Power Hundreds of Thousands of Homes and Businesses by 2010.
Factoid #3: Wind Power Could Generate More Than Enough Sustainable Electricity to Meet Global Energy Needs.
Factoid #4: Biomass Could Provide at Least 12 Percent of California's Electricity Needs.
Factoid #5: Untapped Geothermal Resources Could Provide 25,000MW of Electrical Generating Capacity
Factoid #6: U.S. Can Eliminate Oil Use in a Few Decades
Factoid #7: The Northeast Has Enough Efficiency Resources to Slow and Eventually Halt Growth in Electricity Demand
Factoid #8: Wind Power Could Generate 20% of Electricity by 2020; Renewable Fuels Can Largely Replace Gasoline by 2050
Factoid #9: California Can Satisfy 33 Percent of its Electricity Supply Needs With Renewable Energy by 2020 With Little or no Increase in Electric Rates.
Factoid #10: Western U.S. Could Reduce Electricity Use by 20% From Projected Levels by 2020
Factoid #11: Energy Use in Buildings Can be Cut by 14 Percent by 2020 Through Short-term Efficiency Policies
Factoid #12 -- Solar Energy Could Provide 8,000+ MW of Capacity in Western States by 2015
Factoid #13 -- Combined Heat & Power Could Provide an Additional 43,000 MW of Electrical Generating Capacity in Western States
Factoid #14 -- California Has Potential For Almost 150GW of Wind Capacity
Factoid #15 -- California Can Meet Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets at no Net Cost While Creating 20,000 Jobs And Expanding State's Economy $60 Billion
Factoid #16 -- Western U.S. Has 13,000 Megawatts of Near-Term Geothermal Power Potential
Factoid #17: U.S. Hydropower Can Be Increased By At Least 50 Percent
Factoid #18: Renewable Resources Could Provide 99 Percent of U.S. Electricity Generation by 2020

Sustainable Energy Coalition Issues First in Series of "Factoids" Outlining How the U.S. can Eliminate Energy Imports, Phase out Nuclear Power, and Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. SEC News Release. October 17, 2005

Study by Rocky Mountain Institute finds renewables, efficiency, distributed generation remains cheaper and more effective than nuclear power; passage of energy bill would undermine national security. June 2005.

Potential for Renewable Energy (Union of Concerned Scientists, May 8, 2001)

The Myth of 1,300 Power Plants (Natural Resources Defense Council, May15, 2001)

Energy Efficiency (Natural Resources DefenseCouncil, May 15, 2001)