Shared prosperity is key to clean energy transition

Written by
Molly Seltzer
Molly Seltzer, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
July 14, 2021

To successfully slash greenhouse emissions, the United States must ensure rural communities benefit from producing solar, wind, biofuels and other low-carbon fuels, panelists said at the annual Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership Retreat on June 3.

The event, sponsored by Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership (E-ffiliates), the corporate membership program administered by Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, brought together energy modelers, policy researchers, leaders in infrastructure and finance, and community representatives, to discuss how the United States could minimize greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately release into the atmosphere only as much greenhouse gas as is captured and stored each year, a concept known as net-zero emissions. This year’s program explored findings from a Princeton study, Net-Zero America (NZA), released in December 2020, which mapped out five technological pathways for the United States to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The NZA study found that utility-scale carbon capture technology, high-voltage transmission lines, swaths of solar and wind farms, and biofuel plants all must be deployed rapidly, and that many of these solar, wind and biofuel plants will be located in the Midwest. Experts said deploying these technologies requires more than just technological readiness; it will require social and political acceptance also.

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