Electricity generation

Yes, 80% of our electricity can be 'clean' by 2035

February 3, 2011: 7:24 AM ET

By Alex Taussig, contributor

(I originally published this at my blog infinitetoventure.com in 3 separate posts. Go check it out!)

President Obama made a pretty bold (and frankly unexpected) statement in last week's State of the Union address:

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they're selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

Many journalists and bloggers have already expressed their interpretation of this statement. For my part, I'm not going to comment on what I think future policy decisions will be, or take a normative position on what our energy mix should look like in the future.

I will, however, try to paint a picture of how we'd get to "80% by 2035″ and point out that, while it's an admirable goal, achieving it wouldn't be a panacea.

"80% by 2035″ by the numbers
In 2009, the total U.S. net power generation of 3,950 billion kWh came from the following sources: More

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