February 8, 2019

HOW MUCH HAVE YOU GOT? How Much Will the Green New Deal Cost?

As it happens, a team of Stanford engineers led by Mark Jacobson outlined just such a plan back in 2015. Jacobson’s repowering plan would involve installing 335,000 onshore wind turbines; 154,000 offshore wind turbines; 75 million residential photovoltaic systems; 2.75 million commercial photovoltaic systems; 46,000 utility-scale photovoltaic facilities; 3,600 concentrated solar power facilities with onsite heat storage; and an extensive array of underground thermal storage facilities.

Assuming steep declines in the costs of each form of renewable electric power generation, just running the electrical grid using only renewable power would still cost roughly $7 trillion by 2030. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation calculated that the total cost of an earlier version of Jacobson’s scheme would amount to $13 trillion. And based on how fast it has taken to install energy generation infrastructure in the past, Jacobson’s repowering plan would require a sustained installation rate that is more than 14 times the U.S. average over the last 55 years and more than six times the peak rate.

Where is the money to pay for this massive transformation going to come from? The headline over at The Week sums it up pretty well: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to pay for her Green New Deal by essentially printing more money.”

What could go wrong?