Transportation & Energy: Solar Development in the Right of Way
In the US, 18.7 million electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to be on the roads by 2030. To enable this electric future, we need to modernize our energy infrastructure to deliver exponentially more power to meet unprecedented demand in the transportation sector. As we modernize our grid, we have the opportunity to power it with more renewable energy, and to charge EVs with cost-effective clean energy. We can accomplish this in part by making the most of the publicly owned interstate system. The Webber Energy Group at UT Austin and The Ray recently mapped available ROW at interstate exits and found that installing solar panels at these exits could generate up to 36TWh of clean renewable energy each year, enough to charge 12 million passenger EVs annually. In addition, renewable energy development in the transportation ROW can help states reduce their energy costs, reduce their land maintenance costs, increase resilience and local energy security, create new revenue streams, and meet broader renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.