A Stanford professor believes that California could be powered fully by clean energy in just a few decades.

Photo Credit: © aleciccotelli - Fotolia.com

Photo Credit: © aleciccotelli - Fotolia.com

Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson says the state of California will one day run entirely off of clean energy. And it's sooner than we all think -- in a recent report he writes that this will become a reality by 2050. 

With the use of wind turbines, solar panels, tidal generators, hydroelectric dams and geothermal power stations, California will be able to generate energy without the help of fossil fuels or nuclear power. 

The report suggests that the state creates "a long-term sustainable energy infrastructure that supplies 100% of energy in all sectors (electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) from wind, water, and solar power (without fossil fuels, biofuels, or nuclear power), and hence provides the largest possible reductions in air pollution, water pollution, and global warming impacts."

The plan also uses renewable power generators, including 15 million rooftop solar installations, 25,000 wind turbines, 1,200 solar plants, 75 geothermal plants, 5,000 wave devices and 3,400 tidal turbines. Jacobson says this would allow for California to meet the projected energy demands for 2050, when the state will have a larger population with larger energy demands. More the half of the energy could be solar and 35% would be wind. The remaining would be a combination of geothermal and water power.

The total investment required to design such a system would be about $1.1 trillion. While this is a huge number, the long-term economical benefits are endless. The report cites that the system would pay for itself in only seven years as a result of reduced air pollution, new jobs, and fuel savings.

“I think the most interesting finding is that the plan will reduce social costs related to air pollution and climate change by about $150 billion per year in 2050, and that these savings will pay for all new energy generation in only seven years,” said the study's co-author Mark Delucchi.

Jacobson has previously created similar plans for worldwide use as well as for New York state. Despite his critics, he feels he and his team can be the start of a clean energy revolution.

"I know it's possible! If we were looking at the U.S. level, I'd be very skeptical. But we're looking at states," he said, adding that this would lead to "a bandwagon effect."

Lean more about the clean energy plan in the video below.