If we had invested the $3.9 trillion that the war in Iraq will ultimately cost, we would generate nearly 40% of our electricity with new renewables. Combined with the 10% of supply from existing hydroelectricity, the US could have surpassed 50% of total renewables in supply.
However, this is a conservative estimate. If we include the reasonable assumptions suggested by Robert Freehling, the contribution by renewables would be even greater.
Freehling’s assumptions raise to as much as 60% the nation’s lost potential contribution by new renewables to US electricity supply by going to war in Iraq. With the addition of existing hydroelectric generation, the opportunity to develop as much as 70% of our nation’s electricity with renewable energy was lost.
And unlike the war in Iraq, which is an expense, the development of renewable energy instead of war would have been an investment in infrastructure at home that would have paid dividends to American citizens for decades to come.