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New study: 100% renewable energy worldwide possible by 2050

David Klein

Moderator
A new study has just been published, consistent with earlier findings by Mark Jacobson and others.

Nov 2017

Global Energy System Based on 100% Renewable Energy -- Power Sector.

"Key Findings: A global transistion to 100% renewable electricity is feasible at every hour throughout the year and more cost effective than the existing system, which is largely based on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Energy transition is no longer a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but of political will."

"Existing renewable energy potential an technologies including storage can generate sufficient and secure power to cover the entire global electricity demand by 2050..."

The full report is posted here:

http://energywatchgroup.org/wp-cont...0-Renewable-Energy-Worldwide-Power-Sector.pdf
_____________________________________
My comment: It is a powerful indictment of the global capitalist system that, as Greenhouse gas concentrations soar, the world has not taken, and within the framework of capitalism is not even able to take, comprehensive and rapid steps in the direction recommended by this report, and others like it. DK
 

Laila Saifullah

New Member
A new study has just been published, consistent with earlier findings by Mark Jacobson and others.

Nov 2017

Global Energy System Based on 100% Renewable Energy -- Power Sector.

"Key Findings: A global transistion to 100% renewable electricity is feasible at every hour throughout the year and more cost effective than the existing system, which is largely based on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Energy transition is no longer a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but of political will."

"Existing renewable energy potential an technologies including storage can generate sufficient and secure power to cover the entire global electricity demand by 2050..."

The full report is posted here:

http://energywatchgroup.org/wp-cont...0-Renewable-Energy-Worldwide-Power-Sector.pdf
_____________________________________
My comment: It is a powerful indictment of the global capitalist system that, as Greenhouse gas concentrations soar, the world has not taken, and within the framework of capitalism is not even able to take, comprehensive and rapid steps in the direction recommended by this report, and others like it. DK
 

Ted F

Admin
David,
I'm curious what your take is on the criticism of Jacobson that his projections are based on assumptions about possible changes in land use that are not conceivable under socialism any more than capitalism. I have no expertise in this field but I have attended one of Jacobson's lectures and I had a reaction that he is a solar/wind/hydro engineer with about the same sense of the limitations of technology as the geoengineers who fancy that we can spray aerosols into the atmosphere forever just because such a scheme for cooling the Earth pencils out on paper if you assume we can launch rockets forever. I think it is important to know whether 100% renewable energy is technically feasible, but I am not sure whether to believe these reports. A little voice inside my head says that the assumption that we can continue to grow GDP, military waste, consumption of crap in the rich countries, eliminate poverty and hunger in the poor countries, and switch to 100% renewables is pie in the sky. Perhaps we can have two, but not all three. Your view?
Ted
 

David Klein

Moderator
Hi Ted,

I agree with your comment,

"A little voice inside my head says that the assumption that we can continue to grow GDP, military waste, consumption of crap in the rich countries, eliminate poverty and hunger in the poor countries, and switch to 100% renewables is pie in the sky."​

Capitalism is killing the planet through multiple assaults. The production of plastic alone is endangering life in the world's oceans because of the massive accumulations of plastic garbage islands the size of Texas or larger. Drainage from fossil fuel fertilizers into streams and rivers is creating massive dead zones in the oceans. Then there's global warming and escalating pollution, and on and on. The threats to the planet, and even the economic crises of capitalism, arise from overproduction.

Capitalism must expand through constant GDP growth, but infinite expansion on a finite planet is impossible. Survival of the biosphere and capitalism are therefore mutually exclusive. The average 5th grader can understand this, even if many liberals with college degrees don't.

However, it's important to distinguish politics and ideology from the physical sciences. Jacobson is far from alone in finding that, based on data and detailed calculations, the techology exists to provide all the energy that the capitalist world uses from renewable technologies. For example, from a University of Deleware study, "Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time" (Journal of Power Sources 225 (2013) 60-74), according to the abstract:

"We model many combinations of renewable electricity sources (inland wind, offshore wind, and photovoltaics) with electrochemical storage (batteries and fuel cells), incorporated into a large grid system (72 GW). The purpose is twofold: 1) although a single renewable generator at one site produces intermittent power, we seek combinations of diverse renewables at diverse sites, with storage, that are not intermittent and satisfy need a given fraction of hours. And 2) we seek minimal cost, calculating true cost of electricity without subsidies and with inclusion of external costs. Our model evaluated over 28 billion combinations of renewables and storage, each tested over 35,040 h (four years) of load and weather data. We find that the least cost solutions yield seemingly-excessive generation capacitydat times, almost three times the electricity needed to meet electrical load. This is because diverse renewable generation and the excess capacity together meet electric load with less storage, lowering total system cost. At 2030 technology costs and with excess electricity displacing natural gas, we find that the electric system can be powered 90%-99.9% of hours entirely on renewable electricity, at costs comprable to today’s--but only if we optimize the mix of generation and storage technologies."​

The University of Melbourne’s Energy Institute in Australia and a nonprofit organization, Beyond Zero Emissions, published a blueprint for creating an electrical system drawing 60% of its power from solar energy and 40% from wind in just a ten year period. Related separate studies by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Department of Energy indicate that large majority of electric power for the U.S. can be harnessed from renewable resources in the near future. Now there is this new study the reaches the same conclusion.

The fact that capitalism is incapable of making the necessary transitions in energy production, agriculture, elimination of unnecessary waste, not to mention resource wars, shows in stark terms that the problem we face is purely political, not technological. The problem is capitalism.

David
 
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