2011-03-23 15:54:51A Plan for 100% Renewable Energy by 2050
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

I happened upon a report written by energy consultant Ecofys very similar to James' zero net carbon Australia report.  This one is how to achieve 100% renewable energy production globally by 2050.  I drafted up a blog post.  Let me know if you have feedback.

2011-03-23 16:12:18TreeHugger
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

By the way, I think this is a good candidate for TreeHugger.  It's been a while since we've had one published there, and I don't think they covered this report.

2011-03-23 17:50:27
MartinS

mstolpe@student.ethz...
80.218.206.88

@Dana: Perhaps you are also interested in:

Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi (2011). "Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I: Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials". Energy Policy

Such a WWS [wind, water, solar]infrastructure reduces world power demand by 30% and requires only 0.41% and 0.59%
more of the world’s land for footprint and spacing, respectively. We suggest producing all new energy
withWWSby 2030 and replacing the pre-existing energy by 2050. Barriers to the plan are primarily social
and political, not technological or economic.

and:

Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi (2011). "Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies". Energy Policy

We find that the cost of energy in a 100%WWSwill be similar to the cost today. We conclude that
barriers to a 100% conversion to WWS power worldwide are primarily social and political, not
technological or even economic.

 




2011-03-24 02:14:08thanks
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Thanks Martin.  I'm going to limit this post to the Ecofys report - want to keep it simple for the possible TreeHugger re-post. 

That's a really interesting pair of papers though.  It will probably be the subject of my next post.

2011-03-24 08:47:33anyone?
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Anybody got comments?

2011-03-24 09:17:38Looks good
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.20.55

I must confess I'm skeptical of their assumption that electricity use will be less in 2050 than now, seems overly optimistic to me. But interesting post, I like the projection of actual trends (like German renewables) into the future.

2011-03-24 09:19:54
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.43.207

Where is the justification for the concept that these are actually achievable, as opposed to being graphically generated requirements?

2011-03-24 09:32:48realism
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

This obviously isn't a realistic report, nor was the zero carbon Australia.  It's aimed at what's possible, not what's going to happen.  Realistically, no way do we upgrade the energy efficiency of 2-3% of buildings per year, globally.  Not in the near future anyway.  Maybe if we get desperate as climate change accelerates.  The good news is that solar and wind are already expanding as fast or faster than necessary to meet their goals.  Those are two big ones.

Neal - I think you're sort of making the same point as John, that while theoretically possible, these sorts of measures aren't happening, realistically?  Or are you asking if they're technologically feasible?

If the latter, at least when it comes to the building improvements, I noted that it's based on "currently existing technology".  I've now added an explicit statement that the same is true of all technologies mentioned in the report.  If you're talking about political will, that's why I put in the last statement about having the way, but do we have the will.  Right now the obvious answer is that we don't.  The plan is technologically and economically achievable.  Politically, not so much.  That's the conclusion of Jacobson and Delucchi too.

2011-03-24 09:55:01
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.43.207

dana,

There are two sorts of plans:

- a timeline of coordinated actions, carefully related to available resources and capabilities; and

- a timeline of requirements.

The first sort of plans are, in principle, implementable; the second sort are aspirational.

I get the feeling this set is aspirational.

2011-03-24 10:04:08aspirational
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

I think that reports and studies like this are pretty much always the 'aspirational' sort.  They put forth a plan, show that it's technologically and maybe economically feasible, and then leave the timeline sort of details for the politicians.  But I think it certainly could be done, if we had the political will.  Like I said, we're already building wind and solar infrastructure at the necessary rate.

2011-03-24 12:56:37
Glenn Tamblyn

glenn@thefoodgallery.com...
124.180.73.25

Perhaps the point of studies like this is to highlight the magnitude of the task. The most interesting graph in Dana's post is the first one. The doted upper trend line is where we are headed without change. So the 'plan' they put forwardis what is needed to achieve the target. That current growth rates for renewables can get so far is encouraging. But the need for huge efficiency improvements on top of that is problematic. Huge benefits if it can be done but a huge ask.

So the take home message is that we have to achieve this to tackle the problem. Therefore, the actions needed to bring that about simply must happen. If conventional economic methods don't get us there then the world may need to look at 'unconventional economics'. Calls for something like a military mobilisation may be the right answer.

2011-03-24 13:00:07Good to go then
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.222.20.55
Dana, let me know when you're happy for me to post this to Treehugger.
2011-03-24 14:08:34TH
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203
I'm happy with it if you want to send it along, John.
2011-03-25 00:45:08Timeline
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.158.190

Neal, Zero Carbon Australia does have a timeline, probably somewhere between your two types in terms of detail. Unfortunately the timeline begins in 2011, and right now there is zero political will for anything approaching that scale.