100% renewable energy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The wind, Sun, and biomass are three renewable energy sources
The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is an 845 megawatt (MW) wind farm in the U.S. state of Oregon.
The 150 MW Andasol Solar Power Station is a commercial parabolic trough solar thermal power plant, located in Spain. The Andasol plant uses tanks of molten salt to store solar energy so that it can continue generating electricity even when the sun isn't shining.[1]

The incentive to use 100% renewable energy, for electricity, transport, or even total primary energy supply globally, has been motivated by global warming and other ecological as well as economic concerns. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that there are few fundamental technological limits to integrating a portfolio of renewable energy technologies to meet most of total global energy demand. Renewable energy use has grown much faster than even advocates anticipated.[2] At the national level, at least 30 nations around the world already have renewable energy contributing more than 20% of energy supply. Also, Professors S. Pacala and Robert H. Socolow have developed a series of “stabilization wedges” that can allow us to maintain our quality of life while avoiding catastrophic climate change, and "renewable energy sources," in aggregate, constitute the largest number of their "wedges." [3]

Mark Z. Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and director of its Atmosphere and Energy Program says producing all new energy with wind power, solar power, and hydropower by 2030 is feasible and existing energy supply arrangements could be replaced by 2050. Barriers to implementing the renewable energy plan are seen to be "primarily social and political, not technological or economic". Jacobson says that energy costs with a wind, solar, water system should be similar to today's energy costs.[4]

Similarly, in the United States, the independent National Research Council has noted that “sufficient domestic renewable resources exist to allow renewable electricity to play a significant role in future electricity generation and thus help confront issues related to climate change, energy security, and the escalation of energy costs … Renewable energy is an attractive option because renewable resources available in the United States, taken collectively, can supply significantly greater amounts of electricity than the total current or projected domestic demand." .[5]

The most significant barriers to the widespread implementation of large-scale renewable energy and low carbon energy strategies are primarily political and not technological. According to the 2013 Post Carbon Pathways report, which reviewed many international studies, the key roadblocks are: climate change denial, the fossil fuels lobby, political inaction, unsustainable energy consumption, outdated energy infrastructure, and financial constraints.[6]

History[edit]

In 1976 energy policy analyst Amory Lovins coined the term "soft energy path" to describe an alternative future where energy efficiency and appropriate renewable energy sources steadily replace a centralized energy system based on fossil and nuclear fuels.[7] Even a decade ago it was extraordinary for scientists and decision-makers to consider the concept of 100 per cent renewable electricity. However, renewable energy progress has been so rapid that things have totally changed since then:[8]

Solar photovoltaic modules have dropped about 75 per cent in price. Current scientific and technological advances in the laboratory suggest that they will soon be so cheap that the principal cost of going solar on residential and commercial buildings will be installation. On-shore wind power is spreading over all continents and is economically competitive with fossil and nuclear power in several regions. Concentrated solar thermal power (CST) with thermal storage has moved from the demonstration stage of maturity to the limited commercial stage and still has the potential for further cost reductions of about 50 per cent.[8]

Renewable energy use has grown much faster than even advocates had anticipated.[2] Wind turbines generate nearly 30 percent of Danish electricity, and Denmark has many biogas digesters and waste-to-energy plants as well. Together, wind and biomass provide 44% of the electricity consumed by the country's six million inhabitants. In 2010, Portugal’s 10 million people produced more than half their electricity from indigenous renewable energy resources. Spain’s 40 million inhabitants meet one-third of their electrical needs from renewables.[2]

Renewable energy has a history of strong public support. In America, for example, a 2013 Gallup survey showed that two in three Americans want the U.S. to increase domestic energy production using solar power (76%), wind power (71%), and natural gas (65%). Far fewer want more petroleum production (46%) and more nuclear power (37%). Least favored is coal, with about one in three Americans favouring it.[9]

REN21 says renewable energy already plays a significant role and there are many policy targets which aim to increase this:

At the national level, at least 30 nations around the world already have renewable energy contributing more than 20% of energy supply. National renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the coming decade and beyond, and some 120 countries have various policy targets for longer-term shares of renewable energy, including a binding 20% by 2020 target for the European Union. Some countries have much higher long-term policy targets of up to 100% renewables. Outside Europe, a diverse group of 20 or more other countries target renewable energy shares in the 2020–2030 time frame that range from 10% to 50%.[10]

A well established body of academic literature has been written over the past decade, evaluating scenarios for 100% renewable energy for various geographical areas. In recent years, more detailed analyses have emerged from government and industry sources.[11] The incentive to use 100% renewable energy is created by global warming and ecological as well as economic concerns, post peak oil. The first country to propose 100% renewable energy was Iceland, in 1998.[12] Proposals have been made for Japan in 2003,[13] and for Australia in 2011.[14] Albania, Iceland, and Paraguay obtain essentially all of their electricity from renewable sources (Albania and Paraguay 100% from hydroelectricity, Iceland 72% hydro and 28% geothermal).[15] Norway obtains nearly all of its electricity from renewable sources (97 percent from hydropower).[16] Iceland proposed using hydrogen for transportation and its fishing fleet. Australia proposed biofuel for those elements of transportation not easily converted to electricity. The road map for the United States,[17][18] commitment by Denmark,[19] and Vision 2050 for Europe set a 2050 timeline for converting to 100% renewable energy,[20] later reduced to 2040 in 2011.[21] Zero Carbon Britain 2030 proposes eliminating carbon emissions in Britain by 2030 by transitioning to renewable energy.[22]

It is estimated that the world will spend an extra $8 trillion over the next 25 years to prolong the use of non-renewable resources, a cost that would be eliminated by transitioning instead to 100% renewable energy.[23] A 2009 study suggests that converting the entire world to 100% renewable energy by 2030 is both possible and affordable, but requires political support. It would require building many more wind turbines and solar power systems. Other changes involve use of electric cars and the development of enhanced transmission grids and storage.[24][25][26][27][28]

Recent developments[edit]

The Fourth Revolution: Energy is a German documentary film released in 2010. It shows the vision of a global society, which lives in a world where the energy is produced 100% with renewable energies, showing a complete reconstruction of the economy, to reach this goal. In 2011, Hermann Scheer wrote the book The Energy Imperative: 100 Percent Renewable Now, published by Routledge.

In 2011, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world's leading climate researchers selected by the United Nations, said "as infrastructure and energy systems develop, in spite of the complexities, there are few, if any, fundamental technological limits to integrating a portfolio of renewable energy technologies to meet a majority share of total energy demand in locations where suitable renewable resources exist or can be supplied".[29] IPCC scenarios "generally indicate that growth in renewable energy will be widespread around the world".[30] The IPCC said that if governments were supportive, and the full complement of renewable energy technologies were deployed, renewable energy supply could account for almost 80% of the world's energy use within forty years.[31] Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, said the necessary investment in renewables would cost only about 1% of global GDP annually. This approach could contain greenhouse gas levels to less than 450 parts per million, the safe level beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.[31]

Reinventing Fire is a book by Amory Lovins released in October 2011. By combining reduced energy use with energy efficiency gains, Lovins says that there will be a $5 trillion saving and a faster-growing economy. This can all be done with the profitable commercialization of existing energy-saving technologies, through market forces, led by business.[32] Bill Clinton says the book is a "wise, detailed and comprehensive blueprint".[33] The first paragraph of the preface says:

Imagine fuel without fear. No climate change. No oil spills, dead coal miners, dirty air, devastated lands, lost wildlife. No energy poverty. No oil-fed wars, tyrannies, or terrorists. Nothing to run out. Nothing to cut off. Nothing to worry about. Just energy abundance, benign and affordable, for all, for ever.[34]

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that there are few fundamental technological limits to integrating a portfolio of renewable energy technologies to meet most of total global energy demand. In a 2011 review of 164 recent scenarios of future renewable energy growth, the report noted that the majority expected renewable sources to supply more than 17% of total energy by 2030, and 27% by 2050; the highest forecast projected 43% supplied by renewables by 2030 and 77% by 2050.[29]

In 2011, the International Energy Agency has said that solar energy technologies, in its many forms, can make considerable contributions to solving some of the most urgent problems the world now faces:[35]

The development of affordable, inexhaustible and clean solar energy technologies will have huge longer-term benefits. It will increase countries’ energy security through reliance on an indigenous, inexhaustible and mostly import-independent resource, enhance sustainability, reduce pollution, lower the costs of mitigating climate change, and keep fossil fuel prices lower than otherwise. These advantages are global. Hence the additional costs of the incentives for early deployment should be considered learning investments; they must be wisely spent and need to be widely shared.[35]

In 2011, the refereed journal Energy Policy published two articles by Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of engineering at Stanford University, and research scientist Mark A. Delucchi, about changing our energy supply mix and "Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power". The articles analyze the feasibility of providing worldwide energy for electric power, transportation, and heating/cooling from wind, water, and sunlight (WWS), which are safe clean options. In Part I, Jacobson and Delucchi discuss WWS energy system characteristics, aspects of energy demand, WWS resource availability, WWS devices needed, and material requirements.[36] They estimate that 3,800,000 5 MW wind turbines, 5350 100 MW geothermal power plants, and 270 new 1300 MW hydroelectric power plants will be required. In terms of solar power, an additional 49,000 300 MW concentrating solar plants, 40,000 300 MW solar photovoltaic power plants, and 1.7 billion 3 kW rooftop photovoltaic systems will also be needed. Such an extensive WWS infrastructure could decrease world power demand by 30%.[36] In Part II, Jacobson and Delucchi address variability of supply, system economics, and energy policy initiatives associated with a WWS system. The authors advocate producing all new energy with WWS by 2030 and replacing existing energy supply arrangements by 2050. Barriers to implementing the renewable energy plan are seen to be "primarily social and political, not technological or economic". Energy costs with a WWS system should be similar to today's energy costs.[4]

In general, Jacobson has said wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 per cent of the world's energy, eliminating all fossil fuels.[37] He advocates a "smart mix" of renewable energy sources to reliably meet electricity demand:

Because the wind blows during stormy conditions when the sun does not shine and the sun often shines on calm days with little wind, combining wind and solar can go a long way toward meeting demand, especially when geothermal provides a steady base and hydroelectric can be called on to fill in the gaps.[38]

A 2012 study by the University of Delaware for a 72 GW system considered 28 billion combinations of renewable energy and storage and found the most cost-effective, for the PJM Interconnection, would use 17 GW of solar, 68 GW of offshore wind, and 115 GW of onshore wind, although at times as much as three times the demand would be provided. 0.1% of the time would require generation from other sources.[39]

In March 2012, Denmark's parliament agreed on a comprehensive new set promotional programs for energy efficiency and renewable energy that will lead to the country getting 100 percent of electricity, heat and fuels from renewables by 2050.[40] IRENEC is an annual conference on 100% renewable energy started in 2011 by EUROSOLAR Turkey. The 2013 conference is scheduled for June 27–29 in Istanbul.[41][42]

More recently, Jacobson and his colleagues have developed detailed proposals for switching to 100% renewable energy produced by wind, water and sunlight, for New York, California and Washington states, by 2050. As of 2014, a more expansive new plan for the 50 states has been drawn up, which includes an online interactive map showing the renewable resource potential of each of the 50 states. The 50-state plan is part of The Solutions Project, an independent outreach effort led by Jacobson, actor Mark Ruffalo, and film director Josh Fox.[43]

As of 2014, many detailed assessments show that the energy service needs of a world enjoying radically higher levels of wellbeing, can be economically met entirely through the diverse currently available technological and organisational innovations around wind, solar, biomass, biofuel, hydro, ocean and geothermal energy. Arguments over detailed plans remain, but transformations in global energy services based entirely around renewable energy are in principle technically practicable, economically feasible, socially viable, and so realisable. This prospect underpins the ambitious commitment by Germany, one of the world's most successful industrial economies, to undertake a major energy transition, Energiewende.[44]

Debate[edit]

The most significant barriers to the widespread implementation of large-scale renewable energy and low carbon energy strategies, at the pace required to prevent runaway climate change, are primarily political and not technological. According to the 2013 Post Carbon Pathways report, which reviewed many international studies, the key roadblocks are:[6]

NASA Climate scientist James Hansen has said that while it is conceivable in places such as New Zealand and Norway, "suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy."[45][46] In 2013, Smil analyzed proposals to depend on wind and solar-generated electricity including the proposals of Jacobson and colleagues, and writing in an issue of Spectrum prepared by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, he identified numerous points of concern, such as cost, intermittent power supply, growing NIMBYism, and a lack of infrastructure as negative factors and said that "History and a consideration of the technical requirements show that the problem is much greater than these advocates have supposed."[45][47] Smil and Hansen are concerned about the variable output of solar and wind power, but many other scientists and engineers have analysed this situation and said that the electricity grid can cope.[48]

The International Energy Agency says that there has been too much attention on issue of the variability of renewable electricity production.[49] This issue only applies to certain renewable technologies, mainly wind power and solar photovoltaics, and its significance depends on a range of factors which include the market penetration of the renewables concerned, the balance of plant and the wider connectivity of the system, as well as the demand side flexibility. Variability will rarely be a barrier to increased renewable energy deployment. But at high levels of market penetration it requires careful analysis and management, and additional costs may be required for back-up or system modification.[49] Renewable electricity supply in the 20-50+% penetration range has already been implemented in several European systems, albeit in the context of an integrated European grid system:[50]

In 2011, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world's leading climate researchers selected by the United Nations, said "as infrastructure and energy systems develop, in spite of the complexities, there are few, if any, fundamental technological limits to integrating a portfolio of renewable energy technologies to meet a majority share of total energy demand in locations where suitable renewable resources exist or can be supplied".[29] IPCC scenarios "generally indicate that growth in renewable energy will be widespread around the world".[30] The IPCC said that if governments were supportive, and the full complement of renewable energy technologies were deployed, renewable energy supply could account for almost 80% of the world's energy use within forty years.[31] Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, said the necessary investment in renewables would cost only about 1% of global GDP annually. This approach could contain greenhouse gas levels to less than 450 parts per million, the safe level beyond which climate change becomes catastrophic and irreversible.[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Edwin Cartlidge (18 November 2011). "Saving for a rainy day". Science (Vol 334). pp. 922–924. 
  2. ^ a b c Paul Gipe (4 April 2013). "100 Percent Renewable Vision Building". Renewable Energy World. 
  3. ^ S. Pacala and R. Socolow (2004). "Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies". Science Vol. 305. pp. 968–972. 
  4. ^ a b Mark A. Delucchi and Mark Z. Jacobson (2011). "Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies". Energy Policy 39. Elsevier Ltd. pp. 1170–1190. 
  5. ^ National Research Council (2010). "Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments". National Academies of Science. p. 4. 
  6. ^ a b John Wiseman et al (April 2013). "Post Carbon Pathways". University of Melbourne. 
  7. ^ Green, Joshua (July–August 2009). "The Elusive Green Economy". The Atlantic. 
  8. ^ a b Mark Diesendorf (4 April 2013). "Another Myth Busted on the Road to 100% Renewable Electricity". Reneweconomy.com.au. 
  9. ^ Dennis Jacobe (April 9, 2013). "Americans Want More Emphasis on Solar, Wind, Natural Gas". Renewable Energy World. 
  10. ^ REN21 (2013). "Renewables global futures report 2013". 
  11. ^ Ben Elliston�, Iain MacGill, Mark Diesendorf (March 21, 2013). "Least cost 100% renewable electricity scenarios in the Australian National Electricity Market". Energy Policy. 
  12. ^ "Implementation of Green Bookkeeping at Reykjavik Energy". Rio02.com. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  13. ^ "Energy Rich Japan". Energyrichjapan.info. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  14. ^ "Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  15. ^ US EIA, International energy statistics data for 2011.
  16. ^ US EIA, Norway, updated 2014.
  17. ^ "A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy". Ieer.org. 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  18. ^ "A Road Map for U.S. Energy Policy" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  19. ^ Carrasco, Alicia (2012-04-09). "Denmark commits to 100% renewable energy". Emeter.com. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  20. ^ "Vision 2050". Inforse.org. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  21. ^ "EU Sustainable Energy Vision 2040". Inforse.org. 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  22. ^ "Zero Carbon World". Zerocarbonbritain.org. 2011-11-09. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  23. ^ USA (2010-11-09). "Has the World Already Passed "Peak Oil"?". News.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  24. ^ Inman, Mason (2011-01-17). "Going "All The Way" With Renewable Energy?". News.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  25. ^ "Study claims 100 percent renewable energy possible by 2030". Phys.org. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  26. ^ "Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  27. ^ "Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  28. ^ Jacobson, Mark Z. (2010-06-15). "A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables". Scientificamerican.com. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  29. ^ a b c IPCC (2011). "Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation". Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. p. 17. 
  30. ^ a b IPCC (2011). "Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation". Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. p. 22. 
  31. ^ a b c d Fiona Harvey (9 May 2011). "Renewable energy can power the world, says landmark IPCC study". The Guardian. 
  32. ^ Adam Aston (March 16, 2012). "Amory Lovins on 'Reinventing Fire' with convergence and innovation". Greenbiz. 
  33. ^ Matthew Wald (October 27, 2011). "Fossil Fuels as the Whale Oil of the Future". New York Times. 
  34. ^ John Elkington (21 March 2012). "Nine barriers to reinventing capitalism". The Guardian. 
  35. ^ a b Solar Energy Perspectives: Executive Summary
  36. ^ a b 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 39. Elsevier Ltd. pp. 1154–1169. 
  37. ^ Kate Galbraith. 100 Percent Renewables by 2030? Green Inc., December 1, 2009.
  38. ^ Jacobson, Mark Z.; Delucchi, M.A. (November 2009). "A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030" (PDF). Scientific American 301 (5): 58–65. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1109-58. PMID 19873905. 
  39. ^ Wind, solar power paired with storage could be cost-effective way to power grid
  40. ^ Stephen Lacey (29 March 2012). "A True 'All of the Above' Energy Policy: Denmark Affirms Commitment to 100% Renewable Energy by 2050". Renewable Energy World. 
  41. ^ "International 100% Renewable Energy Conference". Irenec2012.com. 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  42. ^ "IRENEC 2013". IRENEC 2013. Retrieved 2012-11-01. 
  43. ^ Mark Schwarz (February 26, 2014). "Stanford scientist unveils 50-state plan to transform U.S. to renewable energy". Stanford Report,. 
  44. ^ Andy Stirling (2014). "Transforming power". Energy Research and Social Science. 
  45. ^ a b http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/nuclear_power/2013/01/nuclear_energy_and_climate_change_environmentalists_debate_how_to_stop_global.html
  46. ^ Hansen, James (2011). "Baby Lauren and the Kool-Aid". Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  47. ^ A Skeptic Looks at Alternative Energy - IEEE Spectrum
  48. ^ Amory Lovins (March–April 2012). "A Farewell to Fossil Fuels". Foreign Affairs. 
  49. ^ a b Contribution of Renewables to Energy Security
  50. ^ Amory Lovins (2011). Reinventing Fire, Chelsea Green Publishing, p. 199.

Further reading[edit]