“A 100% renewable economy is 100% guaranteed to pay for itself over time.”
~ Simon Butler, in a talk presented at the conference ‘Climate Change Social Change’ in Sydney, Australia, on 11 May 2013
The vision of zero carbon – stopping all emissions from fossil fuel by using 100% renewables to supply society with energy – is often met with the “yes, but…”. People are asking, “Yes, sounds nice, but is it realistic? Is it possible?”. The answer to this question, in short, is a loud and clear: “Yes! It is absolutely possible. And a handful of countries have proved it already!”
On this page you will find links to reports and experts who provide answers to the question. You will learn that what primarily is the challenge here is that we urgently need to remove the smokescreen of doubt which to a large extent has been created by the deliberate spin from the fossil fuel industry which has a strong commercial interest in delaying the transition.
“It feels like a secret because it seems like nobody knows it. It is this: we can run the planet on 100% renewable energy. The science and technology says we can do it – 100% wind, water and sun. No fossil fuels necessary. No more fracking, no more mountaintop removal, no more tar sands. We have the technology now. What we don’t have right now is enough people and politicians acting to create our new world.”
Josh Fox director
“We know how to get all of the energy we need without using dirty or dangerous fuel sources. It is no longer a question of whether we can – but of whether we will”
Michael Brune Executive Director, Sierra Club, USA
Introduction to the topic: 100% renewables
Regardless of what any expert might say, the bottom line is that this should simply be a “100% Yes!” because even if it should turn out to be impossible to reach the 100% renewables goal in the first or second decade, it will be going to be possible eventually, in one of the following decades. We know that. If we want it to be possible, we will make it possible.
It is as simple as that.
The rest — the current confusion, the doubt, the opinions which keep delaying us in this matter — is nothing but the industrial dinosaurs addicted to oldfashioned fossil fuels trying to protect their investments and their ability to squeeze as many drops of profits out of their assets as possible.
American climate activist Al Gore and his Climate Reality Project formulated it like this:
“If a doctor said your loved one required major surgery to survive, but it would be very difficult to complete, would you take ‘No, it’s too hard’ for an answer?
We didn’t think so. So when climate deniers claim, “Shifting over to clean energy would be too hard and shut down the economy,” we here at The Climate Reality Project politely beg to differ.
Maybe you do too.
We put a man on the moon. We eradicated smallpox. We built a computer that can fit in your pocket. These accomplishments – and so many more – were possible because groups of like-minded, passionate individuals (much like you) saw the future they wanted and worked hard to make it happen.
Big Oil and Big Coal spread big lies claiming that changing to clean energy would cause economic turmoil and finding sustainable solutions to the climate crisis ‘is too hard’.
But that’s just not the case. We’re already seeing that shifting to clean energy is a whole lot easier than they think. In 2012, renewables accounted for slightly over half of new electric generating capacity worldwide.
In the U.S, we’re installing a new solar power system every four minutes. Meanwhile, global investment in clean energy topped out at US$244 billion worldwide. In 2009, global investment was just $178 billion – so in just three years that’s a 37 per cent climb, and nearly ten times the investment made in 2004.”
5.7 million jobs
There is a vast industry being built on tapping energy from sunshine, wind, rivers, sea waves, or heat from the ground, and many are actively encouraged by governments, CSIRO, universities and commercial entities. Currently global renewables sector tops 5.7 million jobs, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
But they all require building more stuff, using the available fossil energy to do it, and with the current technology it does not look as if they will be able to produce the amounts of energy the world demands. Many — Nicole Foss is one of them — are saying that using less energy and less stuff is the only solution.
According to some scientists and researchers, it is a naive misconception so think that “the only thing we need to do is to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy”. Because it won’t be possible just like that. For instance, the Danish author of the books ‘Re-think’ (‘Om-tanke’) and ‘New energy’ (‘Ny energi’) Klaus Illum wrote in a comment about the report by Armstrong Asset Management called ‘Entering a New Phase of Growth: Renewable Energy in SE Asia’ which was published in May 2012:
“Running a steadily growing world economy with less and less and eventually no consumption of fossil fuels implies — if it could be done — a comprehensive reconstruction of all the energy supply infrastructure which the current economy is based on.
An allegory: You have built a skyscraper with steel in all its structures. It cannot be converted into a skyscraper held together by wood and brick. With wood and brick you simply can not build skyscrapers. Similarly, societies whose energy conversion is based on renewable energy sources will have to be built completely different — technically and economically — than the present.
Therefore, it is irrelevant to compare prices of electricity from wind turbines and solar cells with prices for electricity from power plants fired by fossil fuels, unless the electricity generation in wind turbines and solar cells only contributes with a marginal contribution to the total electricity supply — in which case the comprehensive reconstruction of the infrastructure isn’t needed. And in this case, electricity production based on renewable energy sources can only provide a financial return to the owners of these renewable energy plants, it can not solve the climate change problem — which is what we would be interested in.
Surely, there is money to be made by building wind turbines to cover part of the electricity consumption in the factories that produce oil-powered cars, in the shipyards buildings that build fossil fuel-driven oil and LNG tankers and bulk carriers for coal and feed transport across the oceans, and huge container ships to transport finished goods around the world in a growing offshore and shale-fracking oil and gas extraction industry. But it does not change the course of the fossil fuel societies’ heading towards their own collapse.”
However, an increasing number of experts and authors argue that a transition to 100 per cent renewables within just a few decades is possible, but they are also aware that it will not happen without an extraordinary and unusual global commitment from the citizens of this planet — with the kind of mobilisation which so far has only been seen in wartime, like it happened during the Second World War, for instance.
Below you will find a list of articles which make good reading if you would like to dig deeper into these questions of not whether but when the transition to 100 per cent renewables is going to be completed. Will it be possible in the kind of speed that is required in order to establish climate safety?
At present the answer to the question of speed is still “blowing in the wind”, but we should also remember that there are companies who have a strong economic interest in keeping it blowing up there there as long as possible. And that these companies are getting away with paying leading politicians millions and millions of dollars to have them help them with that agenda.
One could argue that if we simply started the process with full force now, what would we have to lose? We would be sure to reach the goal eventually — so what are we waiting for?
Price: Three per cent of world GDP a year
“Considering the gravity of the climate crisis, it’s maddening to think how relatively easy it would be to take serious climate action. We’d need about 1.5 million wind turbines around the world to replace coal burning for energy — not too hard when you consider that the car industry alone, working at two thirds of its capacity, made 65 million cars worldwide in 2008.
Just the unused manufacturing capacity of this single industry would be enough to build all those wind turbines in a decade.
In 2011, environmental consultants Ecofys released a report that said the world could have 100% renewable energy in 40 years. It said this would cost about 3% of world GDP a year, but would lower energy costs by about $5.7 trillion a year by 2050.
Of course, we’re told that there isn’t enough money to pay for this kind of thing. We’re not supposed to realise that half of all global trade passes through offshore tax havens, which control a third of the world’s wealth.”
» Green Left Weekly – 18 May 2013:
Public energy: a climate policy worth fighting for
By Simon Butler
Lead by example
Burlingson, Vermont, USA, became the first city in the United States to run on 100 per cent renewable energy.
Aspen, Colorado: 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2015
Copenhagen, Denmark: 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050
Bonaire, The Caribbean: 100 per cent renewable energy by 2015
Munich, Germany: 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025
San Diego, California: 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035
Isle of Wight, England: 100 per cent self-sufficient and renewable by 2020
Frankfurt, Germany: Zero carbon emissions by 2050
San Jose, California: 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2022
San Francisco, California: 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2020
» Mother Nature Network – 12 january 2015:
10 cities aiming for 100 per cent clean energy
As nation states delay, these cities have ambitious renewable energy goals.
Running on 100% renewable energy – how realistic is it really? GreenMatch made this short and informative video.
“According to many researchers a world powered entirely by renewables such as wind, solar, hydro etc, is not unreasonable at all. In fact, they predict that we can achieve this by 2050. In the past, many countries have made it their mission to go all-renewable, and some have been very successful. Today, more than five countries have achieved their goal, and many more vow to go 100% renewable by 2050.”
» GreenMatch – 25 April 2017:
Running On 100% Renewable Energy – How Realistic Is It Really?
In Australia, the ACT government shows leadership in the renewables sector
In November 2013, the Government of the Australian Capital Territory (abbreviated ACT) legislated an ambitious target to source 90 per cent of the Territory’s power from renewable sources by 2020, a quarter which will come from wind energy.
ACT’s scheme demonstrates that the cost of transitioning to clean renewable energy is entirely manageable: the cost of their ambitious policy is about $4 per household per week which then is offset by about $4 per household per week due to energy efficiency schemes that are currently being deployed. The ACT Government helps Canberran citizens reduce their energy consumption and use more renewable energy.
“What I’m most excited about is showing people that this is possible. People can’t do what they can’t imagine, and the opportunity here in the ACT is to demonstrate what can actually be achieved, and what you can do and that it is affordable and that it is achievable, and that if a small place like the ACT can do it, surely the rest of Australia can,” Simon Corbell, ACT’s energy minister told ABC Radio.
“Addressing climate change requires a global commitment to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, and is a shared responsibility that all countries and communities must embrace,” Mr Corbell is quoted as saying in a press release released in November 2013.
The goal is to have a 40 per cent reduction of 1990 carbon emission levels by 2020, and 80 per cent reduction by 2050.
» RenewEconomy – 19 September 2012:
ACT government seeks 90% renewables by 2020
The ACT government has outlined an ambitious plan to source 90 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2020, with solar, wind and energy efficiency at the centrepiece of its strategy.
» ACT Government – November 2013:
90 per cent renewable
» Government News – 7 March 2014:
Canberra to build solar hub to boost renewable energy
The Australian Capital Territory government has geared up to build an “innovation precinct” to prepare the nation’s capital for research and development into solar energy technology.
Towns, states and countries going 100%
Source: 100% renewable energy by 2020
- APELDOORN, NETHERLANDS: 100% renewable energy by 2020
- AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY: Australia’s capital city Canberra aims for 90% renewable energy by 2020
- COOK ISLANDS: Pacific Ocean island nation of the Cook Islands plans for 100% renewable energy by 2020
- COSTA RICA: On 100% renewable energy so far in 2015
- DJIBOUTI: East African republic plans for 100% renewable energy by 2020
- FIJI, TONGA & TUVALU PACIFIC ISLAND NATIONS: plan for 100% renewable energy including transportation by 2013
- GEORGETOWN, TEXAS, USA: Aims for 100% renewable energy (solar, wind) by 2017
- LEICHHARDT, Australia: Council of the inner-west Sydney city of Leichhardt has committed to becoming 100 per cent renewable by 2025
- NEW YORK STATE: Professor Mark Z. Jacobsen (Stanford) plan for 100% renewable energy for New York State by 2030
- NEW ZEALAND: “100% renewable electricity by 2020” would cost US$11.8 billion
- SAN FRANCISCO: aims for 100% renewable energy by 2020
- SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN, Germany: Germany’s windiest area to reach 100% renewable energy in 2014
- SCOTLAND: Rich in tidal, wave & offshore wind power, aims for 100% renewable energy by 2020
- SUMBA: Indonesian island is set to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025 via waste biogas, solar, wind and hydro
- TASMANIA, Australia: Aims for 100% renewable energy by 2020
- TOKELAU: Leader pushes for 100% solar energy by 2010
- TUVALU: Aims for 100% renewable energy by 2020
- VANCOUVER, Canada: The city’s council has voted to run their beautiful city with 100% clean, renewable energy. Read more
- AEMO, Australian Energy Market Operator: 100% renewable energy for Australia viable by 2030 for $219-252 billion
- Walmart: Spermarket giant aims for 100% renewable energy by 2020
- IKEA: Swedish retail furniture giant aims for 100% renewable energy by 2020
- Sony Europe: achieves 100% renewable energy in FY08
- World Wildlife Fund WWF: Positive Energy report: 60-90% renewable energy for UK by 2030
NGOs and campaigns
- NATURE CONSERVATION COUNCIL OF NSW wants 100% renewable energy by 2020
- YARRA VALLEY CLIMATE ACTION GROUP: wants 100% renewable energy by 2020 & 300 ppm CO2
- EARTH POLICY INSTITUTE: 100% renewable energy for power and heating
- BEYOND ZERO EMISSIONS, Australia: Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan for 100% renewable energy (electricity, transport) by 2020
- CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT, Australia: wants 100% renewable energy by 2020 & 300 ppm CO2
- CLIMATE EMERGENCY NETWORK wants 100% renewable energy by 2020
- GLOBAL COMPLIANCE RESEARCH PROJECT: Global emissions 50% below 1990 level by 2020, 100% below by 2050 for less than 1oC rise above pre-industrial.
- AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT: wants 100% renewable energy by 2020
- AUSTRALIAN CLIMATE COMMISSION: No more than 1,000 Gt CO2 more of pollution in 2010-2050 for 75% chance of avoiding +2C temperature increase
- SOCIALIST ALLIANCE, Australia: 100% renewable energy by 2020
- Al Gore: “100 per cent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years”
- Heinberg & Fridley: Peak Coal by 2020 means coal price rise & need for energy efficiency & 100% renewable energy ASAP.
- Lester Brown: “American-led green energy mobilization today to save civilization”
- Tim Buckley, CEO & equities expert: “Price of renewables is coming down so fast that it is now at parity with imported coal… [re] delivered wholesale cost of electricity in India”
- Joan Russow: Canadian environment activist: keep temperature rise to less than 1oC above the pre-industrial level, return CO2 to 278 ppm & cut global emissions by 50% by 2020, 100% by 2050
- James Walker: “Past president of the American Wind Energy Association for 100% renewable energy by 2020”
- Peter Seligman: Australian Sustainable Energy by the numbers” – 100% renewable energy for $253 billion
- Tom Weis, President of Climate Crisis Solutions on 2,500 mile trans-US trike ride for US 100% renewable energy by 2020
- PEAK COAL: “Cheap coal peaking in 2020 means rapid transition to energy efficiency and 100% renewable energy”
- WBGU: 75% chance of avoiding 2C means no more than 600 Gt CO2 emitted between 2010 and zero emissions in 2050
Clippings from the news stream
» Vox – 6 February 2018:
A beginner’s guide to the debate over 100% renewable energy
“Is it the right target? Is it even possible?” By David Roberts
» RenewEconomy – 20 July 2017:
Transgrid: 100% renewables is feasible and affordable
“Major transmission company Transgrid says 100 per cent renewable energy is both feasible and affordable, and is urging policy makers to “step out in large ways” because incremental change will not deliver climate goals or potential cost savings.” By Giles Parkinson
“Over the past couple of weeks, a much-needed conversation about moving to 100 percent renewable energy has exploded into the national spotlight. Unfortunately, the focus has largely been on personal disputes and deep-in-the-weeds debates among folks who basically agree instead of a productive conversation about how we can get there.”
» Huffington Post – 18 July 2017:
100 percent renewable energy: 100 percent possible, 100 percent happening
» Vox – 7 April 2017:
Is 100% renewable energy realistic? Here’s what we know.
“Reasons for skepticism, reasons for optimism, and some tentative conclusions.” Article by David Roberts.
It’s official: Australia could go 100% renewables – if only it wanted to
“The Australian government’s chief scientific body says there is no apparent technical impediment to reaching 100 per cent renewables for the national electricity grid, and levels of up to 30 per cent renewable energy should be considered as just “trivial” in current energy systems.”
» RenewEconomy – 22 February 2017:
CSIRO says Australia can get to 100 per cent renewable energy
“A 100 per cent renewable grid is possible”
The Alternative Technology Association’s report ‘100% Renewable Energy Grid – Feasible?’ examines the possibility of a fully renewable energy grid in Australia and concludes that such a grid is doable and can play an important part in our commitments to fight climate change. A fully renewable electricity grid would provide long-term economic, climate and social benefits for Australia, according to the discussion paper published on 9 December 2016.
“We found all experts agree that a 100% renewable grid will be reliable and stable, as long as it uses an appropriate mix of renewable generation sources, energy storage and upgraded infrastructure,” said Andrew Reddaway, the paper’s author and ATA energy analyst.
During periods of calm, cloudy weather electricity could be sourced from sunny or windy parts of the country and supplemented with energy stores such as hydroelectric dams, molten salt heat storage, batteries, renewable gas and stockpiles of pelletised woody waste.
“This grid would be robust, with smarter renewable generators and batteries automatically injecting extra electricity when required for grid stability,” Mr Reddaway said.
“Similarly, smart appliances would detect disturbances in the grid and independently adjust their power level to compensate.”
» Download the discussion paper (PDF)
Go 100% renewable, create three million new jobs and save $520 billion a year
“This report proves once again that going 100% is good for the economy. Technologies like wind and solar can not only save money in energy bills, but also make a good investment. Going 100% renewable just makes good business sense.”
Emily Farnworth, Campaign Director of RE100 at The Climate Group
Adopting targets to go 100% renewable could save the world’s biggest economies a combined US$520 billion each year and generate a combined total of three million new jobs, according to a new report from the New Climate Institute and Climate Action Network.
As well as sidestepping the high costs associated with imported fossil fuels by shifting to 100% renewable energy by the year 2050, these economies will also avoid the “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” the International Panel on Climate Change forecasts will happen if we increase global warming 2°Celsius degree above preindustrial levels.
Australia could source 100% of power from renewables by 2050, report finds
A new report sets out what governments need to do. It says all Australia’s energy needs could come from renewables by 2050, without massive costs or depressing economic growth.
A WWF report produced in collaboration with the Australian National University argues Australia could source 100% of its power from renewables by 2050 – without incurring massive adjustment costs or depressing economic growth – if there were clear and stable national policy settings to support investment in renewables.
The city of Vancouver is an example of a big city that recently committed to run 100% on renewables for power, heating and transportation within 20 years. New studies have also been released recently showing the US can get to 100% renewables by 2050 at marginal extra cost.
French government study:
95% renewable power mix cheaper than nuclear and gas
A new French government study shows that the cost to the French consumer of a 100% renewable scenario is more or less equal to a scenario close to today’s, with only 40% renewables.
It is yet another instance of leading energy experts asserting that a 100% renewable future is possible, writes Terje Osmundsen, Senior Vice-President of Norwegian independent solar power producer Scatec Solar.
» Scientific American – 19 November 2015:
139 Countries Could Get All of their Power from Renewable Sources
“Energy from wind, water and sun would eliminate nuclear and fossil fuels. Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi have done it again. This time they’ve spelled out how 139 countries can each generate all the energy needed for homes, businesses, industry, transportation, agriculture—everything—from wind, solar and water power technologies, by 2050. Their national blueprints, released 18 November, follow similar plans they have published in the past few years to run each of the 50 U.S. states on renewables, as well as the entire world.”
» The Climate Group – 9 April 2015:
Economies that go 100% renewable could save $520 billion a year
“Adopting targets to go 100% renewable could save the world’s biggest economies a combined US$520 billion each year according to a new report, a fact which is reflected in the growing number of businesses going 100% renewable in the US. The authors further explain how a 100% renewable energy economy will generate a combined total of 3 million new jobs.”
Costa Rica’s running on 100%
Costa Rica has been on 100% renewable energy the first three months of 2015.
» RenewEconomy – 19 March 2015:
Costa Rica powered 100% by renewables for first 75 days of 2015
Bangladesh 100% solar in 2021
Every month, the Bangladesh governments adds solar panels to 50,000-60,000 homes through their Solar Home System (SHS) government program. The idea, is that the entire country will be operating on solar power by 2021.
“Avaaz recently sent a petition to the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, featuring the signatures of ~2.2 million people. It requested that local, national, and international leaders make the transition to 100% renewable energy. Avaaz is currently aiming to get at least 100 cities around the world to join its campaign over the next year.”
» Clean Technica – 10 January 2015:
Cities Powered 100% By Renewable Energy? Avaaz Campaign Aims To Get 100 Cities To Commit
La Paz goes 100 per cent solar
The city of La Paz in Mexico – which has a population of about 215,000 people – is soon going to be powered 100 per cent by solar energy.
“70 per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions are produced by our cities. We use fossil fuels to electrify, heat our buildings and power our vehicles. So cities have a major role to play in providing solutions.”
San Diego has recently drafted a Climate Action Plan that sets several goals. Todd Gloria, the San Diego City Council’s President, has pledged that San Diego will be 100 per cent renewable by 2035.
The US EPA has a Top 30 list of City Governments who are already doing this — so any city can learn from these early adapters:
These are excellent ideas for your city, and we ask that you engage your Mayor and Council.”
“Last month the town of Uralla, New South Wales, population of 2754, won a tender to be used as a model for Australia’s first Zero Net Energy Town Project. (…)
Both Uralla and Newstead are inspired by community-led initiatives around the world, particularly in Europe. Where has this been done before, and what can Uralla and Newstead learn from other efforts? The towns on this list are just some examples of towns and communities that have made the transition to renewable energy.”
Crikey – 10 December 2014:
Small bumps on the road to 100% renewable energy
Two small Australian towns want to become 100% powered by renewable energy. Crikey intern Diana Hodgetts looks at some overseas examples and finds 100% renewable is nice, but not always 100% reliable.
Diana Hodgetts writes about:
• Feldheim, Germany. Population: 145. Energy: wind, solar, biogas from wood chips
• Rock Port, Missouri, United States. Population: 1,266. Energy: wind
• Isle of Eigg, Scotland. Population: 87. Energy: hydro, wind, solar
• Dharnai Village, Bihar, India. Population: 2,400. Energy: solar
• Juhnde, Lower Saxony, Germany. Population: 1,000. Energy: biogas
» Read the article on www.crikey.com.au
» EcoWatch – 24 September 2014:
We Can Transition to 100% Renewable Energy Starting Today
“Researchers found converting our country to 100 per cent renewables would eliminate about 60,000 premature air-pollution-related deaths in the U.S. every year, saving people who suffer from cardiovascular diseases and respiratory illnesses. It would also save enormous amounts of money – about 3.3 per cent of U.S. GDP – due to lower insurance rates, lower taxes, lower workman’s compensation rates, fewer lost work and school days and fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations.” Opinion-piece by Mark Ruffalo
A new handbook shows how forward-looking communities around the world are already moving away from reliance on fossil fuels and generating their own power with 100% renewables − while also becoming more prosperous and creating jobs.
The report, ‘How to Achieve 100% Renewable Energy’, is being released ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York on 23 September 2014, when the UN Secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, will call on world leaders to make new commitments to cut fossil fuel use.
The World Future Council, based in Hamburg, Germany, has issued the report to show that it is only lack of political will that is preventing the world switching away from fossil fuels. It believes that the leaders at the UN summit need to set ambitious targets and timetables to achieve the switch to renewables.
» Download the handbook from www.worldfuturecouncil.org (PDF)
» Read more about the handbook on www.climatenewsnetwork.net
Major new report: Low-carbon society benefits citizens and business
A major report shows that policies to maintain a safe and secure climate will mean a better quality of life for millions of people around the world. The study, spearheaded by leading names in finance, business and politics – including feted UK economist Lord Nicholas Stern and Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon – dispels the myth that action on climate change comes at the cost of people’s living standards. Instead it underlines that better jobs, cleaner air, and happier, healthier communities are all consequences of ambitious policies to cut carbon.
“This report lays out how countries across the world can reduce the risks of climate change and achieve high-quality, resilient, and inclusive economic growth.”
Launched at the UN headquarters in New York just one week before the UN Climate Summit, the ‘Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report’ highlights that a major transition is already taking place – boosted by rapid technological innovation and fresh investment in infrastructure.
It offers yet more proof that there are no arguments left in favour of sticking to outdated fossil-fuels and plenty of good reasons for governments and leaders from business and finance to embrace the transition to a cleaner, healthier society run on renewable energy sources.
The report and a video about the report:
“The latest scientific research has shown that even if 100% of our electricity came from renewables, it could still be as reliable as our power supply is today.”
“The evidence is in: Renewable energy is viable, reliable, and ready to go! Here are five of the most common myths about renewable energy – myths that simply don’t stand up to reality.”
» Greenpeace – August 2014:
5 myths busted that Australian energy companies don’t want you to see
Australia: Technically and economically feasible to go to 100% renewables
Mark Diesendorf, Associate Professor and Deputy Director of Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW Australia, counters claims that renewable energy targets make Australia’s electricity expensive. He goes further and says he and a team at University of NSW have shown, over the last few years, that it is technically and economically feasible for Australia to go to 100% renewables in its electricity supply. He even suggests the transition to 100% renewables could be made without additional cost if existing fossil fuel subsidies were transferred to renewables.
» The Conversation – 21 July 2014:
Renewable energy is ready to supply all of Australia’s electricity
“Germany’s windiest area, Schleswig-Holstein, will probably achieve “100% renewable electricity” sometime this year. That is, its clean energy production will be able to supply all of its electricity consumption. Schleswig-Holstein has a goal to generate 300% of its electricity consumption with renewables eventually.”
» CleanTechnica – 23 June 2014:
100% Renewable Electricity Will Be Achieved In German State Soon
» Business Insider Australia – 14 July 2014:
A Scientist Who Shunned The Power Grid Answers 8 Common Concerns About Going Completely Solar
Free energy sounds like a dream for all Australians – unless you own shares in a company that trades in coal-powered energy.
AEMO, the Australian Energy Market Operator: “100% renewable energy for Australia viable by 2030 for $219-252 billion”
“Switching Australia to 100 per cent renewable power within decades could end up costing the same as continuing to use fossil fuels, a federal government study suggests. Modelling by the Australian Energy Market Operator shows sourcing 100 per cent of power from solar, wind and other clean sources would be technically viable by 2030, albeit with the cost ranging from $219 billion to $252 billion. But a “community summary” quietly published this month has rekindled debate by saying a massive renewable expansion would be no more expensive than expanding conventional energy.”
» Sydney Morning Herald – 24 August 2014:
Clean energy switch possible by 2030, at fossil fuel prices
Article by Peter Hannam
» WWF – 19 March 2014:
Clean energy: can we go 100% renewable?
Right now, in Europe and elsewhere around the world, governments and politicians are poised to make decisions that could have a profound impact on whether or not we successfully protect our children and grandchildren from the dangerous and uncontrollable impacts of climate change. If we are to be successful then one thing we need to do is change where we get our energy from, and quickly.
» Singularity Hub – 8 March 2014:
100% renewable energy is feasible and affordable, according to Stanford proposal
One of the greatest promises of the high-tech future, whether made explicitly or implicitly through shiny clean concept sketches, is that we will have efficient energy that doesn’t churn pollutants into the air and onto the streets.
» IRENA – 14 January 2014:
REmap 2030: A Renewable Energy Roadmap
Emap 2030 is a roadmap to double the share of renewable energy by 2030, and is the first study of global renewable energy potential to be based on data from official governmental sources. The roadmap encompasses 26 countries representing more than three-quarters of current energy demand.
» Report (PDF)
» Mother Jones – 3 January 2013:
Mark Ruffalo Wants You to Imagine a 100 Percent Clean Energy Future
The celebrity activist isn’t just against fracking; he wants to turn the conversation to green solutions.
» Bioenergy No 5, 2013:
100% renewable energy is possible
“The first step on the mitigation pathway: more than 50% renewables by 2035.
The cornerstones for the changes needed to the global energy system by 2035 are: …”
» Continue reading in this PDF on page 4:
» Read the Science – 22 November 2013:
Zero Emissions by 2050
Is it feasible to have zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050? The German environmental consulting firm ECOFYS set out to find out if it was doable to have zero greenhouse gas emissions emissions by 2050 and it is.
Sydney: 100% renewable energy by 2030
“We caught up with the City of Sydney’s Chief Development Officer for Energy and Climate Change to learn about the city’s ambitious plan to cover all their power, heating, and cooling needs with local renewable resources by 2030. The goal is part of the city’s 2030 Master Plan, which also includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% and to supply 10% of water with local water capture.”
Allan Jones: Sydney’s Master Plan for 100% Renewable Energy by 2030
Published on youtube.com on 5 November 2013
14 October 2013:
How the US can transition to using 100% renewable energy
Mark Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program at Stanford University chatted with David Letterman about how the US can transition to using 100% renewable energy
“David Letterman took a break from chatting up celebrities and movie stars to talk about something serious and imperative for America – renewable energy. The fact that this urgent topic got serious air time on a major network during a late night talk show is amazing enough, but the fact that Jacobson has a plan to help is even better.”
» Read more
“Tokelau is an island nation in the South Pacific which since October 2012 has been the first country in the world to produce 100 per cent of its electricity from the sun.
Switching to renewable energy can not only decrease fuel expenditures for many island populations, but can also show the world what can be done in the face of climate change.”
» Rocky Mountain Institute – 24 September 2013:
A High-Renewables Tomorrow, Today: Tokelau, South Pacific
The Solutions Project
Stanford University Professor Mark Jacobsen has conducted detailed research on the transition to a renewable energy future. At TheSolutionsProject.org he has developed 100% Renewable Energy Roadmaps for every US state.
The Solutions Project in the United States was formed by a group of top scientists, visionary business leaders and cultural influencers with a mission of accelerating the transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. People from all over the world are encouraged to join their movement. They write:
“Sign up and together we’ll help your community transition to clean, abundant and affordable renewable energy that you control.”
“This is not an ideological issue any more. It’s a matter of common sense.”
Guillaume Bazouin, a researcher for The Solutions Project
“MYTH NO. 1: Renewables Are an Insignificant Source of Power
MYTH NO. 2: Renewables Can Replace All Fossil Fuels
MYTH NO. 3: Renewables Are Too Expensive
MYTH NO. 4: Variability Dooms Renewable Energy
MYTH NO. 5: Cheap Natural Gas Is the Enemy of Renewable Energy
MYTH NO. 6: Renewable Energy Means Millions of Green Jobs”
» Read more in The Wall Street Journal: online.wsj.com
The Wall Street Journal – 22 September 2013:
Six Myths About Renewable Energy
The impact on jobs and other assumptions that don’t hold up anymore. By Keith Johnson, reporter in The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau
» Climate News Network – 19 September 2013:
Growth and low carbon ‘can co-exist’
A new study suggests that economic growth and carbon cuts may not be mutually exclusive, offering a chance to keep energy supplies flowing without adding to global warming. By Kieran Cooke
» Read the Science – 23 August 2013:
100% Australian Renewable
What does 100% renewable electricity for the whole of Australia look like? Australian Energy Market Operator, commissioned by the Australian Federal Government, has been modelling for what a 100% renewable national electricity grid for Australia would look like.
A community goes 100% renewable
Craig Morris took a trip to one of the country’s numerous 100% Renewable Villages, which are increasingly covering all of their electricity and heat demand from local renewables and becoming exporters to neighboring cities.
“While most other countries debate how quickly they should be moving to decarbonise the economy, the overall theme in Australia is how slowly it should be done.”
“A 90 per cent renewables target would cost no more to consumers if tied in with energy efficiency and other measures. It’s a shame that no other politician from a mainstream party is talking in those terms on a national scale.”
“The Australian Energy Market Operator’s 100% renewables scenario estimates wholesale cost of electricity from a system based largely around wind, solar, geothermal and biomass would cost around $110/MWh.”
RenewEconomy – 21 August 2013:
Renewables future no more costly than fossil fuels
A renewables future will be no more costly than the largely fossil fuel alternative. By Giles Parkinson
“We are regularly told by conventional utility companies, many politicians and commentators that energies such as solar and wind are hopelessly expensive and reliant on enormous subsidy. But this is simply wrong,” wrote the managing director of AEA Solar GmbH, Ashley Seager, in the British newspaper The Guardian.
“Not investing in renewables only makes sense if you don’t want to meet our emissions targets – if you tear up the Climate Change Act,” chief executive of the British Committee on Climate Change David Kennedy told the Guardian. His committee provides independent, evidence-based advice to the UK Government and Parliament.
» The Guardian – 23 May 2013:
Don’t delay on renewable energy, government told
Committee on Climate Change says the sooner the UK invests in low-carbon power generation the cheaper it will be. By Fiona Harvey.
» The Guardian – 1 June 2013:
Renewable energy is clean, cheap and here – what’s stopping us?
Energies such as solar and wind have seen dramatic price falls. The revolution in non-grid energy should be embraced by the UK. Article by Ashley Seager
The report: ‘Next steps on Electricity Market Reform’
“The new report from the British Committee on Climate Change arguing that investing in renewable energy would eventually save consumers a lot of money is spot on,” wrote Ashley Seager.
This report shows that there is a clear benefit in committing to invest in low-carbon generation through the 2020s. The Government recently published a package of measures which would support investment in low-carbon technologies in the years up to 2020. The report considers how best these policies might be advanced particularly in the light of the opportunities presented by the exploitation of shale gas. It also takes account of the highly uncertain investment conditions relating to the period beyond 2020.
Published on 23 May 2013 by The Committee on Climate Change – a body which provides independent, evidence-based advice to the UK Government and Parliament.
Supporting data: Excel data for all report exhibits (Excel sheet)
» RTCC – 20 June 2013:
EU leaders urged to adopt 100% renewable energy target
A new lobby group has called for regional, national and European-wide legislators to achieve a 100% renewable energy target within the next four decades. By Nilima Choudhury
» Grist – 6 May 2013:
Not all renewables are created equal
Remaking the energy economy cannot be accomplished overnight and thus there will be disagreements over strategies and tactics among activists. By Tom Butler
“The main problem of the energy situation today in Europe is the massive subsidies – still in 2013 – going to fossil fuels and nuclear. If that was corrected and with a properly functioning electricity market there would be no discussion of what choice policy makers would make for the energy mix. But even without such a correction, wind energy is already cheaper than nuclear, and in an increasing number of locations already cost competitive with new gas and coal.
Wind energy does not have to be bought and transported into Europe from sometimes unreliable suppliers. Paying higher and higher bills for importing fossil fuels is not my idea of security of supply.
A 2030 target for renewable energy is the best way to make all renewables more cost-competitive, would create jobs and huge investment in Europe – rather than in some fossil-fuel producing country. It would ensure that the world-leading European wind industry grows and flourishes even more.
It is time for BusinessEurope to stop representing the interests of fossil fuel exporting regimes and start representing the interests of European businesses.”
» European Wind Energy Association – 3 May 2013:
BusinessEurope “on another planet” on energy policy
It sounds a little old fashioned when BusinessEurope claims that fighting climate change is not compatible with cost-competitiveness and security of supply. What have they been doing for the last 15 years? What planet were they on? By Thomas Becker
» Eco-business – 2 May 2013:
Zero emissions power is possible, and we know what it will cost
Several studies have now tackled the question of how to achieve this, and despite different approaches and different assumptions they’ve come up with rather similar results. By Roger Dargaville, Research Fellow, Energy Research Institute at University of Melbourne, Australia
» Grist – 2 May 2013:
What would ‘wartime mobilization’ to fight climate change look like?
Getting to change of that scale and speed is not a matter of nudging along a natural economic shift, as clean energy cost curves come down and fossil fuels get more expensive. That scale and speed seem to demand something like wartime mobilization. That metaphor gets used a lot. I’ve used it many times myself. But is it apt? And what would it mean to take it seriously? By David Roberts
» The Conversation – 2 May 2013:
Zero emissions power is possible, and we know what it will cost
To avoid 2 degrees of climate change, global carbon emissions will need to be reduced by at least 50% by 2050. For developed countries such as Australia with higher carbon emissions this will mean cuts closer to 80%: it essentially implies decarbonising the stationary energy sector in Australia. Several studies have now tackled the question of how to achieve this, and despite different approaches and different assumptions they’ve come up with rather similar results. By Roger Dargaville, Research Fellow, Energy Research Institute at University of Melbourne
» Energy Trends Insider – 30 April 2013:
The Key to Running the World on Solar and Wind Power
Cost-effective energy storage solutions are the most important unresolved problem in the energy business. A company that develops a way to efficiently and economically store intermittent energy for on-demand use will be a game-changer. By Robert Rapier
» Real Clear Policy – 22 April 2013:
The Dirty Little Secret About ‘Clean’ Energy
“Although harvesting energy from the sun is a noble idea, solar technology is costly, inefficient, unreliable, and shockingly dirty. The more we learn about solar panels, the more we should appreciate the reliable energy sources that we already have. (…) It’s long past time for our government to stop wasting taxpayer money on doomed solar projects, and instead promote policies that expand clean and reliable domestic sources of power, like natural gas.” By Jason Stverak
» Climate Code Red – 9 April 2013:
“Critical decade” or “lost decade”? Is the future unspeakable?
The problem is this: as a nation we are unable or unwilling to even talk about climate change in a meaningful way. By not articulating the full problem, we are bound to fail to solving it. By David Spratt.
» Mosaic – 8 April 2013:
Abundant Clean Energy For & By the People
“How do we get to 100% clean energy? At Mosaic, we believe the fastest way is to allow more people to participate in building the clean energy economy.”
» Huffington Post – 8 April 2013:
The Art of Clean Energy War
A war is shaping up that pits an entrenched, aging, and uncompetitive fossil fuel industry against a young, innovative and increasingly competitive set of renewable energy technologies. By Justin Guay, Sierra Club
» Grist – 29 March 2013:
Local schmocal: Why small-scale solutions won’t save the world
We like to think we do our part by buying local and riding our bikes. Not so, says author Greg Sharzer. We need a revolution! By Susie Cagle
» Shell – 25 February 2013:
A mental model for managing CO2 emissions
The CO2 issue is only addressed by two approaches – either leaving the fossil fuel in the ground forever or using the fossil fuel and returning the CO2 to the ground via CCS, carbon capture and storage. By David Hone, Climate Change Advisor for Shell and Chairman of the International Emissions Trading Association
» Social Science Research Network – 9 February 2013:
Contructing a transnational climate change regime: Bypassing and Managing States
By Kenneth W. Abbott, Arizona State University
Download the report (PDF)
» UNFCCC – 3 December 2012:
Towards 100 % Renewables – the Key Role of Communities
On 3 December 2012, the International Hydropower Association, International Solar Energy Society, World Wind Energy Association, and World Bioenergy Association held the Press briefing ‘Towards 100 % Renewables – the Key Role of Communities’. It is available as webcast.
» ABC Carbon – 1 May 2012:
The Price is Right! Renewable Energy is Cheaper than Fossil Fuel
It’s a fact. Renewable Energy is cheaper than imported gas and oil. What’s more, renewable energy offers South East Asia clean and secure power at fixed long term prices which are lower than the price for power generation from marginal fossil fuel on an unsubsidised base. This came out in a just-released report by Armstrong Asset Management called ‘Entering a New Phase of Growth: Renewable Energy in SE Asia’, which clearly shows the opportunities for investment and the cost advantages of coming clean.
» National Renewable Energy Laboratory – July 2012:
Renewable Electricity Futures Study
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Renewable Electricity Futures Study is an initial investigation of the extent to which renewable energy supply can meet the electricity demands of the continental United States over the next several decades. This study explores the implications and challenges of very high renewable electricity generation levels—from 30% up to 90%, focusing on 80%, of all U.S. electricity generation—in 2050.
» Stanford Report – 26 January 2011:
The world can be powered by alternative energy, using today’s technology, in 20-40 years, says Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson
“A new study – co-authored by Stanford researcher Mark Z. Jacobson and UC-Davis researcher Mark A. Delucchi – analyzing what is needed to convert the world’s energy supplies to clean and sustainable sources says that it can be done with today’s technology at costs roughly comparable to conventional energy. But converting will be a massive undertaking on the scale of the moon landings. What is needed most is the societal and political will to make it happen. The researchers’ plan calls for wind and solar power to contribute 90 per cent of needed energy.” Article by Louis Bergeron.
The study presents roadmaps for each of the 50 United States to convert their all-purpose energy systems (for
electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) to ones powered entirely by wind, water, and sunlight
» Download the 133-page study:
‘100% clean and renewable wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) all-sector energy roadmaps for the 50 United States’ (PDF)
» Energy Policy – 3 March 2010:
The transition to renewables: Can PV provide an answer to the peak oil and climate change challenges?
This paper explores energy and physical resource limitations to transitioning from fossil fuels to the large-scale generation of electricity with photovoltaic arrays. By Bob Lloyd and Andrew S. Forest
» Scientific American – 26 October 2009:
A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables
Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. Here’s how
By Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi
“If the climate were a bank, it would have been saved already.”
Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, 16 December 2009
A road map to 100% renewables
Friends of the Earth’s road map to 100% renewables
“With the Australian government doing everything in it’s power to dismantle action on climate change, we need state-based leadership like never before,” writes Friends of the Earth. “Moving to 100% renewables here in Victoria is achievable. It will generate thousands of jobs, share income and opportunity around much of the state, and profoundly reduce our contribution to global warming.”
Can the world convert to total renewable energy by 2050?
Interview with Stanford University’s professor Mark Jacobson by Richard Blackwell published in The Globe and Mail on 3 January 2016:
In 2009, Stanford University engineering professor Mark Jacobson outlined a plan for the world to get all its energy – including transport and heating fuel and electricity – from wind, water and solar resources by 2050.
Considered radical at the time, the model has been fleshed out to provide details for 139 countries and is now seen as far less extreme than it once was. The conversion would not only eliminate most greenhouse gas emissions, Mr. Jacobson says; it would dramatically improve human health and create millions of new jobs. He spoke recently to The Globe and Mail’s Richard Blackwell.
Many people would suggest your proposal is radical and impractical. Is it?
I think it is actually mainstream now. At the Paris conference, they were talking about 100-per-cent renewable energy. In the United States, presidential candidates on the Democratic side have embraced it.
Does that reflect a major change in attitude since you first proposed this in 2009?
It was definitely radical in 2009, and even through 2013 and partly in 2014. Most of this transformation has taken place in people’s minds in the last year. The goal to get to 100-per-cent renewable energy has gathered a huge momentum.
Are you happy with the Paris agreement, which is fairly vague in how it will get to its goals?
It is certainly positive. It is not enough to really address the problem full on. But in terms of what is possible at an international level – trying to get 195 countries to agree – it’s a good start. But each individual country can do a lot more than what that agreement would indicate. Not only can, but should, because it will be to their own benefit.
Is converting transport – cars, planes and other vehicles – the most difficult part?
I think it is easier to transform transportation than anything else, because the turnover time of a vehicle is usually around 15 years. The turnover time of a power plant is between 30 and 40 years. The technology is there for ground transportation right now … although less so for long-distance ships and planes. Aircraft are probably the hardest to change. Everything else we could transform within 15 to 20 years.
What technology would allow the conversion of aircraft to renewables?
We propose cryogenic hydrogen, which is just hydrogen at a low temperature. It was used to propel the space shuttle. It has been tested and it works.
Why do you not have any nuclear power in your models?
It has disadvantages compared to wind, water and solar, and it is not necessary. It might be better than gas or coal, but it still results in nine to 25 times more carbon emissions and air pollution than wind power, per unit of energy generated.
Also, 1.5 per cent of all nuclear reactors built have melted down seriously. And countries have secretly developed weapons under the guise of civilian programs. Then there are radioactive waste issues that are not resolved. And they cost three to four times more right now than wind power and two to three times more than utility-scale solar. There is really no advantage to using it.
Some people oppose hydro power because of the carbon footprint when large projects drown forests. Is that an issue?
We have zero new hydro. It is all existing hydro, so there is no new footprint of any kind.
Isn’t there a physical and environmental footprint from building so much new wind and solar power?
Keep in mind that we are also subtracting all the footprint related to gas, coal, oil and nuclear. There are 2.3 million gas wells spotting the Great Plains of the U.S. and Canada. Well pads, roads and storage facilities take up an area the size of the state of Maine. We would be subtracting that, and all the coal mines, all the oil refineries and the oil wells.
The new physical footprint for everything, worldwide, would be about 0.3 per cent of the world’s land area. The spacing [between wind turbines and solar panels] is another 0.6 per cent of the world. And most of that spacing can be used for agriculture.
What about concerns over materials used in solar panels and wind turbines?
There is an environmental impact for mining [those materials]. But it is a one-time [impact] for each device. With fossil fuels, you need to keep mining continuously. The solar panel footprint is trivial in comparison to the fossil-fuel footprint.
How do you convince countries with big oil and gas industries, like Canada, that this shift is a good idea?
It is [a matter of] information. If people realize that they are going to make and save a lot more money by converting, then the transition would go naturally. If the benefits are clearly laid out, versus the costs, it is a no-brainer for most people.
What about all the people employed in the oil and gas industries who may lose their jobs?
If you convert, you create an additional 22 million jobs worldwide. Sure, you would have to retrain some people, maybe a lot of people in oil and gas, but there are jobs that will be available, both in construction and permanent operation jobs.
Which countries did you find will have the most difficulty to shift to an all-renewable energy economy?
The ones that were the hardest were the smallest – such as Singapore and Gibraltar. They have pretty high populations but not much area, so it is hard for them to produce all their own energy and be energy independent. In Singapore, they will have to transfer some energy from Malaysia. Gibraltar will probably get it from Spain.
Most countries have either a lot of solar or a lot of wind, or a mixture of both. There weren’t any countries that we couldn’t do it in. In some countries, it is more of a political issue because they are war-torn.
Is energy storage going to be a key factor in making this work?
You do need a lot of storage, but it is low-cost storage: pumped hydroelectric storage, concentrated solar power with storage, and heat stored in water and rocks. Combining those with demand response and some hydrogen, which is also a form of storage, will solve the problem.
Is 2050 still a practical date to achieve that goal?
Our goal is to get to 80 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2050. It is certainly technically and economically practical. Whether it is politically tractable is a different question.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Canada’s 100 per cent renewables scenario (2050)
Solar: 21.2 per cent
Onshore wind: 37.5 per cent
Offshore wind: 21 per cent
Wave energy: 2 per cent
Geothermal: 1.9 per cent
Hydroelectric: 16.2 per cent
Tidal turbine: 0.2 per cent
Job creation impact: 293,000 construction jobs; 463,000 full-time operation jobs
Avoided health costs per year: $107.6 billion
Avoided pollution deaths per year: 9,598
Source: Stanford University
“Sounds like a big task – all those wind farms and solar plants and power lines? Could we do it? Can we afford it? Yes we could, and yes we can.
The investment in this transition to zero emissions electricity is around 3% of GDP over 10 years, or $370 billion. This is about as much as we spend on insurance over the same time. For an average household this would mean an increase to their electricity bill of $8 per week, with a 100% renewable electricity grid to show for it.”
‘Zero Carbon Australia 2020 – 100% renewable energy for Australia’
» Continue reading on www.bze.org.au
100% Renewable Energy Reports
Here you will find research on projects that forward the vision of each nation connected to a global grid of electricity, supplying 100% renewable energy:
“If the whole world did what Scotland is doing, an enormous climate change catastrophe could be averted. Scotland is demonstrating that going completely green rapidly enough to keep global warming to a 2 degrees Centigrade increase is entirely possible. It is a matter of political will, not of technology or expense.”
Scotland: a role model
Scotland, with its about 5.3 million residents, is on the fast track to using 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 with expectations of reaching the halfway point by 2015. In 2012, Scotland got 40 per cent of its electricity from renewables, up from 24 per cent in 2010.
Scotland is going 100% Green by 2020; shame on Dirty America
“Glasgow is the city of the future, not Phoenix.” Article by Juan Cole
What would a realistic energy solution look like?
This is what the future looks like, according to 350.org who wrote: “This is a projection showing how New York State could move to using zero fossil fuels to power the state, very quickly. All it takes is political will. 100% renewable energy is 100% possible.”
» New York Times – 12 March 2013:
Can wind, water and sunlight power New York by 2050?
» Mosaic – 19 October 2013:
100% Renewable Energy Isn’t Theoretical, It’s Reality
100% renewable energy to some may sound like nothing more than a pipe dream, but in reality, it already exists. By Jeremy Gottlieb
How to power 100 per cent of the planet with renewable energy by 2030
In 2009, Mark Z. Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and Mark A. Delucchi a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California wrote an article in Scientific American where they outlined a plan to power 100 per cent of the planet with renewable energy by 2030. They calculated it would require 3.8 million large wind turbines, 90,000 solar plants, and numerous geothermal, tidal and rooftop photovoltaic installations worldwide.
The cost of generating and transmitting power would be less than the projected cost per kilowatt-hour for fossil-fuel and nuclear power, but shortages of a few specialty materials, along with lack of political will, loomed as the greatest obstacles, they wrote.
A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables
Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. Here’s how. By Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi
First country in the world to become 100% renewably-powered
Tokelau turned off the last of its diesel generators in October 2012. In their place, they switched on their new solar plants, making Tokelau the first country in the world to become 100% renewably-powered.
“I woke up before sunrise that day, excited about the history Tokelau was making,” said Mikaele Maiava, a spokesperson for the youth-led climate change action network 350 Pacific:
“My whole village made its way to the site of over 100 solar panels — we could see the many hours of hard labor that had gone into this project. As we counted down to the switch, I could feel future generations smiling at us and thanking us. Our children’s future suddenly looked brighter because we had the vision (and perseverance) necessary to get off fossil fuels and switch to 100% renewable energy.”
Maiava called on the rest of the world to do the same:
“We want to show the world that people from countries and cultures everywhere are standing with us — the Pacific Warriors — in the fight against climate change.”
On 2 March 2013, the tiny territory of Tokelau lead a call by 14 Pacific island nations for the world to take action to stop climate change.
» Continue reading: news.mongabay.com
Zero Carbon Britain 2030
The report zerocarbonbritain2030 demonstrates how Britain can eliminate emissions from fossil fuels and break our dependence on imported energy by 2030 by significantly increasing energy efficiency and by installing massive renewable energy generation.
In Europe, America and across the world, many organisations are examining how their nations and regions can do the same, and Zero Carbon Britain has compiled a long list of global, regional and national scenarios for a 100 per cent renewables society.
» Global Call for Climate Action – 26 June 2013:
Europe could go 100% renewable, says lobby group
European policymakers must act on renewable energy and make Europe the first 100% renewable continent within the next 40 years, a new lobby group – the Global Alliance for 100% Renewable Energy – has argued.
» Renewable Energy World – 30 April 2013:
Pathways to 100 Percent Renewable Energy
Reaching the goal of getting 100 percent of the world’s energy from renewable resources is technically and economically feasible today. The challenges lie in the realms of public policy and political will, as well as in finance, market development, and business development. By John Berger
» Business Spectator – 29 April 2013:
100% renewables is feasible: AEMO
The Australian Energy Market Operator was commissioned by the federal government to examine the feasibility of operating the eastern states’ National Electricity Market using entirely renewable energy sources for the period of 2030 and 2050. AEMO finds that it is indeed possible to operate the electricity market with 100 per cent renewable energy while meeting the current eliability requirement. By Tristan Edis
» RenewEconomy – 4 April 2013:
Another myth busted on the road to 100% renewable electricity
Two countries, Denmark and Scotland, have official targets for 100% renewable electricity, Denmark by 2050 and Scotland, which already has a lot of hydro, by 2020. By Mark Diesendorf
Talk by Amory Lovins
In this intimate talk filmed at TED’s offices, energy innovator Amory Lovins shows how to get the US off oil and coal by 2050, five trillion US dollars cheaper, with no Act of Congress, led by business for profit. The key is integrating all four energy-using sectors—and four kinds of innovation. View full lesson
Who is doing something?
Who is taking global leadership today? What actions are countries taking on climate change?
The Climate Institute in Australia has been doing research on these questions.
Check this Global Climate Action Map of the Climate Institute.
» The Guardian – 9 May 2011:
Renewable energy can power the world, says landmark IPCC study
UN’s climate change science body says renewables supply, particularly solar power, can meet global demand. By Fiona Harvey
The Global Alliance for 100% Renewable Energy
At a conference in San Francisco on 17 April 2013, the alliance launched a new international campaign that seeks to build political will among a critical mass of decision makers and set a required goal of 100% renewable energies. Among the founding partners of the new alliance are the World Future Council, Renewables 100 Policy Institute, World Wind Energy Association, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, DeENet, World Bioenergy Association and ISES.
» Home page: go100percent.org
“Renewable energy is the only way we can power Australia in the future”
Greenpeace Australia in 2008
“It’s useful to learn a bit about some of the countries and cities that have completely or almost completely switched to renewable energy for their electricity supply. For example, some leading examples include Iceland, which now gets 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources; Tokelau, which has hit 100% renewable energy; Denmark, which is now getting nearly 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources and is planning to get 50% from wind power alone by 2020; Scotland, which is aiming for 100% electricity from renewable energy by 2020; Samsø, a 100% wind-powered island; and Güssing, Austria, which is also already 100% powered by clean, renewable energy.”
» Planetsave.com – 29 October 2013:
100% Renewable Energy Future — How To Get There + Useful Studies
Articles and reports about the topic on CleanTechnica.com:
- A 100% Renewable Energy Future Is Possible
- Wind, Solar, & Storage Could Power The Full Electric Grid Cost Effectively 99.9% Of The Time By 2030
- Clean Energy Could Supply The U.S. With 70% Of Its Electricity By 2030
- Europe Could Be 100% Powered By Renewable Energy
- A 95% Renewable Energy World Is Possible By 2050 Even With NO Technological Breakthroughs
- A 100% Renewable Energy Future For Australia Would Be Cost Competitive
- The U.S. Could Have 80% Clean, Renewable Energy by 2050, But We Need More Political Will & Public Demand To Make That Happen
» Read about more 100% renewables cases and stories on Pinterest.com