Can renewable energy power the entire globe?

solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, geothermal, solar panelsA new study says that the world could completely run on renewable, sustainable energy by 2030.

It is no secret that the energy output from “alternative” sources like the sun, wind and water is astronomical. Living in a world “addicted” to energy, harnessing such power would be a world-changing event, and for the better. The obstacles, however, have thus far been exactly how to harness this power with our current technology and grid-infrastructures  – and not to mention our economic woes.

With “peak oil” looming and climate change affecting our planet, scientists are diligently working on advanced methods of harnessing renewable energy in vast quantities with the ultimate goal of replacing fossil fuels as our planet’s dominant energy resource.

The debate has, of course, been highly opinionated from every angle. Can the world really drop fossil fuels “cold turkey” in exchange for sustainable energy? According to two researchers, the idea is a real possibility.

Authors mark Jacobson from Stanford University and Mark Delucchi from the University of California at Davis have recently published a report that suggests that the world could be run entirely by renewable energy – a combination of solar, wind and water power – by the year 2030.

All electricity, transportation, heating and cooling and other such needs could be met through these three energy sources, while eliminating the need for emissions-heavy nuclear power.

According to the authors, 3.8 million 5-megawatt wind turbines would contribute to global energy demand. In addition, 49,000 300-megawatt concentrated solar plants, 40,000 300-megawatt solar PV power plants and 1.7 billion 3-kilowatt rooftop PV systems would be in use to meet demands.

Also, 270 new 1300-megawatt hydroelectric power plants would be needed, alongside 720,000 0.75 megawatt wave devices and 490,000 1-megawatt tidal turbines. In addition, 5350 100-megawatt geothermal power plants would be required as well.

Obviously, building and delivering such an immense infrastructure would call for a globally massive effort. According to Jacobson and Delucchi, such changes would help in reducing world energy demand by thirty percent while using up only 0.51 percent more land across the globe.

Source: terracurve

Also see Renewables can meet world energy needs by 2050: WWF

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