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Stanford, UCD Researchers Say 100% Renewable Energy Possible By 2050 360

Posted by timothy
from the triumph-of-the-will dept.
thecarchik writes with news of an analysis published in Energy Policy by researchers from Stanford University and the University of California-Davis. "There are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources, said author Mark Jacobson, a Stanford professor, saying it is only a question of 'whether we have the societal and political will.' During this decade, the two 'fuels of the future' will be electricity and gasoline. Beyond that, we can't project."
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Stanford, UCD Researchers Say 100% Renewable Energy Possible By 2050

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  • by intellitech (1912116) * on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:06AM (#35241882)

    Hopefully before crude oil hits $250 a barrel [wordpress.com] (which will happen sometime around 2035 or later) and the world spins out of control. What's especially interesting is looking at the rising food costs and population growth side-by-side with peak oil graphs [inteldaily.com].

  • fools of the future (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:31AM (#35241958)

    During this decade, the two 'fuels of the future' will be electricity and gasoline.

    Electricty isn't a fuel.

  • by Hammer (14284) on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:48AM (#35242022) Journal

    I'll bite on this troll...

    Renewable energy != perpetual energy
    Solar power, wind power, hydro power, burning plant matter are all viable renewable energy sources today.
    Incidentally all have been in use for the last... oohh 3000 years

  • PR Puff Piece (Score:5, Informative)

    by jamesl (106902) on Friday February 18, 2011 @07:05AM (#35242090)

    This Stanford PR piece has received a lot of "coverage" -- mostly cut and paste.

    Here are links to the original papers.
    http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/JDEnPolicyPt1.pdf [stanford.edu]
    http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/DJEnPolicyPt2.pdf [stanford.edu]

    We estimate that 3,800,000 5 MW wind turbines, 49,000 300 MW concentrated solar plants, 40,000 300 MW solar
    PV power plants, 1.7 billion 3 kWrooftop PV systems, 5350 100 MWgeothermal power plants, 270
    new 1300 MWhydroelectric power plants, 720,000 0.75 MWwave devices, and 490,000 1 MWtidal
    turbines can power a 2030 WWS world that uses electricity and electrolytic hydrogen for all purposes. ...
    Barriers to the plan are primarily social and political, not technological or economic.

    I'm sure everybody will want to study the papers in detail. And hold on to your checkbooks.

  • by ray-auch (454705) on Friday February 18, 2011 @07:16AM (#35242118)

    Renewable != Free

    Wind power is renewable, the "fuel" is completely free, but collecting the wind and turning it into usable power is not free. Turbines have to be built, maintained, replaced at end of lfe, land to site them needs to be bought or rented etc. Overall, wind is often more expensive (and has to be subsidised as a result), at least per unit of electricity generated, than oil/gas at current prices.

  • Re:Hydro? (Score:5, Informative)

    by intellitech (1912116) * on Friday February 18, 2011 @07:26AM (#35242166)

    Reservoir sites usually contain lots of vegetation, and once underwater, the plants naturally decompose and release methane (a greenhouse gas). That's why it's considered "dirty." It's considered destructive because of the effect on migratory patterns, currents, and the overall eco-system surrounding the dam. There have also been reports of increased temperature levels around hydroelectric dams which can have a very harmful effect on surrounding wildlife.

    Thermal effects of hydroelectric power stations on the environment [springerlink.com]

    The Environmental Literacy Council - Hydroelectric Power [enviroliteracy.org]

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Friday February 18, 2011 @08:17AM (#35242298) Homepage

    Why on earth would anyone want to remove yet another limit to human growth?

    Where do you see a correlation between access to energy and population growth?

    The countries with greater population countries are Liberia, Burundi, Afghanistan, Western Sahara, East Timor, Niger, Eritrea, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Palestinian territories. Clearly they have too much access to energy.

    What we really need is a Chinese-style one child policy, or better yet incentives for no children at all.

    Because, not only that doesn't have any moral implications, as it clearly worked in reducing their population [wolframalpha.com].

    Don't get me wrong, I agree that having many children with our current population is completely immoral, but I think that approach to dealing with the problem is misguided.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2011 @08:22AM (#35242316)

    I hope you are you trolling.
    First law of thermodynamics. The Energy is not used up it is just used differently and in the end will always also become heat(second law).
    If you used all the availible roofspace, a lot of heating (and cooling too via adsoption) energy cost could be saved without any negative impact to the enviroment.Did you see the movie by Al Gore? You do not need a continent to power the world just a rather small part of any of the big deserts will do for the whole world. Interesting project, at least for europe/africa, is DESERTEC, look it up.
    Anyway it would be stupid to do just do one thing or build just one big solar plant somewhere. Reliable energy distribution and/or storage is a bigger problem than generation itself. Distributed energy generation from many different sources(direct solar, wind, bio mass) is the way to go. Personally I would include nuclear(fusion in the future hopefully) too, there were a few great advances in recent years to make it safer/more efficent/cheaper. Just get rid of the old reactors and replace them with new safer/better ones.
    One of the areas you completely negelcted is power generation from bio mass(any organic waste).
    Ever heard of the "solar updraft tower", the prototype in spain actually helped plant growth due to increased moisture below the collector.
    OK, troll is fed enough.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday February 18, 2011 @09:54AM (#35242754)

    Overpopulation is a myth

    http://overpopulationisamyth.com/ [overpopula...samyth.com]

    Please read, learn and revise opinion accordingly.

  • by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Friday February 18, 2011 @10:12AM (#35242956)

    Wikipedia has a link to Siemens which claims otherwise ...

    "The most economic solution for long-distance bulk power transmission, due to lower losses, is transmission with High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC). A basic rule of thumb: for every 1,000 kilometres the DC line losses are less than 3% (e.g. for 5,000 MW at a voltage of 800 kV)."

    With that you could get energy from the equator to Santa Claus without losing half the power (26% loss over 10000 Kilometre). Within the United States the losses would be negligible.

  • by bouldin (828821) on Friday February 18, 2011 @01:33PM (#35245212)

    Wow, what a horrible site full of misinformation and straw man arguments.

    This site was funded by the Bradley Foundation [wikipedia.org], who also funded hard-right "think tank" groups such as PNAC, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Federalist Society. The authors affirm [pop.org] they are a network of "pro-life" groups.

    The site begins by linking belief in overpopulation to efforts to kill the poor and promote Chinese abortions, then proceeds with meaningless factoids (all the humans on earth could fit in Texas) to conclude that overpopulation is a myth.

    The only legitimate argument on the site is that the Earth can produce enough food, although the argument relies on petrochemical fertilizers, and does not acknowledge constraints on the petrochemicals.

    The site does not even acknowledge concerns about the high risk of global diseases, the massive amounts of waste products and pollution from industry and agriculture, or constraints on energy and water supplies. Oh, and nobody has even mentioned that there might not be enough jobs for everyone in the world.

    In one section, the authors "prove" the Earth's population will peak around 8 B in 30 years and begin to decline by linking to the UN Population DB [un.org] and telling you to use the "low variant" model. They don't tell you that the other three models (constant fertility, medium, high) all show the population continuing to rise for the duration of the model (present - 2050).

    Talk about selective information. What a crock of shit.

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