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

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 PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:37AM (#35241978)

    ... so fuck 'em. My generation had a pain in the ass dealing with all the bullshit that mere existence dished out, so let's just let's just leave nuclear waste, lack of petroleum based fuels, etc, as a problem for forthcoming generations.

  • by kangsterizer ( 1698322 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:50AM (#35242038)

    I think it's more about the money.
    Free energy? What else do you need once you have that.
    Free energy solves nearly everything. Of course, we might not actually get real renewable energy (100.00%) but if we do...
    Then you don't need to pay for light, heating directly. All other supplies can be operated on free energy as well and cost nearly zero.

    There's still a lot of other things requiring humans to work (medicine, entertainment, etc)) but all the basic needs could be fulfilled for everyone.
    It means, the rich couldn't exploit the poor anymore since the poor could just live on with minimum effort if he wanted to. Which also means things would get more equal. That's not something the rich will want to happen.

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @06:52AM (#35242044) Homepage

    Yeah. Going to war worked SO well in Somalia. America got very heavily criticized for military interference in Africa's internal affairs. Citation: PBS. "Less than a year after having been welcomed by the Somali people as heroes, American soldiers were ambushed by Somali men, women, and children." [] Then, a year later, America didn't use its military to stop the Rwandan genocide, and got the blame for standing by and doing nothing. Don't trust me: listen to PBS. "The Triumph of Evil: How the West Ignored Warnings of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and Turned Its Back on the Victims." []

    I read this story somewhere on the net. One day, an African newspaper's headline read: "Three Headless Bodies Found".

    The next day: "Three Heads Found".

    The third day: "Heads Don't Match Bodies".

  • by charnov ( 183495 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @07:02AM (#35242078) Homepage Journal

    Breeder reactors are clean and never run out of fuel. Hydro is very dirty from enviromental view and very destructive. Solar is getting better. Wind and wave are also dead ends for total replacement as they dont scale. Geothermal and hydrogen could be viable, too.

  • Re:PR Puff Piece (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Olivier Galibert ( 774 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @07:20AM (#35242128)

    Niiiiiiice. $19 trillions just for the wind turbines (around 5M each), $100 trillions for the rooftop PV systems (around 60K each), but there is no economic issue. Right.

    Only $135 billions for the dams (around 500M each)... if you can find 270 new places in where to put them...


  • by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @07:24AM (#35242158) Journal

    What we need to do, same as with Israel and Palestine and many others, is dump shitloads of weapons on them, let them duke it out fairly and then, when they finally have enough of killing each other, we could sit down and help them build something worthwhile.

    You cannot bring peace and you cannot go and end wars. Only the people involved can do that. They need to want to, they need the guts to stand up and try and they need the staying power to see it through. It's social evolution, and we can't do it for them.

    OR we could give them what they need: A shared enemy. But then again, I thought we weren't all that happy about terrorism.

  • No Problem (Score:1, Interesting)

    by gmdiesel ( 1272738 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @07:40AM (#35242222)

    By 2050 disease and war will have reduced the global population to a fraction of what it is today, and whoever is left will not be wasting energy on heating and cooling McMansions and feeding oversized vehicles and toys. It won't be that we've managed to move to renewables on a scale that can keep up with the population, just that we've reduced the population to the point that renewable energy will have no problem keeping up with demand.

  • Re:PR Puff Piece (Score:5, Interesting)

    by locofungus ( 179280 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @08:09AM (#35242288)

    Niiiiiiice. $19 trillions just for the wind turbines (around 5M each), $100 trillions for the rooftop PV systems (around 60K each), but there is no economic issue. Right.

    85 million bbl/day oil consumption (2007)

    At $100 per bbl that's $8.5 billion per day or, by 2050 $120 trillion, almost exactly the same cost as you've given above.

    Oil is less than $100/bbl now but is almost certainly going to be a lot more than $100/bbl by 2050 (unless, of course, we've switched most of our power generation to alternatives so that there's no longer the same demand)

    Right now, migrating off oil is looking approximately economically neutral. There's a cashflow issue - if we do it over the next 40 years we're going to need about $3 trillion tied up in building new infrastructure (assuming it takes about 1 year from starting building to bringing something on line - dams are obviously slower, wind farms seem to be quicker). But the longer we leave it the more urgent it's going to become (eventually there will be a time when we have to be off oil) and the more cash we'll have to tie up in order to build the infrastructure more quickly.


  • Re:PR Puff Piece (Score:4, Interesting)

    by a_n_d_e_r_s ( 136412 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @08:42AM (#35242398) Homepage Journal

    Even China who has the closest thing to a command economy on the planet is hell bent on running up coal and nuclear for the short term.

    China is the second largest wind power producer in the world and are quickly climbing the ranks to become #1.

    China is actually very heavily investing in wind power and about half of world wide wind power added during the first half of 2010 was in China. []

    Before the end of this year China will be the #1 wind power in the world surpassing USA.

  • by mog007 ( 677810 ) <> on Friday February 18, 2011 @09:23AM (#35242564)

    The Sahara is not a desert because of humans. It's a desert because of the motion of the Earth. The Earth wobbles like a top, it's why your astrological sign doesn't correspond to where the sun rises on the day you were born anymore. They were accurate about 2000 years ago, Leos being born with the sun in the constallation of Leo, and so on, but the precession of the Earth screwed that up. Similarly, the Sahara goes through forest->desert->forest every few thousand years. It's how Neanderthals were able to leave Africa and settle in Europe, but no members of our species were found in Europe until relatively recently. The Sahara dried up after some Neanderthals went through, and after it became a desert, our species was unable to traverse it. Until we got more advanced technology.

  • by Pinky's Brain ( 1158667 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @09:48AM (#35242704)

    The problem with nuclear power is that there is a lot of uncertainty. Solar thermal is too close for comfort, it's in the same order of magnitude now in cost/Watt and a few advances can easily tip the scale. Solar thermal can also be deployed a hell of a lot faster. No matter how much you liberalise the market and ease the regulations, no one is going to invest in nuclear where you can only start making money back after a couple of decades with that hanging over their heads ... not unless government shoulders some of the risk.

    Personally if I was the US government though I'd just throw a couple of 100 billion at solar thermal, buy out the patents and fill some deserts with solar thermal plants and build a HVDC network to distribute the electricity ... even if it's more expensive than nuclear it will be online faster, and the odds are good that during building the costs will drop.

    Nuclear is slow, messy, unnecessary and would set a terrible example to the rest of the world (nuclear power is always a proliferation risk).

  • by brokeninside ( 34168 ) on Friday February 18, 2011 @10:19AM (#35243052)

    If fuel can be made from petroleum substitutes, this frees up petroleum for petro-chemicals, plastics, fertilizers, etc. I'd be slightly surprised, but only slightly, if US domestic production of oil couldn't satisfy all non-fuel needs in the US. And if can't, then there are all oil exporting non-OPEC nations like Canada, Great Britain, Russia, China, Mexico, Brazil, etc.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito