Skip to content

The weekend read: Looking at the energy transition’s bigger picture via pv magazine


From pv magazine 07/2021

pv magazine: It’s been more than 10 years since you first published work on a 100% renewables system – what has changed since then?

Mark Jacobson, director, atmosphere/energy program, Stanford University: The first article I published was back in 2009 in Scientific American. At the time utilities didn’t think much more than 20% renewables on the grid was possible, and when we proposed to go to 100%, people laughed at us.

Since then, everything has changed. There is a lot more discussion as to how we can get to 100% renewables, and whether the costs will go up. In the U.S. we now have around 24% renewable electricity. So, we are about 8% to 9% of the way there in terms of how far we need to go to get to 100% renewables for all energy, not just electricity, in the country.

There has been this huge growth of wind and solar, and now beginning with battery storage and electric vehicles as well. In the building sector people are starting to talk about more laws being passed to ensure new buildings are energy efficient and all electric. Heavy industries and air and ship transport are also starting to electrify. There is a lot of good news, but we still need very aggressive policies to be put in place to ensure that rapid transition – at least 80% by 2030, and 100% by 2050.

I think that the biggest obstacles right now are competing interests, all of these technologies being proposed that are actually much less helpful than renewables – so carbon capture, new nuclear power, bio energy, direct air capture, geoengineering. All of these things are basically opportunity costs and distractions from real solutions.

You’ve talked about a need for increased efficiency and energy demand reduction in a 100% wind water and sunlight scenario. How do these fit with the model?

Actually just by transitioning to 100% electricity, and providing that electricity with clean renewable energy, we would reduce global power demand by around 57%. Using heat pumps instead of gas heaters, for example, reduces your energy demand for heat by 75%. Same thing with electric vehicles – in a gasoline vehicle, 20% of the energy is used to move the car, and the rest is waste heat. Whereas in an electric vehicle 80% to 85% is used to move the car.

Additionally, 12% of energy worldwide is used for the mining, transport and refining of fossil fuels and uranium – and we eliminate all of that. Electrifying industry has a smaller benefit but about a 3% to 4% reduction is possible. And then there is another 6% to 7% in energy efficiency measures beyond ‘business as usual’. That all adds up to around a 57% reduction in energy requirements just by going to 100% clean renewable energy. And if you’re using 57% less energy, the cost per unit energy being the same, you’re paying 57% less per year. We calculate that worldwide the total annual cost that people pay will be about 60% lower. So about 57% less energy use and another 10% reduction in cost per unit energy.

So the cost per unit would fall by around 10%?

That’s a conservative estimate, because wind and solar right now are half the cost of natural gas. But OK, you need backup and you have more transmission and distribution – when you account for everything, it’s a minimum 10% lower cost of energy, but you are using 57% less energy. It’s a huge reduction in cost.

How does this backup look in your models? Is it all storage?

Demand response is also a very big component, and you have transmission interconnection over large areas. On one extreme you could have 100% storage and minimal interconnection, on the other you could just interconnect the world and have no storage, because you can always get renewable power from somewhere in the world. In reality you are going to have somewhere in between, and I think storage is winning because it is just getting harder to put up new transmission lines.


Read more.

Posted in *English.

Tagged with , , .

13 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Pro Chainsaw says

    thank you so much shared for this cool post.

  2. Erode Escorts says

    thank you so much shared for this cool post.

  3. Thesis Helper says

    Taking online thesis help from the best thesis writing service providers will help you get the best quality information and write for an excellent academic career. You’ll get plagiarism-free and unique writings from the experts. You have to mention your requirements and the timing for the thesis papers so that the professionals can help you with their best services. Also, these professional companies offer 24/7 customer support with proper guidance at any time. Moreover, the benefits are pretty affordable, and you can even get them at a low price. Your writing will be delivered on time once you pay for it and provide good writing information.

  4. wismita says

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles

  5. marmer granit says

    This is very useful and interesting information. keep it up

  6. maxindo says

    Great post dude i love your content

  7. slot says

    Playing slot to be successful is that. Of course, techniques and methods are necessary and extremely important. That will make you a winner and receive rewards from various websites that provide services for spinning

  8. burp suite crack says

    Wonderful submit, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector do not realize this. burp suite pro crack

  9. adobe photoshop cc crack says

    webroot secureanywhere antivirus key crack license is the latest protection package for a much better security policy on your Windows computer. You can find impressive features integrated into this article. webroot key is a lightweight antivirus that protects your device from virus-like threats through cloud-based protection. free webroot keycode delivers cloud-based security technology.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.