Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Renewables can power the World in few decades

So says the IPCC in a new report. They estimate that the apportion of renewable energy sources will increase anyhow but that it will be a lot faster if there is a concerted political effort. 

An optimistic projection has 77% of World's energy demand coming from renewable sources by 2050. Today it is only 13%. 

In 2009 the fastest growing renewable was solar-photovoltaic (up 50% in just one year), followed by wind (+30%) and solar-thermal (+20%), ethanol and biodiesel (+9-10%) and finally the quite exhausted hydroelectric (+3%).


  1. Funny thing about percentages: they are fractions. Thus there is a numerator and a denominator.

    All you need to get near 100% output from alternate sources is to give everyone a 12 watt solar panel, a charger, and a renewable battery. Then shut down all the power plants. We could all live in our caves and power up our one little LED light with 100% renewable power.

    It is the same you see when a company comes crashing to earth but its P/E ration (Price/Earnings) ratio sky rockets. The price is plummeting, just not as fast as the earnings.

  2. Nowadays we'd kill for a washing machine, even if it's a pedal-propelled one. We won't settle for less than plumbing and sanitation (what seems fair to me). And, even if we do reduce, we are not going to go to any "cave" - that's clear.

    In fact I'm not sure if you aren't just being sarcastic about what is a most serious challenge for our species, probably the most difficult one since Toba (if not worse).

    If some sectors of society would adopt the way you say, others would not, and they'd have all the odds to win in the short run. We can't renounce to technology nor to reasonable health and comfort without causing more problems than we can solve, and we must make sure that the expectations of the Great South are met and not ignored in any such change.

    There are other technical issues, particularly automobiles need some sort of fuel and it'd seem nobody is for hydrogen (though I am, specially because it can be produced out of electricity and water, with just water as output: hyper-clean).

    Transport energy is like 50% of all in a country like the USA (and most is wasted in inefficiency). This is of course motivated by elements like high presence of private transport, high rate of transportation of goods (instead of building production centers near destinations), etc.

    This part is something that requires something more than mere change of energy source: it needs surely of a change of economic paradigm to one not measured by money (just printed paper or rather a highly chaotic rationing coupons' system) but by energy consumption, environmental impact and people's happiness.


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