Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Today’s Clean Tech Could Power the World by 2050

In two papers in press in Energy Policy (.pdf), Jacobson and coauthor Mark Delucchi of the University of California, Davis outline a plan to power the planet using renewables. They ranked the alternatives by comparing efficiency with health and environmental benefits. Wind, solar, geothermal and water power came out on top, and biofuels on bottom. Nuclear power fell in-between, as did coal burned using carbon-capturing smokestacks. These were then evaluated in terms of costs, materials and reliability. “From what I saw, it’s carefully done,” said Jonathan Koomey of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who was not involved in the work. “If you take it as a back-of-the-envelope, high level, envisioning the future of what we want to create, this is a good example of that kind of work. I think it’s credibly done.” “I think it’s generally true that one finds there are no absolutely insurmountable technical barriers,” said Ryan Wiser, an expert in renewable energy policies at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, also not involved in the study. “The question isn’t fundamentally a technical one.” More>