Can The World Run on 100 Percent Renewable Energy?
Recently a client asked whether the world could transition out of fossil fuels entirely. If we did, could we generate enough energy to power the world 24 hours a day 7 days a week? Is there even enough space for all the wind turbines and solar panels to manage all of our power needs. What happens at night or on calm days? Will 100 percent renewable energy destabilize the grid?
A simulation created by a team of scientists from LUT University in Finland delivered answers. In short, YES, we could transition to 100 percent renewable energy. YES, there is enough space for the renewable energy generation needed. A mix of energy sources can cover electricity demand for all hours, in all seasons. No, renewable energy does not have to destabilize the grid, but there are changes that will need to be made. LUT researchers insist the right mix of renewable energy generation, storage and transmission works. That means the world can run on 100 percent renewable energy and their model shows them to be correct. The model even describes how to transition from the current energy resources to clean green resources.
The Grid in America
In America, the grid is already fragile. In a March 13, 2014 article, time.com claimed saboteurs could disable just nine interconnection substations to create a nationwide blackout. The WSJ ran a similar report on the interconnection substation exposure. Striking those nine electric interconnection substations could shut down 55,000 US electric transmission substations coast to coast. On February 27, 2022, CBS ran a followup story confirming that vulnerability has not been corrected in the intervening years. Given the current fragile nature of the grid, don’t we need to make changes anyway? Why not look into how to protect the grid as we transition it to more sustainable energy sources.
A Model Answer for 100 Percent Renewable Energy
LUT University in Finland, with Energy Watch Group, a German Nonprofit, answered the question in a recent report. Using the Global Internet of Energy Model, researchers ran a simulation of a worldwide 100 percent renewable electricity system. For the first time, scientists could visualize what a renewable electricity system for the entire world would be like.
How, Not If
According to Dr. Tom Brown of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, there are answers to every concernthat was raised. He specifically addressed concerns raised by Master of Science Benjamin Heard and his colleagues. The answers, Dr. Brown believes, are all found in technology that already exists today. Even better, Dr. Christian Breyer who co-authored the response, believes the “solutions are absolutely affordable.” That means it is not a question of whether we can transition to 100 percent renewable energy, it is how.
Again, we can transition to 100 percent renewable energy. We just need to commit to deciding how and when we will transition. Deloitte recently reported US renewable energy’s electricity generation share moved from 10 percent in 2010 to 20 percent in 2020. The level is still too low, but it did double in ten years. Growth was led by solar and wind energy growth, but we are a long way from Renewable Energy Initiative goals. That leads us to the question, do you want to be part of the solution?
Minnesota Renewable Solar Resources
In Minnesota, Renewable Solar Resources, a family run firm, for years continues to support the transition to clean solar power systems. Renewable Solar Resources believes in a clean energy future. Additionally, it has found solar to be an incredibly reliable energy source even in the north. Solar panels, inverters and solar storage have continued to become ever more efficient. The combination makes solar an incredibly affordable choice for renewable energy of today and the future.