100% clean and renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight (WWS) all-sector energy roadmaps for 53 towns and cities in North America. Mak Z. Jacobson et al. Towns and cities worldwide emit significant pollution and are also increasingly affected by pollution’s health and climate impacts. Local decision makers can alleviate these impacts by transitioning the energy they control to 100% clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. This study develops roadmaps to transition 53 towns and cities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico to 100% wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) in all energy sectors by no later than 2050, with at least 80% by 2030. The roadmaps call for electrifying transportation and industrial heat; using electricity, solar heat, or geothermal heat for water and air heating in buildings; storing electricity, cold, heat, and hydrogen; and providing all electricity and heat with WWS. This full transition in the 53 towns and cities examined may reduce 2050 air pollution premature mortality by up to 7000 (1700-16,000)/yr, reduce global climate costs in 2050 by $393 (221–836) billion/yr (2015 USD), save each person ∼$133/yr in energy costs, and create ∼93,000 more permanent, full-time jobs than lost.
Sustainable Cities and Society (accessed) 8th July 2018 read more »
Dave Elliott: Opinions vary on the prospects of near-100% renewable power by 2050. Upgraded smart grid systems with storage and supergrid links can balance variable supply and demand, making the overall system more efficient and cheaper to run than the existing inflexible system, while avoiding the high cost of using nuclear and fossil fuels – points made by Lovins in an earlier study. In this new paper, Lovins et al. end by saying that they hope their exposition of “how up-start, granular, mass-produced technologies can overtake a powerful centralized incumbent may illuminate whether the pace of global decarbonization must inevitably be constrained by incumbents’ inertias, could be sped by insurgents’ ambitions, or perhaps both”. Clearly they think renewables can expand fast, which goes against an earlier study by the equally authoritative Vaclav Smil, who concluded that “replacing the current global energy system relying overwhelmingly on fossil fuels by biofuels and by electricity generated intermittently from renewable sources will be necessarily a prolonged, multidecadal process”. That led to some challenges, including from Ben Sovacool at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, UK, drawing on some historical examples of rapid change, and from a range of other academics. But perhaps the best challenge comes from the actual progress being made: see the new REN21 annual review, which I look at in my next post.
Physics World 4th July 2018 read more »