Dave Elliott: A new report by LUT University in Finland and the Energy Watch Group (EWG) in Germany outlines a cross-sector, global 100% renewable energy system, backing up the version it released last year. The full modelling study simulates a total global energy transition in the electricity, heat, transport and desalination sectors by 2050. It claims that a transition to 100% renewable energy would lead to a system that was economically competitive with the current fossil and nuclear-based system. It could also, the study says, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy system to zero by 2050, or perhaps earlier, without relying on negative CO2 emission technologies. LUT/EWG have also developed a range of national roadmaps for the transition to 100% renewable power. The new global 100% renewable study builds on that work, and earlier global studies, covering all sectors. The proposals for balancing the large variable renewable inputs look reasonably credible, with energy storage meeting nearly 23% of electricity demand and approximately 26% of heat demand. Given that a key issue is meeting the relatively short periods of peak demand, that, along with other flexibility measures, may suffice. In the LUT/EWG mix, in addition to batteries for short-term storage, use is made for overall balancing and longer periods of “Power to Gas” (P2G) electrolytic conversion of surplus renewable output to storable hydrogen, along with methanisation, an approach being developed in Germany. Heat pumps are also widely used, along with bioenergy-fired combined heat and power (CHP) and extensive heat storage, offering further flexibility. In terms of transport, wide use is made of synthetic vehicle fuels and direct electricity, squeezing fossil fuel out entirely by 2050. Mark Jacobson at Stanford University, meanwhile, is upgrading his group’s 100% all energy global scenario, with a new book out soon. The online extracts look very radical. Jacobson too sees no role for nuclear or carbon capture and storage (CCS) or direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) and even less of a role for biomass, but wind plays a bit more of a role than in the LUT/EWG scenario — although overall demand is reduced much more. Plenty to get stuck into.
Physics World 5th June 2019 read more »
How corporates are leading the 100% renewable energy transition. The transition to 100% renewables is already happening – and it’s the corporate world that’s leading the charge. With the economic and social imperatives of addressing climate change increasingly compelling, a growing number of companies are de-risking their operations by shifting away from increasingly volatile fossil fuels, providing hope that this can (and will) become mainstream. It signals a remarkable turnaround from the early days of the industry, when solar power was out of the question for the majority of corporates. There were the early pioneers, but the case for a ‘people and planet’ approach to business was yet to be formed, let alone won. In 2019, we’ve seen over 170 companies making the commitment to switch to 100% renewable energy, with 37 already at 95%; so close to meeting their target. From Ikea and Unilever, to Mars and Budweiser, these businesses are some of the world’s most influential companies, all members of the RE100 and 100% committed to a zero carbon future.
PV Magazine 5th June 2019 read more »