More than 70 per cent of the countries in the world – including the UK, US, China and other major economies – could run entirely on energy created by wind, water and solar by 2050, according to a roadmap developed by scientists. And they pointed out that doing so would not only mean the world would avoid dangerous global warming, but also prevent millions of premature deaths a year and create about 24 million more jobs than were lost. One of the scientists said the social benefits of following their roadmap were so “enormous” and essentially cost free that human society should “accelerate the transition to wind, water and solar as fast as possible”. Rooftop solar panels and major solar power plants; offshore and onshore wind turbines; wave, hydroelectric and tidal schemes; and geothermal energy would also be used to replace fossil fuels to generate electricity, power vehicles and heat homes. The UK is about to publish its own Emissions Reduction Plan, which is supposed to set out how Britain will meet its international commitment in the fight against climate change – to cut emissions by 57 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030. While the UK has been making good progress on decarbonising electricity generation, the transport and domestic heating sectors remain problematic. As part of its attempts to improve air quality, the Government has announced it will ban the sale of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in 2040. It remains to be seen how radical it will be in encouraging the switch from gas-central heating to low or zero-carbon methods. Writing in the journal Joule, a team of researchers led by Professor Mark Jacobson, of Stanford University in the US, warned the stakes were high.
Independent 23rd Aug 2017 read more »
Renew Economy 24th Aug 2017 read more »
City Lab 23rd Aug 2017 read more »
Letter: Dr Robert Gross and Dr Phil Heptonstall, Hidden costs are not revealed through oversimplification. The UK Energy Research Centre is not a pro-renewables group, it is a publicly funded, independent academic research consortium. Integrating wind and solar into power grids is a complex topic that requires a focus on credible sources using power system models. Yet Jonathan Ford (“Reforms needed to balance hidden costs of renewable power”, Inside Business, August 21) implies equivalence between our peer-reviewed, systematic review of the engineering and economic literature and an unpublished paper that attempts its own assessments. The range of cost estimates associated with integrating renewables is wide. It will depend on climatic and demand-side conditions, system size and flexibility – factors largely outside the control of renewables generators, one reason renewables are offered fixed-price contracts in most countries. It may be appropriate to rethink market design for systems with a large amount of renewables. It is important to ensure the system is flexible. But requiring renewable generators to self-balance in the way that Mr Ford suggests would create unnecessary costs and indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of both the physics and the economics of the electricity market. Energy policy needs to draw on independent and evidence-based analysis that attempts to present the facts clearly and explain where legitimate sources of controversy or uncertainty arise. It would be desirable if reporting on the topic did so too.
FT 24th Aug 2017 read more »