A 10 Trillion watt ‘Big Push’ to decarbonize the world’s electric power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is increasing interest in mapping out how the world can move to a low-carbon energy system. We take the water, wind and solar (WWS) program of Jacobson and Delucchi as our starting point and examine in detail the technology and resource commitments needed to implement a WWS strategy. We recharacterize the approach as one that sees the world making a 10 TW 'Big Push' between 2010 and 2030, culminating in a global electric power system rated at 11.5 TW, where additions are 100% renewable. Our specific proposals are for a global power system to be constructed by 2030 consisting of 3 million wind turbines rated at an average of 6.5 MW each, 12,500 solar PV installations rated at 400 MW each. 14,000 CSP installations rated at 400 MW each and 1000 hydroelectric installations rated at 1.3 GW each. This gives a theoretical capacity of 10 TW of extra power needed (and an installed capacity of just over 30 TW), all achieved through manufacturing. We sketch the land and physical resources required to reach such a goal and a plausible pathway by which this could be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-100
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of sustainable energy engineering
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • renewable energy
  • water wind and solar
  • logistic technological dynamics
  • land requirements

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