- The Energy Mix - https://www.theenergymix.com -

No Need for ‘Miracle Technologies’ to Rapidly Decarbonize Energy: Jacobson

Most of the world can switch to renewable energy without destabilizing power grids, at low cost, and relying almost entirely on existing technologies, according to a new Stanford University study.

With countries facing record-high fuel prices, energy blackmail from Russia, up to seven million deaths per year due to air pollution, and an endless parade of climate disasters, there’s no need for “miracle technologies” to put things right, writes Stanford civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Z. Jacobson, in a post for The Hill.

“By electrifying all energy sectors; producing electricity from clean, renewable sources; creating heat, cold, and hydrogen from such electricity; storing electricity, heat, cold and the hydrogen; expanding transmission; and shifting the time of some electricity use, we can create safe, cheap and reliable energy everywhere.”

Jacobson’s study covered the 145 countries that account for 99.7% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and relied solely on onshore and offshore wind, various solar technologies, geothermal, hydropower, small amounts of tidal and wave energy, and different forms of storage. The transition would cost about US$62 trillion, he says. With annual energy cost savings of $11 trillion, the investment would pay back in less than six years.

“The new system may also create over 28 million more long-term, full-time jobs than lost worldwide and require only about 0.53% of the world’s land for new energy, with most of this area being empty space between wind turbines on land that can be used for multiple purposes,” he writes. So a shift of this magnitude “may require less energy, cost less, and create more jobs than the current system.”

Notwithstanding the endless hype calling for new, exotic, often fossil-based energy technologies, Jacobson contends that a shift to renewables can dramatically reduce energy consumption. “Worldwide, the energy that people actually use goes down by over 56% with an all-electric system powered by clean, renewable sources,” he says. “The reduction is for five reasons: the efficiency of electric vehicles over combustion vehicles, the efficiency of electric heat pumps for air and water heating over combustion heaters, the efficiency of electrified industry, eliminating energy needed to obtain fossil fuels, as well as some efficiency improvements beyond what is expected.”

Overall, he says energy costs would fall 63% world-wide, and the social cost of energy would drop an astonishing 92% after factoring the health and climate costs in the current system.

Jacobson and his colleagues are calling for a complete transition by 2050, ideally by 2035, with 80% of the work complete by 2030.

3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "No Need for ‘Miracle Technologies’ to Rapidly Decarbonize Energy: Jacobson"

#1 Comment By Guy Hanchet On July 14, 2022 @ 11:25 AM

Thanks, Mitchell.
Energy Mix is filled with positive news today. You have helped to rekindle my hope which has been eroding. The examples of what is possible give credence to attempts to influence policy makers that change is possible. Keep it coming.

#2 Comment By Mitchell Beer On July 15, 2022 @ 9:23 AM

Thanks for that, Guy. The shift in content mix is deliberate, and I’m hoping to keep it up. TBH, we’ve been scrambling a bit to balance three things we’ve seen happening with climate news this year. There’s been yet another jump in the amount of material, the war has generated a cascade of new and mostly awful storylines, but the other challenge is that the positive news — which is also still speeding up — is getting more complicated. We’re really seeing the focus on climate solutions shifting from what we need to do (set that target, negotiate the details of that program) to *how* we get it done, which means so many stories that are only worth following if we can get down to a deeper level of detail. We’re still sorting out how best to handle that, but I’ve been realizing that while we overthink the details, we really need to get back to just amplifying more solutions stories!

#3 Pingback By Nuclear news in this Global Heating week | Nuclear Australia On July 18, 2022 @ 5:59 AM

[…] No need for miracle technologies to rapidly decarbonise energy […]