How 139 countries could be powered by 100 percent wind, water, and solar energy by 2050

Jacobson doubles down~ctm

From Eurekalert

Public Release: 23-Aug-2017

VIDEO: In this video, Mark Z. Jacobson explains the energy transition timeline for 139 countries to 100 percent wind, water, and solar for all purposes by 2050. view more

Credit: Jacobson et al./Joule 2017

The latest roadmap to a 100% renewable energy future from Stanford’s Mark Z. Jacobson and 26 colleagues is the most specific global vision yet, outlining infrastructure changes that 139 countries can make to be entirely powered by wind, water, and sunlight by 2050 after electrification of all energy sectors. Such a transition could mean less worldwide energy consumption due to the efficiency of clean, renewable electricity; a net increase of over 24 million long-term jobs; an annual decrease in 4-7 million air pollution deaths per year; stabilization of energy prices; and annual savings of over $20 trillion in health and climate costs. The work appears August 23 in the journal Joule, Cell Press’s new publication focused on sustainable energy.

The challenge of moving the world toward a low-carbon future in time to avoid exacerbating global warming and to create energy self-sufficient countries is one of the greatest of our time. The roadmaps developed by Jacobson’s group provide one possible endpoint. For each of the 139 nations, they assess the raw renewable energy resources available to each country, the number of wind, water, and solar energy generators needed to be 80% renewable by 2030 and 100% by 2050, how much land and rooftop area these power sources would require (only around 1% of total available, with most of this open space between wind turbines that can be used for multiple purposes), and how this approach would reduce energy demand and cost compared with a business-as-usual scenario.

“Both individuals and governments can lead this change. Policymakers don’t usually want to commit to doing something unless there is some reasonable science that can show it is possible, and that is what we are trying to do,” says Jacobson, director of Stanford University’s Atmosphere and Energy Program and co-founder of the Solutions Project, a U.S. non-profit educating the public and policymakers about a transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. “There are other scenarios. We are not saying that there is only one way we can do this, but having a scenario gives people direction.”

The analyses specifically examined each country’s electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, industrial, and agriculture/forestry/fishing sectors. Of the 139 countries–selected because they were countries for which data were publically available from the International Energy Agency and collectively emit over 99% of all carbon dioxide worldwide–the places the study showed that had a greater share of land per population (e.g., the United States, China, the European Union) are projected to have the easiest time making the transition to 100% wind, water, and solar. Another learning was that the most difficult places to transition may be highly populated, very small countries surrounded by lots of ocean, such as Singapore, which may require an investment in offshore solar to convert fully.

As a result of a transition, the roadmaps predict a number of collateral benefits. For example, by eliminating oil, gas, and uranium use, the energy associated with mining, transporting and refining these fuels is also eliminated, reducing international power demand by around 13%. Because electricity is more efficient than burning fossil fuels, demand should go down another 23%. The changes in infrastructure would also mean that countries wouldn’t need to depend on one another for fossil fuels, reducing the frequency of international conflict over energy. Finally, communities currently living in energy deserts would have access to abundant clean, renewable power.

“Aside from eliminating emissions and avoiding 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming and beginning the process of letting carbon dioxide drain from the Earth’s atmosphere, transitioning eliminates 4-7 million air pollution deaths each year and creates over 24 million long-term, full-time jobs by these plans,” Jacobson says. “What is different between this study and other studies that have proposed solutions is that we are trying to examine not only the climate benefits of reducing carbon but also the air pollution benefits, job benefits, and cost benefits”

The Joule paper is an expansion of 2015 roadmaps to transition each of the 50 United States to 100% clean, renewable energy (doi:10.1039/C5EE01283J) and an analysis of whether the electric grid can stay stable upon such a transition (doi: 10.1073/pnas.1510028112). Not only does this new study cover nearly the entire world, there are also improved calculations on the availability of rooftop solar energy, renewable energy resources, and jobs created versus lost.

The 100% clean, renewable energy goal has been criticized by some for focusing only on wind, water, and solar energy and excluding nuclear power, “clean coal,” and biofuels. However, the researchers intentionally exclude nuclear power because of its 10-19 years between planning and operation, its high cost, and the acknowledged meltdown, weapons proliferation, and waste risks. “Clean coal” and biofuels are neglected because they both cause heavy air pollution, which Jacobson and coworkers are trying to eliminate, and emit over 50 times more carbon per unit of energy than wind, water, or solar power.

The 100% wind, water, solar studies have also been questioned for depending on some technologies such as underground heat storage in rocks, which exists only in a few places, and the proposed use of electric and hydrogen fuel cell aircraft, which exist only in small planes at this time. Jacobson counters that underground heat storage is not required but certainly a viable option since it is similar to district heating, which provides 60% of Denmark’s heat. He also says that space shuttles and rockets have been propelled with hydrogen, and aircraft companies are now investing in electric airplanes. Wind, water, and solar can also face daily and seasonal fluctuation, making it possible that they could miss large demands for energy, but the new study refers to a new paper that suggests these stability concerns can be addressed in several ways.

These analyses have also been criticized for the massive investment it would take to move a country to the desired goal. Jacobson says that the overall cost to society (the energy, health, and climate cost) of the proposed system is one-fourth of that of the current fossil fuel system. In terms of upfront costs, most of these would be needed in any case to replace existing energy, and the rest is an investment that far more than pays itself off over time by nearly eliminating health and climate costs.

“It appears we can achieve the enormous social benefits of a zero-emission energy system at essentially no extra cost,” says co-author Mark Delucchi, a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Berkeley. “Our findings suggest that the benefits are so great that we should accelerate the transition to wind, water, and solar, as fast as possible, by retiring fossil-fuel systems early wherever we can.”

“This paper helps push forward a conversation within and between the scientific, policy, and business communities about how to envision and plan for a decarbonized economy,” writes Mark Dyson of Rocky Mountain Institute, in an accompanying preview of the paper. “The scientific community’s growing body of work on global low-carbon energy transition pathways provides robust evidence that such a transition can be accomplished, and a growing understanding of the specific levers that need to be pulled to do so. Jacobson et al.’s present study provides sharper focus on one scenario, and refines a set of priorities for near-term action to enable it.”

###

Joule, Jacobson et al.: “100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water, and Sunlight (WWS) All-Sector Energy Roadmaps for 139 Countries of the World” http://www.cell.com/joule/fulltext/S2542-4351(17)30012-0

Joule (@Joule_CP) published monthly by Cell Press, is a new home for outstanding and insightful research, analysis, and ideas addressing the need for more sustainable energy. A sister journal to Cell, Joule spans all scales of energy research, from fundamental laboratory research into energy conversion and storage up to impactful analysis at the global level. Visit: http://www.cell.com/joule. To receive Cell Press media alerts, contact press@cell.com.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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152 thoughts on “How 139 countries could be powered by 100 percent wind, water, and solar energy by 2050

    • easy and no new costs …

      “It appears we can achieve the enormous social benefits of a zero-emission energy system at essentially no extra cost”

    • And everyone will ride around on unicorns instead of driving. We’ll consume magic wafers made from good feelings and never harm a living plant, animal or microbe again in order to satisfy our evil hunger. We’ll float above the ground through meditative antigravity waves so as never to leave a footprint on virgin Mother Earth, and we’ll all be voluntarily reincarnated after 27 years as planet friendly garden gnomes. It’s all in my computer model. Please send money.

      • andrewpatullo,
        Thank you.
        Hugely appreciated.
        To where do I send all my earthly money and possessions?

        I will not need to live longer after this comes to pass.

        Auto
        {mods. /SARC] (SERIOUSLY so) like andrew’s comment, I suspect.

      • I always wondered when they were going to reduce yogic flying to practice. Perhaps we will soon see their patent application for the new technology. Or perhaps not.

    • Wind already is solar energy, and maybe even less efficient and lower energy density usage of solar energy than even bio-mass. At a KW / m^2 peak solar input, what is the on grid annual terajoules of electricity ENERGY per meter squared ??

      G

    • (1) Always, and I mean *always*, missing from these “studies” is how much the average household’s electricity bill will go up using these absurd scenarios. (2) Using the same logic as this paper, the “cost” of a a [major meteor strike, Super-volcano, airborne pandemic, …] means that we should shell out the xx trillion dollars immediately. Pure silliness, probably paid for by taxpayers.

  1. There is nothing wrong with dreaming I suppose. Except when your policies screw the poorest in society. People like the authors of this stuff are just a bunch of one eyed, over zealous, “insert expletive here”

    • Its not a dream, its a nightmare. At least from a grid operator’s perspective. How do you dispatch power when 100% of your generation is unschedulable?

      • I am not an electrical (or any other type of) engineer, but, would a direct current system be a possible work around?

      • I am not an electrical (or any other type of) engineer, but, would a direct current system be a possible work around?

        I am.

        No.

      • That is what ‘smart meters’ are for. As soon as everyone has one, the day and night price will be replaced with the 15 minute exchange rate.

        On sunny days around noon, the price will be €-0.05/kWh. On a foggy January day, the price will be €2.50/kWh.

      • What Leo said.

        Edison’s first power plants were DC, and the last DC service in NYC was shut down only in the last decade (2007). That said, if DC had been the better choice out of the box, we’d be using it today. Very high voltage DC is a good way to move power long distances, but the troubles start when you try to step down to common utilization voltages.

      • They ignore the fact that an all electric car world would quickly eliminate long distance driving, cutting down on cars, freedom of movement, and altering society big time. Energy usage will wind down to very low as they regulate all useful, common machines and appliances out of existence.

        Remember, even indoor plumbing is unsustainable according to the UN. All paved roads are unsustainable as well. Cars will be urban only and people discouraged from living outside the city. To live outside, you will be in a human settlement, cut off from others, surrounded by buffer and no-humans-allowed zones. Minimal electricity would be allowed. Even tools would be communally owned, to be checked out of the library as needed. We would not have anybody tinkering about in their spare time making useful things if tool use is monitored Can’t have that, can we?

      • I am curious how the grid deals with what happens on a regular basis in Wyoming: We have 5 mph winds until around 3 PM. A front crashes through. The wind goes from 5 mphh to 30 mph in 10 minutes, stays high for around 10 to 30 minutes and then drops to 5 mph. How does a power plant deal with zero to maximum to zero in less than 2 hours. The only answer I could come up with is the wind power really is terribly insignificant. Otherwise, disaster would occur. Can anyone explain how this is dealt with?

      • Very high voltage DC is a good way to move power long distances, but the troubles start when you try to step down to common utilization voltages.

        Not really. We have quite reliable and efficient power semiconductors these days. If we were starting from scratch DC might well be the winner today (no phase/frequency matching and the hassles of apparent vs. real power). But we’re not starting from scratch and AC is perfectly serviceable for our needs.

    • They’re already heavily invested in alchemy of the mind and perpetual ₑmotion machinations

    • I have a perpetual motion machine powered by alchemy, lots of papers are witness to it’s effectiveness
      …so send cash & a noball pi$$ prize…. then I can be like Al Gore.

      (actually it’s a toilet & senna pods, but don’t tell anyone (:-) )

  2. We can disregard the claims about lower death rates, etc – historically, such estimates by clean air people have been outrageously exaggerated, AND, even if one believes their claims, one has no need to adopt crappy renewable power generation to achieve them – nuclear power produces fewer emissions than all of the renewables and therefore their own arguments are actually in favor of nuclear power. They also make ridiculous claims about the (non-existent) problem of nuclear wastes,when in fact, those spent fuels are not wastes at all, but a source of a very large amount of ‘free” energy – much less costly than either solar or wind. And, believe it or not, but consumers are NOT going to be happy about those millions of “new jobs” that are required, unlesss they are performed by unpaid volunteers. The huge advantage of the revolutionary new molten salt reactors
    is that one need not create this massive grid structure required by this (technologically) rather silly approach, which requires enormous cooperation across many national boundaries. Every nation should control its own power grid and not be at the mercy of other nation’s actions.
    So we can easily see that renewables are not the future – India and China (and half a dozen Western companies) are rushing ahead with molten salt reactors, powered by Uranium or Thorium. And they will have been deployed for many decades before we reach the 2050 date specified by these victims of this massive renewable illusion.

  3. because electric cars will still be incredibly expensive and unreliable more people will be walking, which will cut energy demand by another 14%

      • They can’t be made from petrochemicals or animal skins, so wood and hemp will be hand hewn and woven into “bottomsiders”.

  4. “Policymakers don’t usually want to commit to doing something unless there is some reasonable science that can show it is possible”……..

    …..so we’ll make up one

    • “reasonable” is the cheat word. One can define “reasonable” as whatever one wants and get the desired outcome. Of course, that’s not how science really works, but details.

      • sustainable and renewable are the same. sustainable means whatever you want it to mean for whatever whatever purpose, like selling renewables. renewables is supposed to imply a reusable product, but none are. there is always a cost attached to unpredictable and expensive to build infrastructure, these costs are far higher than the fuel for so called non renewables.

        n

  5. A reduction in air pollution deaths by 4-7 million a year????
    That’s 10 to 20 times more than the number of people who die from air pollution, of all kinds, presently.

  6. PS: That’s assuming the green nut jobs will allow new dams to be built.
    In this country they are demanding that existing dams be torn down.

  7. I’m still waiting for the solar powered farming equipment that is fully able to replace existing equipment, people will still need to eat, after all. Is it nearly into mass production I wonder? How about mining equipment? Solar powered smelters maybe? Perhaps when all of these are available and proven sucesses, then maybe they can begin to think about powering the rest of society with solar, wind or other so called renewable energy.

    • The fact is, there will need to be at least one country allowed to still be industrialized and coal powered, which does nothing but build and replace these generating devices for the rest of the world.

      • Imagine how much influence such a country could have over the rest of the world. To offset the ability of such a country to rule everyone, other countries would then abandon their renewables to again become energy self sufficient and free.

  8. Other than it is not possible to run a modern economy on 100% renewables, little things like wind and clouds get in the way, none of this is possible without a HUGE amount of government intervention, rules, regulations and using, against their will, taxpayers’ money to pay subsidies. In other words cramming all this down the throats of us ignorant peons who they believe are incapable of knowing what is best for us. I have actually sat in meetings with technocrats developing new rules where “we the people” were discussed as if we had IQ’s under 60. The real “joke” was that those leading these discussions were often government attorneys who really had a dimmer view of those in the real world than the “scientists” in the room. Worse though is all of them believed they fully understood the science, even if it was no their field of expertise, and the impact of the regulations they were proposing better than anyone else. In the meetings I attended I always challenged their position and their understanding of the science involved. Sadly more than once someone in the room suggested making the data support the rule or making up data. Finally in one meeting when I questioned what the heck was going on I was told by the majority in the room that “we are responsible for passing regulation because they [the public] are not capable of functioning without government regulation.” This attitude was across more than one agency in our state and more than one federal department.

  9. Can it be done by out competing fossil fuels in the open market? If so it will happen on its own and there is no need for discussion. But if it requires massive takeover of my liberties and massive subsidies than it’s BS anyway. Manufactured problems to create a reason for government take over the socialist playbook.

    • Bob. Keep an eye on Hawaii. Economically developed and 4000 km from the nearest source of fossil fuels.. Not surprisingly, electric rates there are quite high there –0.30 USD/kwhr give or take. That’s pretty high for a place that hasn’t massively screwed up the energy marketplace with subsidies and worse.

      So, I expect Hawaii may be one of the first places where non-dispatchable renewable energy actually stands a chance to succeed on its merits (if any). I think it’ll be economically viable there long before it is on the mainland. I don’t think it’s viable today, so it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes to become competitive. (If it ever does).

      • When I was in the military and stationed in Hawaii there was a lawsuit over solar access. As I recall, a homeowner had put solar panels on his roof (federal subsidies were very high then). His neighbor then built a two story home next door blocking the sunlight from the roof of his home for much of the year. Unfortunately I was transferred and never knew the outcome of the suit.

  10. Stanford University used to be a good school – even when they had Professor Paul Ehrlich. Now they have Professor Mark Jacobson. Harvard has Professor Naomi Oreskes. We are close to a tipping point.

  11. “Such a transition could mean less worldwide energy consumption due to the efficiency of clean, renewable electricity …”

    Half right. It’d result in less worldwide energy consumption. But the reason would be because it is difficult to consume energy when none is available. There are a few countries with a combination of abundant rainfall, suitable topography, and limited populations that could probably get by. And a few more with handy volcanoes (Iceland, Costa Rica, etc) that could do OK so long as the magma holds out, but doesn’t become overly abundant. But 139 countries by 2050? Two chances — slim and none.

    At some point, cheap, abundant battery storage will likely become available. Could be as soon as 2050, but it’ll take a number of decades after it appears for everyone to transition. We’re gonna need a LOT of batteries. And there are some things — jet airaft, fire engines, emergency generators, weapons systems that may always be powered by liquid hydrocarbons.

    • energy consumption will drop because their policies will de-populate 1/3 of the planet … but thats ok its will just be the poor dieing …

    • “At some point, cheap, abundant battery storage will likely become available” we’ve been saying that for 50 years … just like fusion … always just around the corner …

      • When cheap (really cheap) battery storage becomes available, then MAYBE intermittent energy sources will be worthy of review. But until today, storing electrical energy in batteries and retrieving it in usable AC form costs more than simply generating it when needed.

        For this reason among several others, electrical energy which is generated when it is not needed has a negative value.

        As long as that remains true, then intermittent energy sources will necessarily wasteful of resources and expensive.

      • Excuse me Kaiser, but I was around 50-60 years ago and no one but a few nut cases was promising us fusion in the near future. They were telling us 60-80 years. Looks to me like they are a decade, maybe a bit, more behind schedule. … Assuming that magnetic containment can really be made to work for real world power plants. … Which seems by no means certain.

        Batteries really are getting better. If they weren’t Tesla’s vehicles would be lucky to make it more than a few kilometers before needing a charge. But batteries have a long way to go. And figuring out how far and how fast would be a major research project. I’m GUESSING — based on a few lines drawn on a virtual cocktail napkin — that in 30 years, they might be approaching cost and reliability levels that will give non-dispatchable renewable power sources reasonable life cycle costs.

        I’d love to hear from someone who actually knows something about this.

    • Storing electricity, in any form, introduces inefficiency: you lose energy in transmission from the source to the storage, more energy loss as the storage device loads up and then even more when you release the energy. And try locating the necessary transmission lines to do this, localities rise up in vehement protest to protect their viewshed or to prevent imagined ill-effects from high voltage lower lines.

      • Interesting that power lines are bad for the view and have ill-effects, but turbines are so beautiful and dazzling that no one could object to their presence and they have no ill-effects whatsoever, no matter what anyone says.

  12. Electric bicycling is extremely popular here in Holland where I am visiting. Perhaps a good alternative to car use provided you have the infra structure for bicycling. Would be difficult in South Africa: no cycling paths.

    • And electric bicycles need, what? Remind me. Darn, that again. Electricity, and to be charged up just when there is no electricity on the grid, along with all of the Teslas.

      • Jsuther,

        You are overlooking an obvious power source that does not require the grid and that is the E-bike itself. Most modern E-bikes can be modified such that with a tire stand and the the flip of a switch the bike motor becomes a generator. All that is required is someone to pedal it to restore the charge. The energy conversion rates are quite good with some users reporting up to 45 minutes of electric ride time for each hour of charge time. Some users have installed permanent charging stands with televisions and or computers for entertainment during charging and researchers are reporting that there are health benefits associated with the exercise of charging the bikes. When you add to all of this the benefit of free electric generation it is nothing but a win/win situation.

        /sarc

    • Not sure I want an electric bicycle when I have to drive 1800 miles across a good chunk of the United States in 29 hours.

  13. bye, bye cheap, reliable, assured energy, along with factories, glass, steel, plastics, schools, farms, primary resource exploitation of any kind (fishing, farming, forestry, mining, oil, gas: the backbone of most, developed societies) hospitals, Offices, restaurants, and well-paying jobs. Hello really, really high energy prices along with brownouts, blackouts, back to wood-burning, washing in cold water, filth, poverty, ill health, poor education (worse than even now). Welcome to a rigidly controlled regimented society (a la ‘1984’) with wage and price controls, energy rationing, food rationing and illiteracy and shorter lifespans. No medical research etc. etc. etc. True hardship for most of us, except for the few privileged elites. I am sure I missed a few things out.

  14. And not one engineer was taken away from other work for this study (80% there in 13 years, lol. Store the energy with hot rocks! Why can’t these guys stick to ‘strings’ and ‘dark matter’ and stop making fools of themselves?) There is a major conference for bats and birds at the same time to decide what can be done to get rid of deathstars (bat for windmill) and flashroasters (bird for solar) by 2025. One novel approach was to consider having billions of them at a time swoop down on the deathstars and flash smokers and hope the carnage would shock the Dumasses (humans in both bird and bat languages). Their press release was scoriating on the Dumasses’ claim of no deaths and health effects. Yeah, what about oil spills one flightless bird called out. OK, but at least they can clean you off with Dove!

  15. His US study was thoroughly discredited. Expanding to the world does not fix the creditability problem. It only shows he is delusional.

  16. Does Mr Mark Z. Jacobson practice what he preaches. Has he fully converted all of his life to ‘save the planet’ unreliable power sources? If not why should anyone follow this foolish notion.
    Lead by example Mr. Mark Z. Jacobson, or sit down and shut up!

  17. This putrid pile of excrement is indefensible, idiotic and proof that society is on a path of self destruction. As an engineer I read this and immediately begin to think how this would be possible assuming I even wanted to do it.

    First, we would have to completely revamp our energy grid. Second, we would need land. Since we cant just cover the deserts of Arizona and Nevada, or only build solar plants in the west, we would need to seize land in the east. Third, we would need to build the panels and then be prepared to build them over and over every ten years. This will require a lot of rare earth metals which we don’t have but China does……

    Can you imagine the graft and corruption that would go with this excrement? Or how unstable the grid would be? Even if we perfected battery technology, we would have to actually overbuild solar and wind just to allow for weather not cooperating.

    Come on, are you kidding me? These people know this isn’t possible. To produce drivel like this they must be one of two things; evil or stupid. I don’t think they are stupid.

    This is dystopian fantasy.

  18. Mark Z on Twitter responding to a multi-post critique by Bas van Ruijven @vruijven

    “Your clearly a climate denier, citing Pielke and discounting science as justification for policy”

    ==>Bas van Ruijven is Project Scientist II with the Integrated Assessment Modeling group of the Climate & Global Dynamics Division at NCAR

  19. One can spend hours tearing apart the ridiculous claims, some of which were pulled out of their butt; reminds me of the ‘social cost of carbon’.

    Another is the belief that so-called renewables would eliminate nuclear weapon proliferation. Such stupidity – actually, it is not stupidity; just the opposite, as they are using words to influence the public. Recall something to the effect – ‘whoever gets the lie out first’.

    • The USA will not benefit from economically collapsed nations across the world.

      This is in no ones interest save a few elites of the Robert Mugabe sort who would rather be king Rat on a dung heap that modestly affluent in a decent country.

  20. Third world countries that have no reliable electrical power benefit from intermittent solar sources.

    • Of course they can. If you’re living a quasi-stone age existence, a small solar panel, a few tired batteries, a couple of low voltage LEDs, and some sort of radio or TV can make a huge improvement in your quality of life. From what I read, cell phones are becoming ubiquitous in the third world. How can the folks there afford them? Beats me. But apparently they are managing somehow.

      • “Don K August 24, 2017 at 9:52 am

        From what I read, cell phones are becoming ubiquitous in the third world.”

        This is true. I have been to Africa several times and I am astounded by the number of people who have them and the houses they live in have a hole in the ground for a toilet. In Ethiopia in 2006, the then president banned texting. Worked for many years, the ban was eventually lifted. I think the then Govn’t realised mobile networks capture valuable information about people and what they are up to.

  21. Here’s an amusing quote from their attachment:

    BEV-HFCV hybrids dominate medium- and heavy-duty trucks and long-distance trains, ships, and aircraft. Of all commercial aircraft flight distances traveled worldwide, 53.9% are short- haul (<3 hours in duration, with a mean distance of 783 km) (Wilkerson et al., 2010). As such, approximately half the aircraft flights may be electrified with batteries. Whereas hydrogen fuel cells are already commercially available in passenger cars and buses, tractors, some boats, and other forms of transportation, they are just beginning to appear in aircraft. For example, a fourseat
    hydrogen fuel cell aircraft with a range of 1,500 km currently exists
    (Ridden, 2017). In addition, hydrogen combustion has been used to propel the Space Shuttle to space and in the Tupolev Tu-155 aircraft in 1988. As such, we believe hydrogen fuel cell-electric hybrid long distance aircraft technology can become mature by 2040, when we propose that they comprise all new long-distance aircraft. The accelerated adoption of such aircraft together with hybrid long-distance ships may require policy incentives and will require manufacturing and fueling infrastructure changes. [emphasis mine]

    http://www.cell.com/cms/attachment/2105210418/2081159077/mmc1.pdf

    Did people who watched 2001 a Space Odyssey think we’d have giant spinning space stations and moon bases by now? Did people who watched Lost in Space and the Jetsons think we’d have personal jet packs?

    • A number of groups are working towards hybrid electric (but probably not H2) aircraft on this time scale. See eg https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/2015_nasa_technology_roadmaps_ta_15_aeronautics.pdf

      Also full electric light aircraft are coming https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/08/electric-planes-have-viable-niche-applications-now.html

      Having said this the elephant in the room in this study is how to deal with the heavy duty cycle transport component (all modes). H2 isn’t the answer the way they talk (electricity -> H2 -> electricity is expensive and wastes as much as an ICE even putting aside the cost and energy used in storage). Perhaps to test their resolve we could introduce them to relatively low cost processes that take NG -> H2 and produces solid C as the byproduct :).

      In NZ starting from 80% renewable electricity with hydro as a balancing factor, and significant additional geothermal and good quality wind available and some useful biomass, most loads could could go renewable at reasonable cost on these timescales, apart from the large chunk of transport fuels required for heavy duty cycle transport.

    • “Did people who watched 2001 a Space Odyssey think we’d have giant spinning space stations and moon bases by now?”

      That was possible. We launched over 130 space shuttle flights during its lifetime. If we had put all 130 Space Shuttle External Tanks (ET) in orbit, that would have been enough building material to build a wheel-shape space station one mile in diameter, just like Arthur C. Clarke’s space station in the movie 2001. Spin it at one revolution per minute and it creates artificial gravity on the space station equivalent to the gravity on the surface of the Earth.

      But we didn’t orbit 130 ET’s. Instead, NASA threw every one of them away. This is called “lack of vision”. This is why we have to buy a ride on a Russian rocket to get our astronauts into orbit. We have had some real winners running NASA in the past. Goldin was the worst.

      Goldin is the one who thought small and bureaucratic, rather than big and innovative. He’s the one that chose the $100 billion space station design instead of the $10 billion one, that was just as capable as the higher priced one, and would only take two space shuttle launches to get everything in orbit, as compared to dozens of flights to get the equipment into space for the $100 billion option, along with taking a decade to get it finished.

      $10 billion and two shuttle launches versus $100 billion, 35 shuttle launches and a decade to construct. The choice seems like a no-brainer to me, but not to Goldin and he was the only one that counted.

      Goldin screwed our space program bigtime. We still haven’t gotten over it.

    • The Space Shuttle reference shows they have absolutely no clue about technology. A $40M liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen rocket engine plus all the associated plumbing is in no way related to anything they are talking about. They just looked up stuff on the internet with hydrogen in the name and threw it in there.

      I wouldn’t let these clueless people near anything more technological than a doorknob.

  22. I want to hear how they plan to operate a power grid based on a bazillion static inverters all hooked together.

    • You’re concerned about how they keep the frequency stable, Reasonable concern I reckon. I’d guess they’ll either superimpose a synchronizing signal on the grid or transmit it separately. Maybe a regional longwave transmitter?

  23. Fake engineering is worse than fake science.

    The idiots who produced the fake engineering study are ignoring the German example as to what is the absolute limit of the green scams, ignoring the cost issue.

    Germany has reached the engineering limit of the green scam madness. Energy storage is required to reduce CO2 emissions further (ignoring the energy input and CO2 input to construct the batteries) using the green scams.

    Germany has more than 100% green scam energy, maximum nameplate capacity Vs full Germany electric grid requirements.

    The problem is actual average energy green scam energy (wind and solar), in Germany, is 20% average, of the maximum nameplate rating.

    http://notrickszone.com/2015/02/04/germanys-energiewende-leading-to-suicide-by-cannibalism-huge-oversupply-risks-destabilization/#sthash.8tE9YRDj.PSllYaQF.dpbs

    The coming age of power cannibalism…Germany on the verge of committing energy suicide

    Yet Germany has a unique peculiarity: its leaders sometimes exhibit a stunning inability to recognize when the time has come to abandon a lost cause. So far €500 billion (William: €500 billion is $750 billion US) has already been invested in the “Energiewende”, which is clearly emerging as a failure. Yet all political parties continue to throw their full weight behind the policy rather than admitting it is a failure (which would be tantamount to political suicide).

    Instead, the current government coalition has even decided to shift into an even higher gear on the path to achieving its objective of generating 80% of German electric power from “renewable” sources by 2050.

    If the situation is practically unmanageable now with 25% renewable energy (William: Note that the Germans are receiving 25% of their electrical power from green scams, the actual carbon reduction is only 15% to 25% due to requirement to turn on/off/on/off single cycle natural gas power plants rather than to run combine cycle more efficient power plants (20% more efficient which explains why actual CO2 emission reduction is less than 20% not 25% which is CAGW lie.) that take 10 hours to start and that are hence left on for weeks), it’ll be an uncontrollable disaster when (if) it reaches 80%.

    http://www.cfact.org/2014/12/16/germanys-energy-transformation-unsustainable-subsidies-and-an-unstable-system/

    Marita Noon: Germany’s “energy transformation:” unsustainable subsidies and an unstable system
    A few months ago, Bloomberg reported that, due to increased coal consumption: “Germany’s emissions rose even as its production of intermittent wind and solar power climbed fivefold in the past decade”—hence Merkel’s potential embarrassment on the global stage where she’s put herself in the spotlight as , aa leader in reducing emissions

    • Merkel is about as willing to give up on a dumb idea as that other guy who lead Germany a few years back.

    • Politically, how can one not be for “Saving the World”? It’s political suicide not to be on the side of “Saving the World.

  24. Hydrogen powered aircraft? While technically possible it the economics are not viable. Firstly the plane would have to carry liquid hydrogen (-423 °F) at cryogenic conditions to even be in consideration. But, LH2 (liquid hydrogen) only has 25% the energy capacity that JP (jet propulsion) fuel has. That would mean that the fuel capacity for equivalent range would necessarily need to be at a minimum 4 times larger. This would require that either the plane carries less payload (cargo, passengers) for the same range or that the fuel tanks would need to grow enormously. If the tanks grow then the drag losses go up and the tanks need to grow even larger to achieve the range. In most aircraft the fuel is carried in the wings for two reasons. Firstly because it is mostly otherwise unused volume, but more importantly it provides inertial load alleviation for the wing structure. If most of the mass of the vehicle were in the fuselage the bending loads across the carry-through spars is huge and would need heavier wing structure. By locating a good part of the mass in the wings these loads are better distributed. LH2 is not a good candidate for this. Its density is too low. Balsa wood will sink in LH2. Don’t forget to pile on top of this all the cryogenic insulation necessary to fly this fuel for extended periods (13+ hrs trans-oceanic flight times). The 747-800 needs about 650,000 lbs of JP for transpacific flights which converts to about 13,230 cubic feet of tankage. An equivalent tank size would be about 53,000 cubic feet of LH2. That would create a fuel tank the size of the one used to launch the Space Shuttle. And, that’s just the fuel. Where will the cargo go?

    As I have said before any scientist can calculate a number, but it takes an engineer to show you how big a crap load that really is.

    Rocket science is easy…Rocket engineering is a bitch!

    • It sounds like they are envisioning prop aircraft powered by fuel cells rather than jet aircraft. Sure … maybe … I think their point is that if you’re only going from NYC to Washington, DC, or London to Paris, the ground delays are so long compared to the time in the air, that a slightly longer time in the air won’t matter much. Could have a point. Now Miami to Singapore — that’s likely going to take a while without JP4.

      • What powers the propellers? Piston engines? Turbojets? Surely you cannot be suggesting eclectic motors?
        The fuel energy density does not change. You’ll still need 4 times the volume of CRYOGENICALLY stored fuel.
        We will need to be constantly de-icing the wings during flight.

        I expect cartoons of these on the cover of such prestigious engineering journals as Popular Mechanics. [sarc]

      • Sorry should read “electric” motors.
        BTW while “delayed on the ground” are these vehicles connected to cart power of onboard APU (Aux. Power Units)? How about taxiing about? Really long extension cords or traveling ground carts?
        Hey, maybe we can have the airplanes deploy overhead pantograph arms riding on overhead catenaries to taxi about and takeoff.

      • You might want to do a bit of research. Hydrogen Fuel cells have much higher energy density than batteries. Hydrogen fuel cells and Hydrogen ICEs have actually been used in some full scale prototype aircraft that get off the ground and fly reasonable distances at reasonable altitudes

        Moreover, while the volumetric energy density of Hydrogen is low compared to hydrocarbon fuel, the stuff is not very heavy so the weight of the fuel is not dramatically different than hydrocarbons for the same amount of energy. For a variety of reasons, a serious Hydrogen fuel cell passenger aircraft would likely be kind of slow and pokey, but otherwise not too much different than a modern passenger jet.

        All a bit iffy. You won’t see any hydrogen powered airliner loading passengers at your local airport today. Not today. And not any time soon. Maybe not ever. But it’s not impossible one could be built that would work acceptably. At least for short haul. if anyone cared to build one.

      • I do this stuff every day. I work for a large aerospace company that contracts out to NASA and the military. I am also quite familiar with fuel cell technology as I was a lead engineer for a hybrid bus program that ran ICE on CNG. We investigated fuel cell technology and quickly realized it wasn’t feasible due to the large sizes of designs that used CNG or even gaseous H2. I have also designed numerous launch vehicles using both LOX/LH2 and LOX/RP, so I am rather familiar with the volumes involved.
        Small general aviation vehicles have been flown with limited range and success using H2 as fuel. These are a far cry away from viable commercial transports, or even commercially producible general aviation aircraft. Yes the LH2 fuel is light about 4.3 lbs/ft3 as I recall, and JP is about 50 lbs/ft3. With LH2 (even worse for gaseous H2) the weight issue is in the tankage needed to enclose it. The size of the tanks are huge and pressures involved require significant thicknesses. While composite tanks have some merit, the leakage through the tank wall is still an issue.

      • “rocketscientist August 24, 2017 at 10:41 am

        What powers the propellers? Piston engines? Turbojets? Surely you cannot be suggesting eclectic motors?”

        In a discussion a few years back someone who suggested that the propellers would be powered by electric motors and mounted as you would find in a conventional engine/prop/wing design. But then came the clever bit. There would be batteries on board, further reducing carrying capacity and range, but also wind turbines mounted on the wings using the forward motion of the aircraft to turn the turbines to power the electric motors and charge the batteries. I believe this person was being serious.

    • Talking about engineering such a travesty, would you be willing to complete a Failure Modes Effects and Analysis for an airplane filled with LH2. The LH2 would have to be pressurized. H2 is flammable at concentrations as low as 4%.

      One Leak. In a vehicle that is supposed to have reliability over multiple cycles between servicing. One Leak.

      I sure as %^&*^%& would not fly in that!!!!

  25. Every day there are about 100,000 commercial airline flights worldwide (IIRC). That is going to be accomplished with renewables????????

  26. A most chilling statement: “beginning the process of letting carbon dioxide drain from the Earth’s atmosphere,….” …..and killing all life on the planet!

  27. This is exactly why Donald Trump is LEADING the USA out of idiocracy level enviro-loon land. If 139 stupid countries want to doom their poor people by insisting on pipe dreams and unicorn farts, then, quite literally, less power to them.

  28. Well if it’s so easy, let him do it first. Start with his home, then attempt to get his place of business converted.

    But I don’t want to see fossil backups. That’s cheating!

    • He must have no power lines from the grid going into the house, etc, and no backup generators of any kind or it does not count.

  29. Leaving those hydrocarbons in the ground means you will also have to leave all those modern tech gadgets in the ground. What fun!

  30. Total electrical energy used in 2014 to produce 53 million metric tons of new aluminum: 690 TWh. It takes roughly 13 MWh to make a metric ton of aluminum.

    Total electrical energy produced in 2012 from renewable sources (wind, solar, geothermal): 690 TWh.

    Total electrical energy projected for 2020 from wind, solar, geothermal: 1,900 TWh — projecting large growth in wind and solar.

    The electrical data is from here.

    I won’t believe 139 countries can go 100% renewable until they can make it work in the ideal case — say Bonaire — reliable wind 90+% of the time and no heavy manufacturing. Lots of hype going back to 2010 on their renewable power future and still using about 67% diesel power.

    • The proposed solution would still need copper to carry all of those electrons around. I wonder how many batteries would be needed for one of these copper mine trucks?

      Another market for Mush?

  31. Proponents / defenders of wind/solar energy often cite the statistic that electricity bills are smaller in Germany 🇩🇪 than in USA 🇺🇸. This is not really true and it ignores the fact that dwellings on average are 2.5 times bigger (floor space) in the US than in Germany.
    It would be better to talk about the average price per year of electricity per m2 of floor space. This statistic gives the following values:
    Germany: 16.96 US dollars
    USA: 5.48 US dollars
    Here are the raw data numbers.
    In Germany the average electricity cost per residence per year is 1450 euros or 1696 US dollars.
    Source:
    https://tranio.com/germany/maintenance/
    The average area of dwellings in Germany was
    89.9 m2 in 2006.
    Source:
    https://www.bmwfw.gv.at/Wirtschaftspolitik/Wohnungspolitik/Documents/housing_statistics_in_the_european_union_2010.pdf
    However since this was a decade ago we will generously assume that today the average is a round 100 m2.
    Thus in Germany the annual electricity per m2 dwelling is 14.5 euro or 16.96 usd.
    Meanwhile in the USA, the average cost per month for electricity per month it is on average 114.09 usd, or an annual 1369 usd.
    Source:
    https://smartasset.com/personal-finance/how-much-is-the-average-electric-bill
    Dwellings are much larger in the US than in Germany or Europe as a whole. The average dwelling in the USA has floor area of 2687 square feet, or 249.6 m2.
    Source:
    https://www.fatherly.com/love-and-money/family-finance/average-size-houses-us/
    Thus in the US the annual electricity price per m2 of dwelling is 5.48 usd.
    Note finally that in Germany it is much more common for people to live in apartments within large multi-storey apartment blocks, than in the US. This is especially so in the formerly communist east Germany. According to the report below, at German reunification in 1992, the average dwelling floor areas were in west and east Germany was 82.7 and 64.5 m2, respectively.
    Source:
    http://countrystudies.us/germany/93.htm
    In 1992 united Germany had approximately 34.5 million dwellings with 149 million rooms, for a total of 2.8 billion square meters of living space. Dwellings in the west were larger than those in the east. In 1992 dwellings in the old Länder had an average floor space of 82.7 square meters for an average of 35.1 square meters per person, compared with 64.5 square meters and an average of 29.0 square meters per person in the new Länder.

  32. I’d like to invite Dr. Jacobson to come live in my shed in my back yard. In January. I will provide him with both wind and solar power to the extent he would recommend for an 8×10 shed. I’ll ask him to live there for a month. I’ll even provide an ample supply of food, free of charge for the entire month.

    I’m guessing he won’t need much food after the first four days.

    If we have no wind he’ll have to rely on solar. Solar will have to rely on less than 8 hours of daylight, assuming it’s not cloudy and snowing that day and even on a bright, sunny day the intensity is sufficiently low that it really won’t matter.

    Very, very tired of California based scientists and activists making all sorts of asinine claims like these or 100 mile diets or what have you.

    More idiocy from those that can’t do hard subjects like math and engineering. Reality? What dat?

  33. The worldwide economic disaster that will follow the attempted implementation of Jacobson’s plan will rival the 1930’s depression era. It will also lead to wars or a world war. Decarbonisation plans by the green zealots are setting the stage for catastrophe in which millions of people will – ironically – be carbonised.

  34. After thousands of years, the horse was replaced by the automobile, virtually overnight. If it was truly better, it wouldn’t need the govt. to force it into being.

    • In fact, the government’s involvement usually ran toward attempts to slow down or even stop the conversion to, or even introduction of, automobiles.

  35. That means 139 countries blighted by revolting eyesores that make pylons look like little toys. Why can we not at least have the claims of climate scientists examined by a properly organised quality control group. Peer review is fine for something irrelevant as pure science where all that matters is the other scientists’ opinion for prestige purposes.
    When it becomes a policy driver is is no longer science it is engineering so only engineers should be considered peers and the scientists merely supplicants for approval to be granted only extremely grudgingly after passing a severe test..

  36. By 2050 and no extra cost. Wow. Someone show him rising energy prices in countries makimg the switch now.

  37. Funny.

    The Rats that do not want to be quick marched into the Rat barrel are trying to publicly keep exposing the dirtiest final scheme of total international dominance of the civilization by the absolute power obsessed network.

    These guys trying a get free and rebel nicely against such network, because such as guys never after or obsessed with power or absolute power, only in to the game for wealth and money…..and definitely do not want to be in the crossfire.

    What explained in this article has no chance anymore to happen, but many have being involved with such scheming and want to break free, before too late……by keep nicely exposing such dirty schemes.

    it seems to be played only as means of a break free “jail” card…….before too late.

    What explained in this article is a final scheme of dominance, slavery, hijacking and hostage keeping of a considerable amount of nations in the end of the day through total control over their energy sectors and energy systems of such nations.
    While in the same time freedom and democracy would only be a freak show for such as nations, allowing this dark network to force even further it’s power over global politics and global economics and control of global structures………

    I can’t see how it will ever going a happen now…….it is basted already.

    I know this seems a bit like too much from this angle, but that how it looks from my position.

    Pilot schemes like this already applied, for not saying that in some cases such schemes already in full application already.

    But still no anywhere good enough to make it……

    I have no doubt that info about this and it’s implication is already addressed by agencies like CIA and NSA.

    Anyway, I just trying to offer just another point of view in this aspect…..

    cheers

  38. Another learning was that the most difficult places to transition may be highly populated, very small countries surrounded by lots of ocean, such as Singapore, which may require an investment in offshore solar to convert fully.

    Singapore, the largest transshipment port in the world, is going to install offshore solar? Where?

    What is this air pollution computer modeler smoking?

  39. You don’t have to increase supply, you can cut demand. Killing 7.9 billion people will make wind power quite viable.

  40. Here’s a plan…let everyone else convert to all these other sources of energy and the US can maintain a high standard of living using fossil fuels. Everybody wins.

  41. “Aside from… beginning the process of letting carbon dioxide drain from the Earth’s atmosphere.”

    The Holy Church of Climate Change and its prophet the Blessed Al Gore has vouchsafed us many an inconvenient truth. Here, however, is the real inconvenient truth: we live in a carbon dioxide-impoverished atmosphere. We need more CO2, not less, as any commercial greenhouse operator will tell you.

    Do these people live on the same planet as us?

  42. Now for some real science.
    Bones have recently been discovered on the moon.

    The cow didn’t make it.

  43. With an expected useful life span of 20-25 years, by 2050 we would need to be thinking about replacing all of the wind generators for the second time. With the proposed increase in the numbers of these generators (from virtually nothing currently to 37%+ in 2050), that’s a lot of steel and concrete manufacture (energy intensive) plus rare earth mining (extremely dirty and polluting using China as an example).

    Will they remove all of the old towers or use up more land than currently proposed?

  44. A useful rule of thumb for those proposing the route to utopia is to stop at the first weasel word.

    Quote: Such a transition could mean less worldwide energy consumption due to the efficiency of clean, renewable electricity; a net increase of over 24 million long-term jobs; an annual decrease in 4-7 million air pollution deaths per year; stabilization of energy prices; and annual savings of over $20 trillion in health and climate costs

    Ah, there it is “could”. What to do? Suspend disbelief and read on? Or as some have suggested, invite the authors (all 20 of them) to themselves proceed to utopia and come back and report on their experiences afterward.

    Just as an aside I was thrilled to see all of this “could” happen in around 30 years but disappointed that nuclear power could not possibly be part of the solution because among other things it takes 10 to 20 years from planning to completion.

  45. There is no real evidence that CO2 has any affect on climate and plenty of sceintific rational to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is really zero.

    I want it all now. I want a solar energy system installed on my roof that will charge up an electric car and will include enough batter power so that I can get off the grid. I want some foreign power to pay for it all because I cannot afford to but I also must insist that anything installed on by property belongs to me free and clear.

  46. Jacobson is obviously assuming the populations of First World countries would gladly submit to a much lower standard of living to achieve his dream. I wish a country like the UK or Germany would wholeheartedly embrace his concepts, thus ruining its economy so the remainder of the world could see the foolishness of people like Jacobson.

  47. What a load of academic polywaffle!!!!
    Completely unsubstantiated with engineering calculations.
    The main thing missing here, the elephant in the room is what is proposed for back up.
    The Danish low quality space heating example is just misplaced nonsense! The cost of backup has to be assigned these academic schemes on costs as we know them today….not on the basis of some mythical future solution.
    So the entire system as proposed still required 100% backup from nuclear or fossil fuels.

  48. Without massive investments in grid storage or integrated storage in wind farms and solar farms you would not get this result. Grid storage is not environmental impact free: more big dams, big hydrogen tanks or big battery warehouses. The greens oppose any dams or giant gasometers.
    Some of it will work: battery cars will double in range soon when someone makes a lithium + metal air battery pack.
    His car fuel numbers are for pure IC not hybrids.
    He has completely left out bio-fuels. Three things are disallowed in that field.
    1. Biomethanol to hydrocarbons: an available technology that can’t get licencing even for testing.
    2. Small on farm automated ethanol plants so the high protein by products, wet distillers grains, can go straight to the cow or pig in the adjacent paddock or pen. G. W. Bush allowed that in his last year but Obama reversed that allowance days after starting work. Why?!
    3. No one has made an ethanol or wood gas hybrid. A hybrid drive train would negate the limits of both. Why not?!
    I’m trained in the field. There are solutions the IPCC does not want to discuss or try. Why?
    There is no law of physics that says it is impossible to meet either the target he sets if you have large investments in storage. You could even meet the business as usual target eventually with the technology emerging. Nano technology ultra capacitors have been 3D printed in the lab so has sodium batteries.
    There are a lot of economic laws and red tape in the way.

  49. “powered by wind, water, and sunlight”

    The part that makes this theoretically possible is “water”. But just try building a dam for hydro power these days. And you have to pick your 139 countries carefully.

  50. Why do they talk about “24 million new jobs” as if it was a good thing? It’s a catastrophe because those jobs are not producing more electricity but are simply required to keep us where we are now.

    We can get 24 million new jobs at any point we want. Ban all tractors and that’s millions of new jobs from day one. We need productivity. Not jobs.

    24 million workers costs a trillion dollars a year @ 42 k$ per worker.

  51. I will stop laughing at posts such as this when I see a wind farm and a solar farm produced from scratch and installed using only wind and solar power.

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