A 100% Renewable Energy Future

A world of renewable energy has long been the goal for many in our industry. We are constantly working towards making that future a reality.

It may be closer than we thought.

A new article published in the journal Joule suggests that a 100% renewable energy future is possible for 139 countries around the world.

“The idea here is to electrify all energy sectors — transportation, heating, cooling, industry, agriculture, forestry, and fishing — and provide that electricity with 100 percent wind, water and solar power,” says Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and one of the authors of the report.

“We want [to see] 80 percent of it by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050. ... It is a challenge, but it’s very important to do,” he insists.

Larger countries have the capacity for plenty of solar and wind resources, and electrifying will reduce power demands via elimination of mining, transport, and fossil fuel refinery. About 13 percent of worldwide energy use is put towards this endeavor.

Jacobsen believes the US specifically will have a blend of solar and wind generation, including 4 percent hydroelectric. Wind energy will be two-thirds onshore, and solar will be divided to rooftops, photovoltaics, and “concentrated solar plants”, coupled with storage.

Saturn Power has recently expanded into the US market, with the commissioning of our first solar farm in Oregon, which will be joined by an additional solar project coming on-line in Q1 2018.

A common question Jacobson hears is, "Since the US has so much open space, why not create giant, concentrated solar arrays in the desert and enormous wind farms in the Midwest and create a centralized power system?"

“It’s always a trade-off between transmission and storage,” Jacobson says. “We have great resources in the Great Plains [for wind] and in the southwest US for solar, but you have to transmit it to the coasts or to other places in the south. ... Sometimes storage might be less expensive locally.”

Energy storage has been a big part of Saturn Power’s vision. We are currently wrapping up construction on Canada’s largest energy storage project in Stratford, Ontario, with another 25MWs of battery energy storage planned to begin construction in 2018.

To read the full article, please visit: https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-09-09/entirely-renewable-energy-future-possible-new-study-says