Carbon-Free Energy in 20-40 Years Laser Talk

Mark Jacobson, at Stanford University, and Mark Delucchi, at UC Davis, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals a plan for how to provide energy for the entire world by 2030 using only wind, water, and solar technology already available in 2009.

When they created this plan to meet the world’s energy demand in 20 years, they took into account that

  1. That the world adds approximately 1 billion people every 12 years and
  2. That emerging economies are looking to have our lifestyle, which requires greater energy needs.

Their report shows we can meet the entire world’s energy needs with renewable sources in 20 years, we can do it without nuclear, and we can do it for the same amount of money that we’d be spending on fossil fuel power anyway, even without including the significant environmental and health costs of using fossil fuels [1, 2, 3].

Additional talking points

Specifically, their plan calls for all NEW energy installations to be from renewables by 2030, and all power to be renewable by 2050. However, they do state that 100% renewable energy, transport, and infrastructure is possible by 2030 if there is a WWII -type ramp up to meet this goal.

Skeptic Claims and One-Liners

Carbon Fee Skeptic Claim: Renewable energy can’t compete with fossil fuels.
One-Liner: Peer-reviewed science indicates we can switch the entire world to renewables using 2009 technology in 20 years for the same long-term cost as sticking with fossil fuels.

Carbon Fee Skeptic Claim: Renewable energy is unreliable.
One-Liner: Wind and solar peak production at different times of the day, and integrating wind over long distances can deliver ~33% of their energy with the same reliability as baseload coal, oil, or gas power [1].

Carbon Fee Skeptic Claim: Renewables are too expensive.
One-Liner: Because of the need to refine oil and energy lost as heat when burning fossil fuels, renewables are more efficient, we need less of them, and we end up spending less money.

  1. Jacobson, M.Z., and M.A. Delucchi. “Providing all Global Energy with Wind, Water, and Solar Power, Part I: Technologies, Energy Resources, Quantities and Areas of Infrastructure, and Materials.” 2010. Energy Policy, 39, pp. 1154-1169 doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2010.11.040.
  2. Energy Policy, 39, pp. 1170-1190 doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2010.11.045.
  3. Scientific American