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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Study shows fossil fuels, nukes unnecessary to provide the world with energy

PhysOrg: New research has shown that it is possible and affordable for the world to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, if there is the political will to strive for this goal.

Achieving 100 percent renewable energy would mean the building of about four million 5 MW wind turbines, 1.7 billion 3 kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems, and around 90,000 300 MW solar power plants.

Mark Delucchi, one of the authors of the report, which was published in the journal Energy Policy, said the researchers had aimed to show enough renewable energy is available and could be harnessed to meet demand indefinitely by 2030.

Delucchi and colleague Mark Jacobson left all fossil fuel sources of energy out of their calculations and concentrated only on wind, solar, waves and geothermal sources. Fossil fuels currently provide over 80 percent of the world’s energy supply. They also left out biomass, currently the most widely used renewable energy source, because of concerns about pollution and land-use issues. Their calculations also left out nuclear power generation, which currently supplies around six percent of the world’s electricity.
I wasn’t extremely surprised that we could get by without fossil fuels. What got my attention was that nuclear power was left out of the equation as well. A lot of people have been trying to paint nuclear as a necessary evil, saying we’d have to use “clean” nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions. This study proves them wrong.

Turns out we can power the whole planet without using energy from an industry that produces what may be the most dangerous toxic waste known to humanity. Good to know.

[photo via Wikimedia Commons]

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