An excellent example of the drive for change is the elimination of the internal combustion engine and basing generation wholly on renewable energy sources. This revolution will take many decades to achieve and, over the past 20-30 years, the pace of sustainable energy research and development has been gathering pace. Solar power has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, as has wind, hydro, geo-thermal, and storage. Renewable energy is often hindered by the inconsistencies of power produced by wind, water and sunlight, and fluctuating demand for energy. There is also the critical issue of cost. New research by Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and colleagues at California University, Berkeley, and Aalborg University in Denmark, believe there are three broad ways of achieving consistent power. Mr Jacobson previously developed roadmaps for transitioning 139 countries to 100% renewable energy by 2050 with 80% of that transition completed by 2030. His current research is about identifying the best ways to keep the grid stable. Mr Jacobson said: “I can more confidently state that there is no technical or economic barrier to transitioning the entire world to 100% clean, renewable energy with a stable electric grid at low cost. “This would go a long way toward eliminating global warming and the 4-7million air pollution-related deaths that occur worldwide each year, while also providing energy security. “There are multiple solutions to the problem. This is important because the greatest barrier to the large-scale implementation of clean renewable energy is people’s perception that it’s too hard to keep the lights on with random wind and solar output.” At the heart of this study is the need to match renewable energy supply with what demand will be in 2050. To do this, they grouped 139 countries into 20 regions based on geographic proximity and some geopolitical concerns. Unlike the previous 139-country study, which matched energy supply with annual-average demand, the current work matches supply and demand in 30-second increments for 5 years (2050-54) to account for the variability in wind and solar power as well as the variability in demand over hours and seasons.
Energy Voice 2nd April 2018 read more »