by Robert Lyman, May 2016 in FriendsOfScience

A number of environmental groups in Canada and other countries have recently endorsed the “100% Clean and Renewable Wind, Water and Sunlight (WWS)” vision articulated in reports written by MarkJacobson, Mark Delucci and others. This vision seeks to eliminate the use of all fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) in the world by 2050. Jacobson, Delucci et. al. have published “all-sector energy roadmaps”in which they purport to show how each of 139 countries could attain the WWS goal. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the 100% goal is feasible.

While a range of renewable energy technologies (e.g. geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal, and wave energy) could play a role in the global transformation, the world foreseen in the WWS vision would be dominated by wind and solar energy. Of 53,535 gigawatts (GW) of new electrical energy generation sources to be built, onshore and offshore wind turbines would supply 19,000 GW (35.4%), solar photovoltaic (PV) plants would supply 17,100 GW (32%) and Concentrated Solar Power plants (CSP) would supply 14,700 GW (27.5%). This would cost $100 trillion, or $3,571 for every household on the planet.