A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables

A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables

Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi, Scientific American

A plan to achieve 100% renewable energy in twenty years.

38 pages

Key Concepts
Supplies of wind and solar energy on accessible land dwarf the energy consumed by people around the globe.
The authors’ plan calls for 3.8 million large wind turbines, 90,000 solar plants, and numerous geothermal, tidal and rooftop photovoltaic installations worldwide.

The cost of generating and transmitting power would be less than the projected cost per kilowatt-hour for fossil-fuel and nuclear power.

Shortages of a few specialty materials, along with lack of political will, loom as the greatest obstacles.

In December leaders from around the world will meet in Copenhagen to try to agree on cutting back greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come. The most effective step to implement that goal would be a massive shift away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy sources. If leaders can have confidence that such a transformation is possible, they might commit to an historic agreement. We think they can.
(Nov 2009)


A large-scale wind, water, and solar energy system can reliably supply all of the world’s energy needs, with significant benefit to climate, air quality, water quality, ecological systems, and energy security, at reasonable cost. To accomplish this, we need about 4 million 5 MW wind turbines, 90,000 300-MW solar PV plus CSP power plants, 1.9 billion 3 kW solar PV rooftop systems, and lesser amounts of geothermal, tidal, wave, and hydroelectric plants and devices. The obstacles to realizing this are primarily social and political, not technological. As discussed above, a combination of feed-in tariffs and an intelligently expanded and re-organized transmission system may be necessary but not sufficient to enough ensure rapid deployment of WWS technologies. With sensible broad-based policies and social changes, it may be possible to

convert 25% of the current energy system to WWS in 10-15 years and 85% in 20-30 years. Absent that clear direction, the conversion will take longer, potentially 40-50 years.

See the Interactive Map:




~ by Cory Morningstar on November 9, 2009.

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