The world needs a one-off switch-over to renewable energy -- and this could be largely accomplished in just forty years time, slashing energy costs and greenhouse gases while allowing healthy economic growth, experts say.
The study estimates that 56% of primary energy demand will be covered by renewable energy sources by 2050 while energy efficiency potentials will have been largely exploited. As a result, primary energy demand will stabilize at 2060 levels.
By 2050, 80 percent of the world's electricity could be coming from renewable energy sources provided efforts are made, in parallel, to improve energy efficiency, according to a study by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). That means, the children of today might well grow up to experience a world where the energy they use comes almost entirely from the sun, wind, sea and biomass.
By 2090, the shift to renewable energy around the world could be almost 99 percent completed reducing pressure on the environment and laying the foundations for a new era of prosperity based on green energy.The Energy [R]evolution Report commissioned by Greenpeace International and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) also outlines a scenario that would see a fairer redistribution of the burden of cutting greenhouses around the globe. Under the DLR plan, America and Western Europe would decrease their high per capita energy use by switching over to renewable energy and introducing energy saving measures as soon as possible while countries such as China and India would initially slow down their increase in energy demand before starting the switch-over to green energy.
Technologies like dye-sensitive solar cells and thin-film photovoltaics are being developed rapidly and present a huge potential for cost reduction. Also, major innovations in geothermal and ocean wave technology can be expected as research in these areas increases in the future.
"Smart power" will improve the efficiency of buildings and transport, and the DLR predicts that the city centers of the future, for example, could be producing power and heat as well as consuming it. The buildings will have photovoltaic facades not only for energy production but also as an element of architectural design. Solar thermal collectors are set to produce hot water in the networked cities of tomorrow where energy comes from a variety of sources, large and small in scale.
In addition, the DLR predicts that the energy supply system of the future will move from the large and centralized one of today's world towards a much more decentralized one, based on a wide mix of energy sources. These will be tailored to the geography of a particular region to optimize its specific and unique potential.
According to the DLR, solar photovoltaics, followed by wind power, concentrated solar power and geothermal, have the highest potential for development from technologies currently available.
To study notes huge amounts of energy currently wasted from cooling towers could be harnessed for co-generation.
A further piece in the puzzle to create a world powered by renewable energy is to make the transport sector more efficient by switching over to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy sources and also by building up public transport system.Read the whole article