How can growing energy demands be met safely and efficiently?


Short Overview

The world is in a race to make enough safe energy fast enough to meet the growing needs of an expanding and wealthier population. The UN secretary-general has set the goal for universal access to electricity by 2030, which is estimated to cost $50 billion per year. By 2050, the world needs to create enough electrical production capacity for an additional 3.5 billion people (1.3 billion who do not have access now, plus the 2.3 billion population growth). There is also the requirement to decommission aging nuclear power plants and to replace or retrofit fossil fuel plants. About 2.6 billion people still rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, and indoor air pollution causes nearly 2 million deaths annually. The new energy sources could well come from a combination of green renewable sources, energy efficiencies, and improved network distribution, storage sysems, and distributed generation. Engineering advances have cut the costs of renewable energy systems so that they are now matching of outperforming fossil fuels costs, particularly when accounting for externalities such as the costs of environmental damage and health. Although the majority of all new installed energy capacity now comes from renewables, the vast majority of base load electricity still comes from fossil carbon systems.


06 May 2017


Technology, Environment

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