Changing our ways: Can we use completely clean energy in 40 years?

Photo by suicine |

Researchers at Stanford University have found a way to convert the world’s energy supply into clean and sustainable energy resources, ending the era of fossil fuels.

The research claims this can be done with technologies that are already available, however the transformation will be a huge mission requiring support from political leaders and our society. Not only will the switch help slow down global warming, but it will also save up to 3 million lives a year through air and water pollution reduction.

Even better, switching to renewable energy resources won’t cost anymore than what we are already paying for energy. The sources of sustainable energy that would be used to supply our earth with energy would be through solar, wind, and water energies that would supply the earth with 90% of the needed energy. The rest are to be supplied by geothermal, wave, tidal and hydroelectric energy. Cars, ships and trains would be powered by electricity and hydrogen fuel cells and airplanes would run on liquid hydrogen.

It is estimated that if we change now, by 2030 we will be able to have all our energy come from solar, wind and water energy. To get 100% of our energy from these renewable resources, the footprint of solar energy would be using 0.4% of the world’s land, and 0.6% of the world’s land would have to be used for wind turbines. Currently, only 1% of wind turbines needed for this plan are in place.

One of the problems that arise with using solar and wind energy is that the amount of sunlight and high winds are highly variable on a daily basis. Using hydroelectricity, geothermal or tidal waves to fill in the gaps when the amount of wind and solar energy are not enough can assist to overcome this. Furthermore, there is the issue of getting that energy to remote communities. This is why building a supergrid will be necessary for long distance transmission to dispersed sites.

This energy plan sounds too good to be true, and will be a struggle to implement. It is an excellent solution to all of our problems, but is this truly possibleTha amount of support we need from policy makers and politicians is massive. Do we really have what it takes in our society to make this transformation in the next 20-40 years?

I personally don’t hold hope for this project. This transformation requires others to understand that we are the cause of global warming, and although public knowledge of this is rising, more education is needed to make it reverberate through our homes.

Many government officials make claims about ‘more alarming evidence to support climate change’, even when we have enough. And until they are convinced, major shifts in our energy supplies will not occur.

I really do hope I am wrong though. I hope this issue and the presented solution will be made more aware to the public through news and education, and that we can start using 100% renewable resources for our energy demands within the next 20 to 40 years.