How to move to 100 percent renewables by 2030
Feb 13, 2011 - Andrew Restuccia
What would it take to switch the world’s entire
energy infrastructure to renewables like wind and
solar by 2030?
According to National Geographic, about 4 million
massive wind turbines, 90,000 solar plants and a
four-fold increase in production of a rare earth
metal that is a major component of key renewable
The magazine outlined the findings of new research
on the question of transitioning to an all-renewable
energy economy by 2030 as part of its energy policy
Mark Delucchi and Mark Jacobson, professors at the
University of California-Davis and Stanford University,
have developed a roadmap of sorts for moving away
from coal and oil.
The roadmap is largely theoretical; U.S. lawmakers
are struggling to pass legislation that would require
20 percent of the country’s electricity to
come from renewable sources, and efforts to pass
a broad climate bill have collapsed. But the team’s
research has provided one of the first pictures of
exactly what it might take to rely fully on renewable
Despite the hurdles, they say it’s possible. "Technically
you can do it. It really depends on will power,” Jacobson
told National Geographic.
But "will power," as Jacobson put it,
may prove tricky to find this year in the United
States. The report comes as Congress is struggling
to address a variety of important energy issues and
the renewable industry says it is struggling to grow
without consistent policies.
At the same time, U.S. lawmakers are growing increasingly
worried about the role China is playing in clean-energy
technology. The issue is expected to be a major topic
of discussion during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s
visit to the White House this week.
The article has been corrected to indicate that
the study focused on the entire world's energy infrastructure.