From void into vision, from vision to mind, from mind into speech, from speech to the tribe, from the tribe into din.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Studying 100% Renewable Energy Studies

the war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it.
Diane di Prima, “Rant"

On the History and Future of 100% Renewable Energy Systems Research ( is a marvelous paper, a study of the peer-reviewed papers on 100% renewable energy systems from 1975 to date, a meta-study. It just might fire some imaginations and help us become realistic enough to demand the impossible, sooner rather than later.

"The main conclusion of the vast majority of 100% renewable energy systems studies is that such systems can power all energy in all regions of the world at low cost. As such, we do not need to rely on fossil fuels in the future. In the early 2020s, the consensus has increasingly become that solar PV and wind power will dominate the future energy system and new research increasingly shows that 100% renewable energy systems are not only feasible but also cost effective. This gives us the key to a sustainable civilization and the long-lasting prosperity of humankind."

The history of 100% renewable energy system analysis goes back to 1975 when the first study by Bent Sørensen was published in Science, using Denmark as a case study (

The next year, Amory Lovins published the second article on 100% renewables, for the United States, and became the first scholar to cite Sørensen (

In 1993, the Stockholm Environment Institute for Greenpeace International published a report on 100% RE for the target year 2100 ( with the intention of interesting the IPCC, IEA, IRENA and other energy and climate groups in the possibility. Unfortunately, these groups have begun to recognize the 100% RE goal only recently.

Three years later, Sørensen published the first global academic analysis of a 100% RE system for the target year 2050, 20 years after launching the field (

In 2004, Lund, Mathiesen, and Østergaard of Aalborg University develop the freeware energy system analysis tool EnergyPLAN, optimized for 100% RE system simulations (

Five years later, more than a decade after Sørensen’s first global paper, the second global 100% RE system analysis is published by Jacobson and Delucchi, their target year is 2030 (

In 2011, Denmark targets 100% renewables across all energy sectors by 2050 and now is aiming for more than 100% renewable power by 2027, Austria plans to be 100% renewable by 2030, and due to the present war in Ukraine, Germany has moved its target for 100% RE electricity up to 2035 from 2045 which I believe was their previous schedule.

At COP 22 in Marrakesh in 2016, 48 countries pledged 100% RE supply at least in the power sector, with more than 61 countries setting 100% RE targets, formally and informally.

As of 2021, there are 666 known peer-reviewed articles on 100% RE systems, 44 articles "discussing generic questions and 38 articles reviewing the field of 100% RE system analyses, totaling 739 articles known in the field. These articles do not include published reports in the field of 100% RE system analyses focused on non-scientific target audiences such as industry, policy makers and the general public.”

74% of all 100% RE studies are national or sub-national studies, 18% are regional and continental, only 8% are global.

The most affluent 3 billion are the most studied, the OECD and China: United States, Denmark, Germany, Australia, China, the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Italy, and Greece. Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia, where 5 billion people live, have yet to see many published studies.

In 2022, ten countries supply near or more than 100% of their electricity from renewables, mostly coming from hydropower: Albania, Bhutan, Congo, DR, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Iceland, Namibia, Nepal, Norway, Paraguay. Kenya, Scotland, Tajikistan, and Uruguay are in the 80-90% range.

100% renewable energy for electricity is a proven concept and 100% renewable energy for electricity plus everything else is a realistic goal, even, it seems, by 2030 if not earlier.


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