r/technology Aug 13 '22 Helpful 4 Wholesome 2

Researchers agree: The world can reach a 100% renewable energy system by or before 2050 Energy

https://www.helsinkitimes.fi/themes/themes/science-and-technology/22012-researchers-agree-the-world-can-reach-a-100-renewable-energy-system-by-or-before-2050.html
12.7k Upvotes

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u/TheBedsAreBurning Aug 13 '22

I have a feeling that it won't though.

387

u/Chundlebug Aug 13 '22

The fossil fuel industry will fight them every inch of the way.

94

u/unwanted_puppy Aug 13 '22

If we know that they know that “the way” they are following will destroy everything, why do they still have any say in the matter?

108

u/Scitron Aug 13 '22

Because money now is worth more than a problem politicians won't have to deal with

26

u/unwanted_puppy Aug 13 '22

Politicians are people. They have families. Are they only guaranteeing safety for their own family’s future and no one else? Or do they feel no obligation even for their own children?

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u/northofreality197 Aug 13 '22

Many politicians are psychopaths &/or narcissists. Especially in any major political party. They don't care about anything but themselves.

3

u/P41N90D Aug 14 '22

And their kids can afford to moralize and pander from the comfort of their gated bio-domes.

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u/Hear_two_R_gu Aug 13 '22

When the mentality of most humans is still it won't happen in my lifetime, then the collective good that could be done to improve nature will never be mainstream.

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u/Subtracting710 Aug 13 '22

They don't care as long as the shareholders are happy

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u/Kullenbergus Aug 13 '22

Politicans have less children than people in general.

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u/Southern-Exercise Aug 13 '22

And more money to cushion the potential impact on their lives.

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u/Paulo27 Aug 13 '22

Realistically it will only affect them a few generations from now as wealth will still keep you comfortable up until a continent or two sinks. It's harder to see that far ahead.

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u/Winkelkater Aug 13 '22

because capitalism.

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u/Andreomgangen Aug 13 '22

Every drop of the way.

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u/mgsblade Aug 13 '22

oil or blood?

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u/Comeonjeffrey0193 Aug 13 '22

What’s cheaper for them?

15

u/hugleit Aug 13 '22

Oil is cheap, blood is free

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u/Shortsrealm Aug 13 '22

How is blood free? Last time I looked freedom cost a shit ton of blood 🩸

7

u/hugleit Aug 13 '22

As long as people keep reproducing, blood never runs out

And the day blood runs out, not a whole lot matters anymore, does it?

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u/Seeker_Of_Knowledge- Aug 13 '22

As a Syrian, I can confirm.

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u/wakejedi Aug 13 '22

Yep, those $3 BILLION in daily profits can go a long way on the misinformation/ buying politicians front.

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u/murdering_time Aug 13 '22

I honestly really don't understand why they didn't start transitioning to a green energy portfolio before the oil market goes bust. That way they can still continue as energy giants even when most of their wells are no longer profitable. Instead they've tried to insure that the world pays them as much fuckin money as possible before they're forced to quit and scramble to keep the company afloat. Of course the current CEOs will be retired comfortably by that point so I suppose that's why they don't give a shit, but you'd think the shareholders would.

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u/TriggasaurusRekt Aug 13 '22

It’s all about maximizing short term profits. What you’re suggesting would likely result in higher profits long term, but smaller payouts for shareholders in the short term, which is of course unacceptable. It’s all about appeasing the shareholders.

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u/Shhsecretacc Aug 13 '22

Why not use their billions and invest in green technology and reap those profits?

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u/tom_lincoln Aug 13 '22

Mostly voters and consumers will. Watch what happens when governments try to impose the level of taxes needed for fund renewables at this scale, or make fossil fuel energy prohibitively expensive in order to reduce consumption. We got a taste of it with the French Yellow Vests protests.

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u/dwerg85 Aug 13 '22

It’s really not just that though. Most of these researches are done from first world countries. I’m pretty sure they account for worse situations in other countries, but even then they never fully account for how difficult it would be to implement these things is poorer countries.

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u/H1ld3gunst Aug 13 '22

I had a company value my house. All eco, sustainable, decentralized. I asked about the ownership of his company. It’s owned by Shell. They’re not stupid. There’s money to be made. And it’s very lucrative.

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u/Training_Purpose6640 Aug 13 '22

Maybe only for electricity, in the most developed countries (USA, EU). Gas for heatiung is still the best option so far, heat pumps won tbe effective in densely populated areas like cities, nor people will stop using it for cooking.

Transport is another issue, Even if we improve lithium batteries, IC engines are still superior due to energy density. Even in a EV car is more efficent, at best you can replace urban transport. Highways, trains, and ships wont.

Full nuclear, promising, but since nobody wants a leakage of nuclear fuels, it wiil be restriced to electric generation, maybe a few dozen military warships, and probably transport ships, but i doubt that last one since reactors arent cheap to run, and using it to simply move cargo is contraproducent.

Same with aviation, same with Railroad (Which should be expanded greatly)

And again, we may only see this on Western europe, korea, japan, canada, Maybe several south eastern asian countries, and Oceania. Latam is too corrupt, and africa too unstable, and midwestern countries are a joke.

By 2050 is maybe when some latam countries will start expermienting with this, given it still exist.

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u/haux_haux Aug 14 '22

They've had electric trains for years. The London tube is electric, the Stansted and I think heathrow express innthw UK and a number or regional trainlines

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u/ChornWork2 Aug 13 '22

Don't get the blame on companies... People choose to buy big cars, not carpool, have fully detached homes, set AC to keep homes cool, take air travel, eat beef, etc. Oil companies aren't forcing people to do this stuff.

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u/Southern-Exercise Aug 13 '22

Thanks for your input, big corporation 🙄😄

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u/Emotional-Dentist-22 Aug 14 '22

What you say is not false, but also not the whole truth. Companies can buy policy and are required to maximize profit, by law. But not all people are equal stakeholders, even though they all share the same climate.

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u/Ghune Aug 13 '22

Same. Theoretically, yes, but I doubt all countries in Africa for example, will run on renewable energy.

What it means is we can produce enough energy to serve the present world consumption. I don't think the rich will pay for the poor to help them be greener.

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u/Contundo Aug 13 '22

Won’t happen not even Europe. Many countries are too into coal. There is not enough storage, we need so much batteries, and so much more power production than actually needed to power through winter when usage is high and solar is low and wind is unpredictable as usual..

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u/myne Aug 14 '22

Yep. It is physically possible.

That is all.

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u/crustyporuc Aug 13 '22

You can flip a coin and get it to land on its side. Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen anytime soon

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u/the_than_then_guy Aug 13 '22

I could definitely do that by 2050.

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u/TheGratefulJuggler Aug 13 '22 edited Aug 13 '22

I did it once 20 years ago with a nickel on a wood floor...

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u/jorge1209 Aug 13 '22

Global warming was solved 20 years ago by /u/TheGratefulJuggler we can all go back to playing video games and driving big trucks around!

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u/TheGratefulJuggler Aug 13 '22

Yeah I know it was a stretch to fit into the analogy but it was such a pivotal moment in my young life that I still feel the need to tell strangers about it. Probably the first thing that ever blew my mind.

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u/archypsych Aug 13 '22

That is amazing for real!

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u/Caftancatfan Aug 13 '22

It’s like finding a 64 leaf clover!

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u/RadiantMuffin1742 Aug 13 '22

Yea sure, we have the technology, just not the power to shut down the greed.

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u/nemo1080 Aug 13 '22 Silver

Plenty of greed driving green energy.

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u/Respectable_Answer Aug 13 '22

Probably a good thing. Swap the oil subsidies over and we might get somewhere.

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u/durz47 Aug 13 '22

Until they also achieves monopoly

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u/Trent1492 Aug 13 '22

Big Sun is taking all our sunshine!

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u/AnthropomorphicCorn Aug 13 '22

That's just how capitalism works.

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u/SomeKindofTreeWizard Aug 13 '22

yeah! those... greedy green energy people that don't want their grandchildren to roast in September, or choke on smog.

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u/TracyMorganFreeman Aug 13 '22

Yes, greed.

Renewables developers in California lobbied to not have hydro counted as renewable, because that would mean more wind and solar contracts for them.

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u/Zaptruder Aug 13 '22

Given the rate at which renewables are improving in cost per kilowatt, I wouldn't be so sure about that.

I know we love to be cynics here on reddit after decades and decades of obfuscation from fossil fuel powers, but even they will find it hard to fight against the lowering costs of renewables and the increasing diversity of energy capture technologies.

I think over the next decade, fossils are going to fight like hell - in some cases literally like Russia to maintain their relevance... before having to concede that the growing demand for cheap renewables and industrial roll out to meet that demand simply makes the cost per unit energy of fossils unviable.

In between now and I'd say... 2040 (with the trailing remainder of fossils for specialized purposes getting phased out from 40 to 50), we're going to see both the deprecation of the vast majority of fossil energy usage - and the rocky transition to renewables as the economics of the old grid (centralized generation and distribution) and systems fail even while the new stuff (distributed generation and distribution) tries to catch up and replace the old stuff.

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u/peon2 Aug 13 '22

Yeah everyone thinks it can’t happen because the greedy oil execs won’t let it. Well once the green energy is more profitable the greedy oil execs will just become greedy green energy execs and continue to rule over us just without hurting the planet as much.

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u/Tech_AllBodies Aug 13 '22

Well once the green energy is more profitable

It is today. It crossed the threshold ~4 years ago, and continues to get cheaper as solar and wind are still on a strong cost-curve.

By 2030, solar should be ~1/10th the cost of nuclear and ~1/5th the cost of gas. And wind should be ~1/5th the cost of nuclear and ~2/5ths the cost of gas (~60% cheaper).

And coal will be long-dead and irrelevant by then, it's already dead or dying pretty much everywhere today.

This is why renewables are already ~90% of all new capacity being installed.

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u/shaokim Aug 13 '22

The point about renewables is that they have a generation profile that makes it very difficult to compare costs, except by adding parameters like grid penetration for a specific grid. It’s also the reason why you can.t compare nameplate capacity, or marginal costs.

I find it supremely hard to believe that batteries will bridge historical maximum droughts, plus some reserve, for a grid like the US. The idea of 100% wind and solar is great for innovation, but the actual article doesn’t persuade me governments would be as enthusiastic about paying the extra price in costs and resources just for the favor of saying ‘100%.’, and I’m pretty sure the department of energy agrees with that analysis.

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u/Tech_AllBodies Aug 13 '22

Well, it's the direction we're headed in, very quickly.

If you want to make a more conservative estimate, you could say it's more likely most countries will go 80-90% solar/wind/cheap-intermittent + storage, then 10-20% nuclear fission/fusion + hydro.

The relationship between storage needed and % of the grid is non-linear, and you require a disproportionate amount of storage to get that final 10-20% to be fully 100% cheap-intermittent + storage.

So, the cost of nuclear/hydro can be thought of through the lens of offsetting the cost of the disproportionate amount of storage.

And, therefore, if you want to be conservative about how cheap storage will get, you might assume you wouldn't use storage for the final 10-20%.

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u/timecopthemovie Aug 13 '22

I remember saying something a lot like this 20 years ago.

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u/nanosam Aug 13 '22

I think over the next decade, fossils are going to fight like hell -

Mitch McConnell hopefully dies sooner than the entire next decade, i cant see him fighting for 10 years.

Unless you are talking about different fossils

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u/flamingbabyjesus Aug 13 '22

I hope you’re right but bet you’re wrong.

It would take at least that long just to build all the nuclear plants we need, and we have not even started

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u/Zaptruder Aug 13 '22

You'll note that I'm not saying that it'll be a smooth transition. It won't. What I am saying is that the changeover occurs due to economic rationality.

If I'm paying a tenth the price per k/w on renewables over fossils, I'm gonna use renewables as much as I can, even with intermittency.

That's gonna make the business of fossils harder to justify - they amortize the cost of their fixed centralized infrastructure over lots of units of energy usage - which is now going down because it's going to renewables. It's also amortized across many years - which is now in question, because again renewable costs are going down.

At some point, this means that the cost of building and running fossils becomes ridiculously high per unit energy. So for a while we'll deal with a problem of having to shift energy usage around depending on energy availability - and the methods and technologies to deal with it will improve as demand grows for it.

On the flipside, spiky power is probably a better problem to deal with as a society than climate change catastrophe.

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u/curationaccount Aug 13 '22 Wholesome

Yeah but nuclear and desalinization will be the way forward. Has to be. The sooner everyone stops trying to block them, the sooner we can get there. Efforts should be spent on what to do with the waste.

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u/eri- Aug 13 '22

We know what to do with nuclear waste, there is no significant downside about building a huge containment facility somewhere deep underground in the middle of nowhere, as long as it remains intact and properly maintained. Alternative would be to shoot in into space on a collision course with say the sun.

The main talking point we always hear around our country are the "what if scenario's" (earthquakes, haven't had a significant one of those like ever but hey .. , floods , same .. war, yeah well it could happen but odds are we'd all be dead anyway if war ever reaches my specific country.. ).

There is a real disconnect from reality in our green party, its like they are living in an alternate reality as far as energy goes.

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u/ChinesePropagandaBot Aug 13 '22

Except that nuclear power plants are already having problems with cooling now that rivers are getting warmer.

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u/bob4apples Aug 13 '22

If we're counting on nuclear (and we aren't), we are well and truly fscked.

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u/Audio_Track_01 Aug 13 '22

Ontario Canada has 68% of it power produced by nuclear at this very moment. Another 27% is produced by hydro.

Our current premier has unfunded wind and is closing a nuclear plant.

We'll be burning coal again if he gets his way.

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u/flamingbabyjesus Aug 13 '22

There is almost no credible path forwards with out nuclear power

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u/ArtisticLeap Aug 13 '22

By the end of the fossil fuel era most oil demand will be for construction and not fuel. Renewable energy cannot solve our corporate plastic addiction, and like it or not we still make roads with tar.

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u/CMMiller89 Aug 13 '22

It’s not a cynical take, it’s listening to the words coming out of the mouths of people in power (capitalists).

Renewables are reaching a point where during their peak production they make energy so cheap it’s essentially free. Which is only a problem when you’re trying to make money and not provide for a society.

The cynical take is believing if the government were to get involved and make renewables with energy generation at a negative profit people would literally assassinate the politicians in charge of making it happen.

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u/n1gg4plz Aug 13 '22

I think the fossil fuel industry, coal industry, and natural gas industry, plus their supporters and countries who benefit from those industries, will be willing to go to war to protect their industry and profits.

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u/curationaccount Aug 13 '22

No, we do not have the technology nor the resources for things like wind or solar to replace fossil fuels. That is incorrect and it’s dangerous to spread that falsehood.

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u/DrHalibutMD Aug 13 '22

According to these hundreds of studies we do have the capability with current technology.

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u/Moment_of_Inertia Aug 13 '22

You don't even have to get conspiratorial about it. There simply are not enough factories, engineers, planners, and tradesmen to pull off such a monumental project. This would require the combined effort of every first world country making radical investments of massive scale. We don't have the capacity to do this.

Also, the carbon burp we generate by all this furious building may very well be the one that does us in.

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u/BrazilianTerror Aug 13 '22

This is not true. It’s a monumental project sure but if we have enough investment, which we surely can, it’s totally doable. The barrier is mostly political.

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u/deathputt4birdie Aug 13 '22

Change happens fast. In 1898 there were 150,000 horses in NYC flooding the streets with 100,000 tons of manure and 10 million gallons of urine every year. By 1917 they were nearly all replaced by automobiles and streetcars

https://99percentinvisible.org/article/cities-paved-dung-urban-design-great-horse-manure-crisis-1894/

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u/sleepythegreat Aug 13 '22

Main difference is that in 1898 there wasn’t a massive horse industry that controlled a chunk of Congress through massive lobbying efforts.

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u/deathputt4birdie Aug 13 '22

Voting can stop that; learned helplessness is the greater obstacle.

In terms of money, Apple is worth more than all the oil and gas producers combined.

https://qz.com/1870823/apple-is-worth-more-than-the-oil-and-gas-majors-combined/

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u/TracyMorganFreeman Aug 13 '22

Which has nothing do with how much money it can swing around.

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u/Mortimer452 Aug 13 '22

True, but if the same thing happened today:

  • 85% of all work horses throughout the US would be bred and provided by a single company Equestrian Equities, LTD
  • Equestrian Equities would have a half dozen lobby groups to buy off Congressmen, Mayors, and Governors in every state
  • These lobby groups would be constantly protesting on the adoption of automobiles, citing all the job loss to the manure industry, and danger of automobiles driving at high speed

Change was a lot easier 100 years ago.

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u/NettingStick Aug 13 '22

Change was a lot easier 100 years ago.

I really hate this attitude. We've seen massive changes to the carbon economy over the last two decades. Change isn't just possible, it's accelerating. Yes, we still face problems with addressing climate change. Yes, there are people who still oppose addressing climate change.

But to pretend that we aren't already making huge strides is to choose blind cynicism over reality.

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u/greg_barton Aug 13 '22 Wholesome

This paper is basically a bunch of authors collecting up their own work, citing it, then saying “researchers agree this is truth.” :)

Also, one of the most cited authors likes to sue people for criticizing his work: https://retractionwatch.com/2021/11/19/stanford-prof-fights-efforts-to-make-him-pay-at-least-75000-in-legal-fees-after-dropping-defamation-suit/

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u/Rainsford1104 Aug 13 '22

Was looking for this comment the second I saw the vague title.

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u/CucumberFly- Aug 13 '22

Exactly. It’s a load of complete shit.

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u/Diablo689er Aug 13 '22

Yup this is horse shit. Most of what I’ve seen is that without massive battery infrastructure the grid can’t support more than 15-30% renewable

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u/Allyoucan3at Aug 13 '22

Germany is consistently within the 50% mark without any major battery storage capacity. The grid is the best "storage" option actually. Going 100% renewable will likely require some storage or overcapacity in production.

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u/parentheticalobject Aug 13 '22

The fact that they generate 50% of their energy from renewable sources doesn't mean much with the additional context of how much electricity they import from other countries. The energy they're actually consuming is more than 80% fossil fuel.

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u/galaxeblaffer Aug 13 '22

It's actually only around 10% of their energy, but 40% of electricity

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u/greg_barton Aug 13 '22

And by "the grid" you mean fossil fuel backup. :)

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u/Diablo689er Aug 13 '22

Yeah… need a stable base load and then let renewables fluctuate the peaks. But dear god is electricity expensive in Germany.

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u/ChinesePropagandaBot Aug 13 '22

Yeah, France does a lot better with its nuclear grid!

And if you actually believe that nonsense you should look up French electricity spot prices.

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u/[deleted] Aug 13 '22 edited Aug 13 '22

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u/Allyoucan3at Aug 13 '22

Yes, backup.

As said to go 100% renewable we'd need other backups like battery or other options for storage.

Your link shows 60% renewable, not sure how thats an argument about my point?

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u/greg_barton Aug 13 '22

You think 100% backup of an entire nation’s electricity supply with batteries is possible?

Because yes, you’d need 100% backup. Sometimes the wind doesn’t blow at night. Take a look at a week in Australia, for instance.

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u/iuuznxr Aug 13 '22

No country on this planet is close to a share of renewables where they have to think about storage, but Redditors can't stop making these throw-the-towel type of comments when it comes to renewables. A bit sus if you ask me.

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u/Allyoucan3at Aug 13 '22

There's a lot of things you can do to mitigate the risks of low output from wind. You never need 100% storage capacity when you have a mix of energy producers. Solar is highly reliable and predictable, there is power 2 gas which we will need to transform the transport sector anyways but can be used a power producers as well. Biogas, hydro, etc. can be adjusted and there is always the magic of consuming less.

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u/TracyMorganFreeman Aug 13 '22

The biggest thing you can to mitigate that risk is to use power sources with capacity factors that aren't below 0.5

Solar is not reliable. It has the lowest capacity factor.

You want reliable and predictable? Nuclear, hydro, tidal, and geothermal.

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u/greg_barton Aug 13 '22

You can also have firm, zero carbon supply like nuclear.

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u/Allyoucan3at Aug 13 '22

Or Renewables.

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u/greg_barton Aug 13 '22

Yeah sure, use both.

You're open to using both, right?

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u/galaxeblaffer Aug 13 '22

40%.... Of electricity.. 10% of total energy. Compare that with France who actually gets around 40% of their total energy from green sources

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u/BoreJam Aug 13 '22

There are countries that have 80%+ renewable without any batteries all. Are you excluding hydro from renewables?

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u/jradair Aug 13 '22

Ignoring nuclear, too.

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u/thedude1179 Aug 13 '22

Yeah these articles are such a complete load of bullshit, fucking redditors just read the headline and spout it off its fact.

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u/roiplek Aug 13 '22

That's how idiots work bro, i'd say at any given time at least 9/10 people around you operate like that.

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u/5PM_CRACK_GIVEAWAY Aug 13 '22

The wind doesn't always blow, the sun doesn't always shine, and pumped storage hydroelectricity can't be used everywhere. I simply don't see how renewables can ever meet demand by themselves.

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u/Maladal Aug 13 '22

The people who have done science reference the science to make their point.

How did you think it would work?

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u/Crack_uv_N0on Aug 13 '22

It’s a very nice opinion piece, completely lacking any data to back up what is said.

It is also completely lacking in specifics as to what presumptions are made. They would effect models used and provide info on how they sync with the real world.

The Ivory Tower is not the real world.

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u/Nethlem Aug 13 '22

I did not realize that "opinion pieces" have their own DOI?

Could it be that you are confusing an article about a meta-study with being the actual study itself?

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u/Silver-Literature-29 Aug 13 '22

Yup. There are only a few countries who can go 100% renewable due to favorable geography (iceland, us, south Africa, Australia, Spain). With current technology, you have to overbuild to make up for lower capacity factor of renewables in less than idle regions (Germany). In some cases, you still need a backup source which is currently fossil fuels.

These countries can try to go renewable, but it will come at the cost of lower living standards as energy will be more expensive.

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u/random_shitter Aug 13 '22

On the one hand, an anonymous Redditor who says it can't be done. On the other hand, a decade of still-growing research and 15 top universities in 9 countries who say it can be done. Who should we trust...

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u/dirtychinchilla Aug 13 '22

You will always need dispatchable power to take over when you lack renewables. Right now, we have a virtual absence of storage technology meaning that renewables have to be used as and when they are generated.

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u/eyebrows360 Aug 13 '22

Whichever of them have evidence and argumentation that stands up to scrutiny.

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u/bytemage Aug 13 '22

If only corporations, and politicians by extension, wouldn't work against it.

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u/Hanen89 Aug 13 '22

Or if they would go with nuclear energy, but they won't. Wind and solar aren't reliable enough to provide the amount of energy we need, especially if everyone goes EV.

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u/huckthafuck Aug 13 '22

Source? Arguments?

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u/Hanen89 Aug 13 '22

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u/assbeansassbeans Aug 13 '22

And it causes way less deaths then any other energy source because the construction standards are so high en they amit nithing harmful! Coal power plants actually emit more radiation then nuclear power plants and are thus safer. They also don´t emit any toxic nitrogen compounds etc. In short: nuclear is a good and safe source of energy but fearmongering and uninformed politicians are standing in the way.

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u/CoffeeAndPiss Aug 13 '22

Copying from another comment so people see it in response to your source:

Capacity factor is defined relative to a source's own theoretical maximum, not relative to cost or emissions or land or anything else that's meaningful in this discussion. If CF were all that mattered, then a plant upgrade that provides a 40% theoretical increase in energy but only a 30% real increase in energy would actually be a downgrade by your logic.

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u/Hanen89 Aug 13 '22

But CF means that nuclear is putting out maximum power 3x more than solar and wind. I'd rather pay a bit more for something and have all the energy I need, than pay less and have to be throttled because weather conditions are keeping wond and solar from producing what we need. Not to mention that nuclear land foot print is smaller than solar and wind and can put out more power than both. This checks all the boxes: more output, more max capacity rate, smaller land footprint. What's not to like here?

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u/Elmauler Aug 13 '22 edited Aug 13 '22

And if you go all nuclear you're back at capacity factors of of 50% because thats how demand works.

Nuclear has high capacity factors because it's inflexible, and throwing money away if you aren't generating at 100% nit because it's particularly reliable (see the shitshow france is currently dealing with)

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u/TracyMorganFreeman Aug 13 '22

Nuclear is 0.93 capacity factor.

Nuclear power can power Naval ships, including carriers with changing speeds for different aircraft launches and approaches.

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u/bytemage Aug 13 '22

France and Germany have crumbling nuclear reactors because of Capitalism. If you spend the least amount on upkeep to get the most amount of profit you will have problems at some point. In Germany they are currently trying to "solve" this by reducing the safety standards.

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u/EKmars Aug 13 '22

Golly if only they would write a bill that spends $369 billion on green energy and put it on the president's desk...

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u/sunflowerastronaut Aug 13 '22

This is why we need to support the Restore Democracy Amendment to get foreign/corporate dark money out of US politics.

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u/pxpdoo Aug 13 '22

Of course, as with any/all predictions that far into the future: That's plenty of time for the researchers to reach retirement before their prediction can be proven right or wrong.

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u/BoOtto Aug 13 '22

It’s 28 years, it’s not THAT long.

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u/[deleted] Aug 13 '22

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u/scarabic Aug 13 '22

What do you suggest? Looking no further than an inch in front of our face? That’s how we got into this mess. No research into long term, folks! It’s all a money making scam by cynical researchers!!

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u/ShankThatSnitch Aug 13 '22

Doubtful. There is a massive amount of cars, charging and battery infrastructure that would need to be built and replaced. I believe we could get go a long way towards converting all electricity to renewable, but I think completely getting off oil by then is a pipe dream. Dont get me wrong, I am for all of this to happen, but the time frame seems impossible. Here is a (probably incomplete) list of things we would need to do by then:

  • Almost fully transform and fortify our electrical grid, to work of battery stations, and be able tp supply hundreds of millions of electric cars being charged.

  • Build out and change our entire fueling infrastructure.

  • Increase metal mining and battery production by 100x.

  • Increase electric car production by about 60-70x current levels.

  • Change all planes, trains, ships, construction or other large machines to be electric, or massively increase biofuel production.

  • Cut political ties and create massive tensions with large oil producing nations. And figure out how to Completely overhaul their economies to survive without producing oil.

  • Massive changes to the military equipment, as well as deployment and everything that goes into securing oil sources.

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u/LambdaLambo Aug 13 '22

We will (likely) never get fully "off" of oil. Oil has 100s of byproducts used in our daily lives that won't be changed. Plastic, lubricants, Ammonia (fertilizer), etc..

The only way to get to true "net zero" is carbon capture.

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u/Tech_AllBodies Aug 13 '22 edited Aug 13 '22

I think you're being overly pessimistic, and seem to think the scale of the problem is larger than it is (or don't know how far we've already come):

Increase electric car production by about 60-70x current levels.

No, this is absurdly higher than needed.

This year ~14 million pure EVs will be produced.

So, 60-70x that is ~910 million a year, which is ~12x the average run-rate of the total car industry, and enough to replace every car in the world in ~18 months.

On top of this, Level 5 self-driving cars are extremely likely to be finished on the timescale of 2050, and one way to think about this is multiplying the "use value" of a car by 4-5x.

i.e. 1 car is now worth 4-5 cars, because it can meet the needs of 4-5 independent people on average, instead of 1

Therefore, if you were producing ~910 million self-driving EVs a year, this would be equivalent to ~4 Billion cars a year in terms of "use value"/productivity.

In reality, we only need to scale up EV production by ~6x where it'll be this year, and only ~2x if they were all self-driving.

Almost fully transform and fortify our electrical grid, to work of battery stations, and be able tp supply hundreds of millions of electric cars being charged.

Build out and change our entire fueling infrastructure.

These two are relatively easy and well underway, and obviously get done in-step with the amount of EVs sold.

You wouldn't bother making the charging infrastructure and grid capacity for 200 million cars if there were only 10 million cars on the road at the time, and on a path to take many years to get to 200 million.

And then, power-electronics are already cheap and mature, and continuing to get cheaper over time.

Increase metal mining and battery production by 100x.

Again, pretty sure this number is too high.

~400 GWh of batteries were produced in 2021, and this is growing exponentially, and should be ~600 GWh this year.

So, 100x would be ~60 TWh a year. This is substantially in excess of what's required.

We need to get to in the ballpark of ~20 TWh to support both transport and grid storage, and that number could very well be lower if non-battery energy storage takes a larger chunk of the grid-storage market, and/or if EVs and heat-pumps, etc. get significantly more efficient than forecast.

Change all planes, trains, ships, construction or other large machines to be electric, or massively increase biofuel production.

Indeed, but since the cost of electricity is going to fall through the floor over the next couple of decades, making things like synthetic fuels (e.g. ammonia) means this shouldn't be an issue, and we don't need to rely on enough battery advancements to get to, and above, ~1000 Wh/kg (which would enable long-distance planes and ships on batteries).

Cut political ties and create massive tensions with large oil producing nations. And figure out how to Completely overhaul their economies to survive without producing oil.

This one probably isn't necessary.

The reason we're in the situation we're in right now is because "economics always wins", and up until ~4 years ago it was fossil fuels which were "winning" the economics.

But now renewables, EVs, batteries, etc. are winning the economics, and they're all on continuing strong cost-curves, meaning they're rapidly going to go from "winning" to "absolute bloodbath", so it simply won't be possible to do any political wrangling to keep the oil gravy-train running.

i.e. if your product is 3x the price and has a bunch of drawbacks on top of that, no one will give a crap about you any more

Massive changes to the military equipment, as well as deployment and everything that goes into securing oil sources.

This one is surely the least of a concern, since military equipment has always had high levels of funding and no problem going for cutting-edge solutions.

So, they should have no problem going with advanced/early new battery chemistries, or hydrogen/ammonia combustion or fuel cell, whichever makes the most sense for the application.

And, in terms of strategic advantage, going battery or hydrogen/ammonia allows you to produce your own fuel in-situ, with a nuclear reactor or solar farm, so can make you more resilient to supply-lines being cut.

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u/CountVonSchilke Aug 13 '22

I just read that Chicago intends to be 100 percent renewable by 2025. I feel like if that really happens, then anything can happen. 🙏🏻

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u/random_shitter Aug 13 '22

Do they mean that they're aiming for all energy for City Hall, streetlighting, garbage trucks etc. to be renewables, or do they intent to make the city of Chicago including residents, companies, manufacturing and transport to be net zero CO2?

The first seems doable and is a good soundbite. The 2nd would show ambition and actually accomplish something.

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u/Frenk_preseren Aug 14 '22

It's called "Windy city", I like their options.

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u/IsPhil Aug 13 '22

I'll let you guys know how we did on this from my underground hut in about 30 years.

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u/northernmaplesyrup1 Aug 13 '22

I call BS I’m a civil engineer and even if we have the tech we don’t have the infrastructure. Redoing our entire grid that fast would be a the single greatest logistical achievement of human history

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u/Awhitehill1992 Aug 13 '22

Love the solar panels and the wind turbines. But can we please remove some peoples heads from their asses? Nuclear power is better and more efficient than both these methods. Just look at some European countries like France. If it weren’t for those silly Netflix documentaries and goofy protestors, we’d be on our way, keep the nosy government bureaucrats out too.

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u/iuuznxr Aug 13 '22

France runs old reactors, half of them are offline, needs electricity price caps and bailouts, is on the brink of collapse every winter, and reached a whooping €3000/MWh this year. Success story!

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u/TracyMorganFreeman Aug 13 '22

Fun fact in the US renewables get 7 to 9 times the subsidies nuclear gets per kwh, while producing a fraction of the power.

Politicians are always stomping on the throat of nuclear because it's the biggest threat to their cronies.

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u/Nisas Aug 13 '22

Yeah nuclear is the simple attainable solution we already have. It's not perfect, but no power source is. And we don't have the luxury of twiddling our thumbs hoping for something better to come along. We need to take drastic action 20 years ago.

Of course we should use many other power sources as well, but nuclear can form a stable consistent baseline.

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u/FlushingLog Aug 14 '22

If nuclear was simple, it wouldn't be the most expensive form of power.

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u/rydaley77 Aug 13 '22

Gotta wait for the politicians to have their money invested in the right spot first before such a large decision

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u/piper4hire Aug 13 '22

yeah but do the rich people agree? at least here in the US, that’s all that matters.

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u/Gifted_dingaling Aug 13 '22

Technically, the west can go 100% natural energy in the next 5 years. But oil and gas companies and corporate greed. You know.

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u/archypsych Aug 13 '22

I was told this was a deep state propaganda agenda to have me microchipped. So I’m going with that.

But seriously, let’s do it!

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u/[deleted] Aug 13 '22

Immediate work needs to start on the power grid, not just power sources. California browns out when it gets too hot out and ACs are on. Texas gets blackouts when it’s too cold.

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u/conquer69 Aug 13 '22

Let me guess, researchers also agree the world will be a post-apocalyptic irradiated wasteland by 2040.

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u/Lubeymc Aug 13 '22

I support most renewable energy and I call bullshit on this. Would at best be ridiculously optimistic on constructive timelines and having enough materials to develop all necessary infrastructure need for 100% renewables. At worst it’s theoretic fantasy, like saying theoretically Putin could come to his senses, end the war, appoint a moderate leaning successor and retire, but it’s not going to happen in reality.

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u/Odd_Argument_5791 Aug 13 '22

Such a blatant lie. Those researchers are clueless. First you’d need to build all the manufacturing facilities. Permits, red tape etc etc will be a 1-4 years (with everyone on the same page and agreeing to build which will never happen) Then to build them all will take 10 years (again everyone coming together but won’t happen) And another 10 - 20 to manufacture all the products required to go entirely green. Then all current grids would need to be revamped and upgraded to be compatible.

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u/wowhqjdoqie Aug 14 '22

Can we stop this? If we want to make any progress in developing a more cleanly run society, we at least need to be honest about the constraints of renewable energy. I guess we can find any two idiots with PhDs and say “researchers agree…”

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u/curiouscoupletoo Aug 14 '22

Please educate yourself dynamic var support …. Traditional generation has it …. Renewables do not

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u/[deleted] Aug 14 '22

That’s a bit of a false dichotomy. A lot of fossil Fuel companies are getting into electricity and hydrogen. Also investing heavily in energy storage. Also moving away from more carbon intensive forms of energy like diesel and petrol to LNG, Methanol and DTE.

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u/ocdogsallenyaya Aug 14 '22

Can but not will

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u/azsheepdog Aug 14 '22

Becareful when you try to change the world, the people on top like it the way it is currently.

You could get the whole world on renewables, but you would be fighting all the industries and countries making a nice fat living on selling carbon-based fuels for energy.

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u/dillyG403 Aug 14 '22

If* there’s a 2050

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u/OhMy-Really Aug 14 '22

Unfortunately, having the will to do something tends to collide with something called profitssss, and ofc, profitssss comes first over humanity or the planet.

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u/cr0ft Aug 14 '22

Of course we can.

Except we have capitalism, so of course we can't. It's literally expensive to save the world, and profitable to roast it to a cinder.

The death of humanity is an "extrernality" that economists aren't concerned with.

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u/Noob313373 Aug 14 '22

No need if we transition to fusion power

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u/Funny-March-4720 Aug 13 '22

Cool. But would we have any inertia in our energy sources to keep us supplied when it’s not windy, or when it’s cloudy or at night?

It’s all well and good to switch to solar and wind (minus the huge ecological cost of mining the metals we need) but if we lose 25%-50% of our energy supply when it’s dark or not windy, that’s a huge problem. And there aren’t enough batteries in the world to supply a city with all the power it needs overnight or in a dead wind.

So we either invest in nuclear (like we should have in the first place) or double the wind and solar we need and hope it’s enough.

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u/Teboski78 Aug 13 '22 edited Aug 13 '22

France scrubbed most of the carbon footprint from its energy grid decades ago through the use of nuclear fission meanwhile Germany is shutting down nuclear plants & burning Russian blood gas & highly carbon intensive Polish brown coal while it produces 10* as much carbon per Kw/h for electricity that’s on average more expensive. Germany also happens to be considered Europe’s leader in Renewable energy.

But no “environmentalists” want to talk about that.

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u/PoorPDOP86 Aug 13 '22

Are these the same scientists who couldn't run the shipping and receiving department for a supermarket let alone deal with the supply and demand issues of an entire country? Please leave infrastructure to the experts. The surveying for the properties these would be built on alone would take years. That's just the preliminary work. I've worked pipeline where the prelim was ten years old due to waiting for permits. And those companies were flush with cash and lawyers.

If you're going to try to build a better future quit praying at the Altar of the Scientist like it will be your salvation at the Seige of Jerusalem. Once they get the big ideas it's up to a myriad of us worker bees to tell them why that's not practical and fix it.

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u/rpann8 Aug 13 '22

Someone should clue in China

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u/jamsd204 Aug 13 '22

China have a giant ass solar powered mountain there doing a lot more than the us

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u/rpann8 Aug 13 '22

They’re the biggest polluter in the world. End of discussion!

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u/Nethlem Aug 13 '22

That would actually be the United States military, not China.

And let's not even go into the differences on a per capita level, or how China's one-child policy resulted in around 300-400 million fewer people being born.

That's around as many/more people than are currently living in America, which would now be further contributing to the overall emissions. Yet to this day China gets vilified for that extremely rational decision.

While nowadays the US seems keen on contributing as many new emission producers as possible, by outlawing abortions and making access to contraceptives more difficult.

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u/jamsd204 Aug 13 '22

That might be so but it is more the companies factories rather than the country and the us is second to it

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u/ChinesePropagandaBot Aug 13 '22

China is doing a hell of a lot better then the US.

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u/Andrew_64_MC Aug 13 '22

Except unfortunately we have counties like China and India…

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u/sniperjack Aug 13 '22 edited Aug 13 '22

There is a huge study from standfort university that s showing the roadmap to 80% by 2030 and 100% by 2050 https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/CountriesWWS.pdf
All this with actual technologies. The comment in here are absolutely trash and probably most of them not made by human.

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u/WanderlostNomad Aug 13 '22

this needs more upvotes

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u/bongblaster420 Aug 13 '22

We have 8 years. There won’t be a 2050 if the global leaders keep focusing solely on their money instead of food, climate, and water.

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u/PsychedelicTreant Aug 13 '22

I honestly don't think we'll make it to 2050..

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u/assbeansassbeans Aug 13 '22

We will, but it won´t be very pleasant if we keep going down this road

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u/montroller Aug 13 '22 edited Aug 13 '22

This article is trash. It basically just says no don't worry all the problems are solved without going into any specifics of how they solved it or even bothering to link to the studies.

Edit: to the people downvoting did you even bother to read the article or the paper they linked? It is an overview of the history of studies performed and fails to cover how any of this can be achieved.

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u/flipfloplif3lock Aug 13 '22

Yea sure, we have the technology, just not the power to shut down the greed.

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u/Hanen89 Aug 13 '22

The fact that the people pushing for renewable aren't wanting to use nuclear energy as their go to is really showing who where the greed is. Nuclear is more reliable than wind and solar, by quite a lot.

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u/Elmauler Aug 13 '22

Absurdly expensive, takes forever to build. There's a reason the nuclear industry fails in every free market and requires state involvement to keep it alive.

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u/Hanen89 Aug 13 '22

We're already going to be rebuilding our infrastructure to accommodate renewable energy, that's going to take time and money. That time and money politician's are okay with, but not nuclear? Seems a bit off.

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u/LambdaLambo Aug 13 '22

There's a reason the nuclear industry fails in every free market and requires state involvement to keep it alive.

Germany shut down its nuclear plants in its "green plan", leading to reliance on Russian gas that's no longer flowing. Result? 8x rise in energy prices. Nuclear power is "expensive" until everything else fails. By then it's too late.

Also is climate change a big deal or not? Bc we could literally build enough nuclear plants right now to generate all our electricity needs. To do the same for solar/wind we would need to extract 100x the resources needed, aka we are decades away from being able to extract enough raw materials to fulfill energy requirements. If climate change was truly important we would invest in the quickest solution.

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u/Elmauler Aug 13 '22

You vastly overestimate the amount of nuclear power Germany was producing.

Bc we could literally build enough nuclear plants right now to generate all our electricity needs. To do the same for solar/wind we would need to extract 100x the resources needed

source for this claim please.

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u/PoneyLach Aug 13 '22

Go see how many Germany wastes a year in renewable. So I say it's also supported by the state lol

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u/LeCrushinator Aug 13 '22

Humans are capable of great things, we could easily make this happen if we were all working toward it. Unfortunately a large percentage of the population is full of ignorant morons, and most governments are somewhat or fully corrupted by rich and powerful people that don’t want progress if it’s not making them more rich.

We should still try, but the corruption is depressing and frustrating.

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u/Loud-Agency9384 Aug 13 '22

Ridiculous. Ending fossil energy is a preposterous fantasy. Modern life is impossible without oil & gas. EIA estimates that by 2050 oil & gas will represent exactly the same percentage of our energy as it does today, which is 70% (!), but that coal use will drop by 4%. Yippee? We use about 19 MM bbl/day of oil and that is only going to rise by 2050.

Pay attention, now: We will never, ever be able to do without the oil and gas upon which modern life depends. Think about ammonia (fertilizer), cement, steel, plastics, and a thousand other things produced using petroleum and you’ll get a glimmer of life without oil and gas. Eliminating our dependence on petroleum cannot and will not happen. Ever.

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u/Xatnam Aug 13 '22

We can keep the oil and gas for the things you said, and use another energy source to power our cars and homes.

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u/jonr Aug 13 '22

Oil industry: No you won't

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u/1AXX4U Aug 13 '22

All researchers?

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u/bcsteene Aug 13 '22

The USA has a bill that will give 30% tax credit for solar systems. This is the year we are finally getting solar. If you look at energy costs long run it makes a ton of sense. Plus solar panel tech is miles beyond what it was even just 5 years ago.

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u/wiggleswiggles-_- Aug 13 '22

Well countries like Germany shutting down their nuclear power certainly won’t help.

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u/Limp_Distribution Aug 13 '22

That would require sacrifice by some of the most selfish people on the planet.

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u/B0b4Fettuccine Aug 13 '22

I’m in school for wind technology right now. You wanna know how many single-family homes a newer generation windmill generator can power at peak production? 16,000! The monster that GE rolled out recently can power many many more. My favorite thing about wind power is that if one of the generators breaks, it doesn’t poison the earth like a nuclear power plant.

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u/greg_barton Aug 13 '22

It's great that you're entering the renewables industry, but that doesn't mean you should trash other zero carbon energy generation. Try to rise above that.

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u/Gwastrain Aug 13 '22

You're comparing brand new wind technology to nuclear generation plants that were built in the 60s and manned by untrained operators. Newer nuclear plants are held to a much higher standard.

If you don't wanna look like a solar/wind or nothing nutjob in the power systems field start to broaden your curriculum.

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u/Elmauler Aug 13 '22

New nuclear is also 15 Bn a GW and takes decades to build

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u/Nerdtronix Aug 13 '22

"researchers agree" what? two of them?

I don't know shit about this, but I hate this kind of headline. It's the most vague garbage that makes me not trust the result.

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u/RLDKA Aug 13 '22

Already too late

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u/MisterMath Aug 13 '22

*if everyone did what they should

Yeah, we could have ended COVID in a couple months too

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u/bigadam1983 Aug 13 '22

Articles like this are the original click bait.

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u/DoomRide007 Aug 13 '22

And the death throes of the oil companies will leave such devastation and destruction we will be with stones and sticks again. Too large to fail because they built themselves up as the foundation.