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Renewables: would they make us a fuel-free society?

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According to David Elliott, author of the book 'Renewables: a review of sustainable energy supply options', efficiency and renewables can help us to build a fuel-free world much better than Nuclear power.
 
Let’s give a look at some data.

In 2013, the world achieved 1,560 gigawatts (GW) of renewable electricity generation capacity - almost five times more than the 331 GW of nuclear generation capacity. Renewables supplied around 22% of global electricity, about twice as much as nuclear power (11%).
 
Hydro is the biggest electricity supplying renewable, with around 1,000GW of generation capacity in place. Wind comes next at 318GW, while PV solar is at around 139GW globally; solar thermal is now at 326GW, much of it in China.
 
According to the REN21 group (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century),  2013 marked the sixth consecutive year in which renewables had the majority share of new electricity generating capacity, with a 72% share in 2013.
 
From a geographic point of view, renewables are more widespread around the world than nuclear power. At present 30 or so countries, out of the 196 countries in the world, use nuclear at some level, whereas around 50 countries get most (over 50%) of their electricity from renewables (mainly hydro so far) some much more and for around a dozen of them near 100%.
 
Renewables are a great source of jobs
 
According to a new study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in 2013, approximately 6.5 million people were already employed in the renewable energy industry worldwide. “Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2014” underlines the important role that renewables continue to play in employment creation and growth in the global economy.
 
How far can renewables expand?
 
In the short term, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says that by 2030, renewables could supply 30-36% of global energy, depending on the level of energy saving. Other more optimistic projections go even further and says renewables could supply up to 100% of the whole world's electricity by around 2050. Therefore, it should be possible to squeeze most fossil fuels out of the system in many places by around 2050.
 
However, in order to do this, a new efficient energetic system is necessary. That means a delocalized and democratic system of production and consumption of energy using as much as possible renewable energies.
 
Graph - Jobs in Renewable sectors in 2013


Source: IRENA


LTEconomy, July 24th 2014
 
See the article on the Ecologist
 
Get access to the book of David Elliot
 
Ren21 - Renewables Global Status Report 2014
 
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)