There have been many different projections as to how much of the world’s energy supply could be provided by renewables alone. In the coming decades, renewables could supply around 57% of the world energy needs by 2050 if significant more investment in renewables occurs (IEA, 2012). In addition, it is also thought that in the future renewables may account for 100% of the world’s energy. However, for this to occur significant investment and policy changes must occur.
To obtain a 100% renewable global energy solution infrastructure in wind and solar power is required. In order to ensure that there is a constant energy tidal energy and geothermal technologies would have to be significantly developed. In addition, hydroelectric power technologies would also be required as a backup (Delucchi and Jacobson, 2011). It is estimated that implementation of this type of system would cost around 36 trillion dollars more than what is currently being invested to make renewables 57% of the market share by 2050 (IEA, 2012). However, after implementation, the cost of energy in a 100% renewable world would be similar to that of using fossil fuels (Delucchi and Jacobson, 2011).
In order to ensure a successful and rapid transition to 100% renewable power, the main barrier is that of the current policies. As such policies which provide significant benefits for increased renewable output, investment subsidies, and the requirement of having specific output quotas are required. In addition, policies which significant tax and penalize companies for the use of fossil fuels would also spur the transition to renewable energy (Delucchi and Jacobson, 2011). From a biodiversity standpoint, there is a potential risk with the implementation of renewable technologies, as the implementation of infrastructure for these technologies must be done in such a way as to limit the negative impact of these technologies on biodiversity (Gasparatos et al., 2017).
- DELUCCHI, M. A. & JACOBSON, M. Z. 2011. Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies. Energy policy [Online], 39. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421510008694.
- GASPARATOS, A., DOLL, C. N., ESTEBAN, M., AHMED, A. & OLANG, T. A. 2017. Renewable energy and biodiversity: Implications for transitioning to a Green Economy. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews [Online], 70. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032116304622.
- IEA 2012. Renewable energy. Policy considerations for deploying renewables. Paris: OECD/IEA.