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View Diary: New Report: Solar could provide 100% of world's energy needs by 2050 using only 1% of world's land (204 comments)

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  •  If we aren't there yet (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JamesGG, greengemini, alwaysquestion

    it's probably a matter of years before solar is as if not more cost-efficient as fossil, once you factor in all the externalities of fossil.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:04:20 PM PST

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    •  My question was less about cost-efficiency... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alwaysquestion

      ...and more about raw materials, refining/synthesizing capacity, geography, etc. As in, if money and geopolitics were no object, would it be possible for the human race to do?

      Do we have enough raw materials and manufacturing capacity to build enough PV cells to generate 100% of the 2050 human race's power needs?

      Do we have enough raw materials, manufacturing capacity, and technological development to transmit and distribute that energy from the sunny equatorial regions to places where solar-generation capacity is lower, and to reliably store that energy in order to make it a baseload energy source?

      Again, I'm not asking this skeptically, but honestly, as my last impression had been that it wasn't practically feasible, and it would fill me with great hope to find out that my impression about that is based on outdated or inaccurate information.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:13:04 PM PST

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      •  Yes there are enough raw materials (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lurkyloo, marsanges, pat bunny

        and we could scale up fairly easily if we wanted to.  Reminds me of Roosevelt in WWII.  The automobile companies thought Roosevelt was asking them to retool to build planes, tanks, etc. and expressed some doubts that they could do it, and of course, they didn't want to stop selling cars. He then said basically, "You don't understand.  You are going to build planes and tanks and you are not going to sell cars."  We make so much useless crap these days that just goes to landfills.  Why not build something useful instead. We have high unemployment.  We have college grads that can't get jobs.  Why not use their talent, it is a matter of collective will.

        I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

        by Eric Blair on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:46:59 PM PST

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      •  In terms of technology, materials, labor, (0+ / 0-)

        manufacturing capacity, etc., I've no doubt that this can be done. Of course you can't look at any of this without factoring in money, not just on the solar side, but against the fully-loaded costs of fossil fuels including externalities. I bet we've already crossed that line, and only massive pressure from the fossil fuel industry prevents us from acting on it.

        I even suspect that someday we'll come up with an ingenious way to tap into the rising temperature of the atmosphere and earth so as to not only capture some of it for energy purposes, but slowly cool the atmosphere and earth. (Ok, I admit that I'm in sci-fi territory here, but one can dream.)

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:26:01 PM PST

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