The sun sends 470 exajoules of energy to the earth every 88 minutes. This is how much energy the earth uses each year. If we captured just 1% of the sun’s energy this would still give a 6 times more electricity than we need.
In a similar vein, if wind turbines collected just 20% of the wind energy on earth this would be 8 times what the entire world uses each year.
In terms of area, to generate all the power that the earth needs (using current efficiency) we would need roughly 1 million square km or about 11% of the Sahara desert. Obviously, this is an oversimplification, but it shows that the world is more than capable of running on clean energy.
The energy is there to be used, we just need to undertake it at speed. Vested interests in fossil fuel companies have fought aggressively against this move for decades. Their time must be over, the world can and must clean up its act.
There has been much conversation about how to power the world on green electricity.
One suggestion would be to fill the Sahara with solar panels. This would allow us to generate all the worlds power in a sustainable way (of course the world would need a significant amount of batteries as well for when the sun isn’t shining in the Sahara – it may be one of the sunniest places, but it is still night half the time.
With incredibly cold weather hitting Texas (for instance the beach is covered in snow), Fox News has been making a big thing of the fact that some of the wind turbines are not turning supposedly because they froze – and that this is the cause of the blackouts.
This is factually incorrect. According to data from the Texas government wind turbine shutdowns accounted for less than 13% of the total outage. A bigger problem is freezing of oil and gas equipment throughout the state.
First of all this statistic is quite astounding. The drop in the cost of both wind power and and solar has been so significant over the last few years that once the preserve of wealthy countries it will soon be cheaper than anything else.
The astounding thing about this statistic though is that this is not only where you are building a grid from scratch, but wind and solar will soon be cheaper even if you have a prebuilt coal power plant. It is thought that this date will occur around about 20:30