ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Best Way To Get To 100% New Energy
What's missing from the 100% renewable energy debate; Media coverage of a scholarly feud over fuel mix transition misses the broader implications of cross-sector decarbonization
Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 3, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Jacobson emerged from this debate with greater popular influence and his push for 100% New Energy has gathered momentum.
Stanford professor Mark Jacobson continues to advocate vigorously for a 100% renewables future for the U.S. and the world. A recent paper by former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist Christopher Clack and 21 scientists questioned Jacobson’s assumptions. A 2015 paper written by a Jacobson-led team argued electrification of all U.S. energy sectors can be done by 2050 with almost 100% wind, water, and solar (WWS) resources, plus energy storage. Clack, now CEO of renewable energy software firm Vibrant Clean Energy, argued that 100% renewables is a “valuable hypothetical aspiration” but should not be presented as a scientific fact because there are political, technical, and economic barriers and more work is needed to get to very high renewables penetrations.
Jacobson responded that Clack's critique contains intentional misinformation and does not disprove his conclusions. Clack said Jacobson offered an important “aspirational goal” but its science needed corrections. A key emerging strategy to more cost-effectively get to a 100% renewables penetration is cross-sectoral (a.k.a. intersectoral) coupling. Janice Lin, the California Energy Storage Association Executive Director, said Europe’s limited supply diversity has led to thinking about electrification of “a much bigger energy circle” that includes the transportation, building heating and cooling, and water heating sectors… click here for more