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Renewable Conclusion

Looking through the datasheets, it is clear that there is a wealth of renewable energy waiting to be tapped into, however, many of these renewable devices capture energy from the same source. For example, photovoltaics and solar thermal both capture energy from the sun to operate. As we are unable to capture the same energy […]

Looking through the datasheets, it is clear that there is a wealth of renewable energy waiting to be tapped into, however, many of these renewable devices capture energy from the same source. For example, photovoltaics and solar thermal both capture energy from the sun to operate. As we are unable to capture the same energy twice, we need to decide which device captures each energy source most effectively.

Which Renewable is Cheapest?

To sum everything up, when it comes to the wind, we can use both onshore and offshore turbine devices to capture energy. For solar, we can use photovoltaics, backed up by solar thermal for when the sun goes down. For tidal energy, we can use tidal lagoons, and potentially tidal streams for deeper waters if they become commercially viable. For waves, both nearshore and offshore devices appear to hold equal levels of potential, and we need to invest in finding out which is the most appropriate device. For geothermal, we can use geothermal plants and lastly, to meet both the surges in demand and falls in the availability of renewable energy, we can use biomass. We must make sure to use biomass sparingly though, both due to the amount of land needed to grow the crops and the amount of air pollution that biomass power plants create.

Energy Cost per KWh

Device Life Span

To sum everything up, when it comes to the wind, we can use both onshore and offshore turbine devices to capture energy. For solar, we can use photovoltaics, backed up by solar thermal for when the sun goes down. For tidal energy, we can use tidal lagoons, and potentially tidal streams for deeper waters if they become commercially viable. For waves, both nearshore and offshore devices appear to hold equal levels of potential, and we need to invest in finding out which is the most appropriate device. For geothermal, we can use geothermal plants and lastly, to meet both the surges in demand and falls in the availability of renewable energy, we can use biomass. We must make sure to use biomass sparingly though, both due to the amount of land needed to grow the crops and the amount of air pollution that biomass power plants create.

Payback Period

To sum everything up, when it comes to the wind, we can use both onshore and offshore turbine devices to capture energy. For solar, we can use photovoltaics, backed up by solar thermal for when the sun goes down. For tidal energy, we can use tidal lagoons, and potentially tidal streams for deeper waters if they become commercially viable. For waves, both nearshore and offshore devices appear to hold equal levels of potential, and we need to invest in finding out which is the most appropriate device. For geothermal, we can use geothermal plants and lastly, to meet both the surges in demand and falls in the availability of renewable energy, we can use biomass. We must make sure to use biomass sparingly though, both due to the amount of land needed to grow the crops and the amount of air pollution that biomass power plants create.

Renewable Solution Device Payback Period

Carbon Offset Period

To sum everything up, when it comes to the wind, we can use both onshore and offshore turbine devices to capture energy. For solar, we can use photovoltaics, backed up by solar thermal for when the sun goes down. For tidal energy, we can use tidal lagoons, and potentially tidal streams for deeper waters if they become commercially viable. For waves, both nearshore and offshore devices appear to hold equal levels of potential, and we need to invest in finding out which is the most appropriate device. For geothermal, we can use geothermal plants and lastly, to meet both the surges in demand and falls in the availability of renewable energy, we can use biomass. We must make sure to use biomass sparingly though, both due to the amount of land needed to grow the crops and the amount of air pollution that biomass power plants create.

Device World Potential

To sum everything up, when it comes to the wind, we can use both onshore and offshore turbine devices to capture energy. For solar, we can use photovoltaics, backed up by solar thermal for when the sun goes down. For tidal energy, we can use tidal lagoons, and potentially tidal streams for deeper waters if they become commercially viable. For waves, both nearshore and offshore devices appear to hold equal levels of potential, and we need to invest in finding out which is the most appropriate device. For geothermal, we can use geothermal plants and lastly, to meet both the surges in demand and falls in the availability of renewable energy, we can use biomass. We must make sure to use biomass sparingly though, both due to the amount of land needed to grow the crops and the amount of air pollution that biomass power plants create.

Hello

When it comes to capturing wind energy, we only have one choice – turbines. The only question is whether we concentrate efforts on onshore generation or offshore generation. Both onshore and offshore turbines have the potential to capture large quantities of energy, and both have the potential to do it with little impact on the surrounding environment. However, given a choice, we should opt for onshore turbines. Not only are they about half the price of offshore turbines,1 but they are also easier to maintain and less complex to construct. What’s more, onshore turbines have the potential to meet the entire world’s energy demand,2 while offshore can only meet 6% of this demand.3

Caption to be added.

For harnessing the energy produced by the sun, photovoltaics are the best choice. They are roughly one-third cheaper than solar thermal,4 take up less space,5 and can be utilised in more parts of the world.6 However, there is a rather significant downside to using photovoltaics – they can only supply energy during daylight hours. This contrasts with solar thermal, which can store the sun’s energy and then distribute it overnight.7 As a result, countries with an abundance of solar energy should generally opt to generate around two-thirds of their energy demand using photovoltaics and one-third using solar thermal. By doing this, they can use photovoltaics to meet their demand during daylight hours, and solar thermal to meet their demand when the sun has gone down. Overall, this creates an average cost of around ¢9 per kWh for solar technologies.8

Caption to be added.

When it comes to the world’s rivers, it looks like using hydroelectric dams does more damage than it does good. Not only can they cause immense ecological damage,9 but they can also be responsible for causing more greenhouse gas emissions than an equivalent fossil fuel power plant.10 As a result, we have no choice but to rule out hydroelectric dams as a future energy source. 

To take advantage of tidal movement, tidal lagoons appear to offer the best solution. They are more cost-effective than tidal barrages and cause far less ecological damage.11They are also more developed than tidal streams, which appear at least a decade away from commercial viability.12 Additionally, tidal lagoons can integrate other functions so that they become more than just an energy source.13 Despite this, tidal lagoons can only be used in shallow waters.14 This limits the amount of energy that they can generate to less than 2% of the world’s current demand.15 As a result, further development of tidal streams may still hold value as they could be deployed in waters that are too deep for tidal lagoons.

When it comes to wave energy, there appears to be very little difference between nearshore wave devices and offshore wave devices. Both appear to cost around the same amount,16 both have the same life span,17 both have similar carbon offset periods,18 and both have similar economic offset periods.19 However, there are two key differences we should consider when deciding which device to use. Firstly, nearshore wave devices take up far less space in the water.20 As a result, the loss of fishing areas and shipping routes is minimised. Secondly, current nearshore wave devices appear to be much more efficient at extracting energy from the waves.21 However, as we already know, the amount of energy contained within a wave is much greater out at sea, so if we can make our offshore wave devices more efficient, they will be able to generate much more energy than their nearshore counterparts. All this means that we need to wait and see how wave technologies develop before deciding which offers the best solution. That said, we need to make this decision quickly, as there is quite literally an energy pool the size of an ocean waiting to be exploited. 

As for biomass power plants, we are confronted with two key problems. First, suppose the plantations are poorly sited. In that case, the carbon offset period can be as much as 1,500 years – not much use for reducing our gas emissions to zero by 2050.22 Second, biomass power plants require a huge amount of crops to generate meaningful amounts of energy. In fact, to meet the world’s energy demand using biomass grown from high-energy crops, we would need to use some 65 million square kilometres of land.23 That’s four times the size of today’s global cropland.24 Added to this all the related air pollution, and suddenly biomass doesn’t seem like such a wise idea.25 Despite all this, certain types of biomass power plants do come with a benefit that none of the other renewable devices can boast – biomass power plants can be fired up on demand.26 This means biomass has the potential to meet any surges in our energy demand, as well as supplying energy when the wind isn’t blowing, the waves aren’t rolling, or the tides aren’t flowing. As a result, biomass may well still have a role to play in our future.

When it comes to tapping into the energy contained within our earth’s surface, we really have only one choice – geothermal plants. It is not a bad choice to have though, as geothermal plants take up very little space,27 have minimal impact on the environment,28 and can produce energy cheaper than any other renewable source available.29 Nevertheless, geothermal energy is not available everywhere, and it is estimated that its potential is just some 11% of our current energy demand.30 As such, we need to make sure we maximise every kilowatt of this wonderful energy source.

To sum everything up, when it comes to the wind, we can use both onshore and offshore turbine devices to capture energy. For solar, we can use photovoltaics, backed up by solar thermal for when the sun goes down. For tidal energy, we can use tidal lagoons, and potentially tidal streams for deeper waters if they become commercially viable. For waves, both nearshore and offshore devices appear to hold equal levels of potential, and we need to invest in finding out which is the most appropriate device. For geothermal, we can use geothermal plants and lastly, to meet both the surges in demand and falls in the availability of renewable energy, we can use biomass. We must make sure to use biomass sparingly though, both due to the amount of land needed to grow the crops and the amount of air pollution that biomass power plants create.

How Do Renewables Perform Against Fossil Fuels?

So, what would happen if we shut down all our power plants and switched entirely to renewable energy? To answer this question, let’s look at the four big criticisms that are levelled against renewable devices – their cost, their reliability, the amount of space they take up, and the amount of energy they can capture.31

The Cost of a Renewable Future

As we now know, the cost of generating electricity from fossil fuels ranges from around ¢7 per kWh using gas to around ¢9.5 per kWh when using coal.32 Nuclear also has a similar price at ¢9.5 per kWh.33 So how do our renewable counterparts perform against these prices? Well, when it comes to onshore turbines, photovoltaics and geothermal, they perform exceptionally well. In fact, with prices ranging from ¢5 per kWh to ¢8 per kWh,34 all three provide cheaper electricity than coal or nuclear, while geothermal even provides cheaper electricity than gas. Biomass also seems to offer a competitive alternative, costing just half a cent more than coal or nuclear.35

Things start to look less rosy when it comes to solar thermal and offshore turbines though. At ¢12,36 solar thermal is nearly double the price of electricity from gas and around 25% more than coal or nuclear. With offshore turbines, things are even worse. At a cost of ¢15 per kWh,37 they are around twice the cost of gas and around 60% more than coal or nuclear. This makes putting an economic case forward for these two energy devices very difficult. Things get worse too when it comes to tidal lagoons, nearshore wave devices and offshore wave devices. All of these devices come at a cost of some ¢18 per kWh.38 This makes them nearly three times the cost of gas and nearly twice the cost of coal or nuclear. Furthermore, when it comes to nearshore and offshore wave energy, they both have a lifespan of just 20 years.39 That means, during the typical 40-year lifespan of a coal power plant,40 we would have to build two of each wave generator. Things are a little different when it comes to tidal lagoons though. With a minimum lifespan of some 120 years,41 they can provide an incredibly cheap long-term energy source. In fact, if you average the cost over the entire lifespan of a tidal lagoon, it would cost as little as ¢6 per kWh.42 That’s less than the price of electricity generated by coal, gas and nuclear.

So, what does this all mean? Well, it means that while we have some renewable devices that cost more than fossil fuels, we also have a broad range of renewable devices that are extremely cost-competitive. Specifically, these are onshore turbines, photovoltaics, geothermal plants and biomass. It also means, if we take a long-term view, tidal lagoons could provide a very sound investment. As such, there should be little difficulty meeting all of our energy demand for the same cost as fossil fuels using renewable devices.

The Reliability of a Renewable Future

When it comes to reliability, we really can’t fault our fossil fuel power plants. Effectively, they have been supplying us with a consistent source of energy for more than 100 years. Today, this reliability is mainly achieved through a combination of careful planning and a limited number of simple cycle power plants.43 These power plants, which are less efficient than the standard power plants,44 can start-up in as little as 15 seconds.45 This makes them perfect for any unexpected peaks in demand. However, what happens when it comes to renewable energy? How do we adapt to fluctuations in demand? Furthermore, what happens when the wind stops blowing and the clouds block out the sun? How exactly do we deal with fluctuations such as these?

To minimise the fluctuations, we need to create what is known as a balanced energy grid. This consists of a broad mix of large-scale renewable energy devices, all interconnected together so that they can provide us with a continuous source of energy, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Let us take the UK as an example. If we constructed one giant wind farm, the country would be inundated with blackouts. This is because, whenever the wind stopped blowing, there would be no energy to meet the country’s burgeoning demand. However, if we constructed several wind farms scattered throughout the country, we would be in a much stronger position. This is because we can take advantage of the country’s varying weather patterns to produce a more consistent energy stream. Moreover, if we mix in several large scale photovoltaic arrays, a very consistent energy stream can be created.

Despite our best efforts though, there will be days when both the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. To accommodate days like these, our energy grids need to stretch across international borders so that we can tap into additional renewable resources elsewhere. For example, on a summer’s day in the UK, when wind speeds are low, energy could be purchased from Spain where vast fields of photovoltaic panels could take advantage of an abundance of sunlight. Vice versa, on cloudy winter days, Spain could tap into the excess energy generated in the UK. These are just two countries though. Imagine if every country was connected to one enormous energy grid, whereby energy was readily passed from one to the other in order to meet everyone’s demand. Imagine if we also introduced a combination of quick-start biomass power plants and solar thermal storage devices to provide a backup for the rare occasions there is a global shortage. Suddenly, accommodating peaks and fluctuations with renewable devices does not seem quite so difficult. In fact, all we need to do is start working and building together.

The Viability of a Renewable Future

The next criticism aimed at renewable devices is that they can’t capture energy everywhere. This criticism seems to have much less credence, as in reality, it is fossil fuels that have less availability. This is because most of the world’s coal, gas and oil reserves are contained within a handful of countries.46 In contrast, no matter which continent you are in, there is an abundant source of renewable energy waiting to be captured. Starting with Europe, the south benefits from an abundance of sunlight, offering huge potential for solar technologies. In the north, there is a combination of high wind speeds and large changes in tidal levels, all of which can be taken advantage of using onshore turbines, offshore turbines and tidal devices. To add to this, countries such as France, Germany, Spain, and Turkey have the potential to meet substantial portions of their energy demand by hooking into the earth’s geothermal tap.47 In North America, just about every type of renewable energy is available for capture. From the bright sun that shines down on the deserts to the strong winds that blow across the central states of the United States, and the huge tidal streams that flow into Canada. Quite simply, there should be no excuse for constructing any energy source other than renewable devices. In South America, there is enormous potential for solar energy as well as a good abundance of wind resources. The continent also benefits from a rich source of untapped geothermal energy, plus a wealth of degraded land that could be utilised for biomass crop production. In Asia, a mix of high wind speeds, an abundance of sunlight and the huge tidal streams offer a substantial pool of energy to meet the population’s demand. In Australia, a wealth of sunlight can be found, as well as a surprising amount of wind energy that could easily meet the continent’s demand. Finally, in Africa, high wind speeds, a good quantity of geothermal energy and the greatest abundance of solar energy on the planet means that not only could the continent meet all its energy demand, but much of Europe’s and Asia’s too. All this means that no matter what continent you are on, there is an abundance of renewable energy waiting to be tapped into.

The Practicalities of a Renewable Future

The final criticism levelled at renewable devices is that they take up too much space, and this criticism does come with some merit. In Europe, by using a combination of wind power and solar power, the entire continent’s energy demand would require some 665,000 square kilometres.48 That’s an area roughly the size of France.49 Furthermore, in North America, the entire energy demand would require some 595,000 square kilometres of the land.50 That’s an area roughly equivalent to Texas.51 These are not small areas, and significant planning would be required to make areas of this magnitude available. When it comes to the rest of the world though, much less area is required. In South America, the entire energy demand can be supplied by covering some 155,000 square kilometres.52 That’s less than 2% of Brazil.53 In Asia, the entire continent’s energy demand could be met by covering some 1,000,000 square kilometres.54 That’s around 10% of China.55 Lastly, Africa could meet all of its energy demand and more by covering just 35,000 square kilometres of land with a combination of photovoltaics and solar thermal arrays.56 This means that all of Africa’s energy demand could be met by covering less than 4% of Egypt.57 When we add everything up, it means, very crudely, we can power all of the world’s energy demand using just 2% of the planet’s land.58

Added to this, much of this land can still be utilised for crops and pastures. As such, while the criticism that renewables take up too much space does have some credence, generally, we would not have to sacrifice that much land to meet today’s energy demand.

The Renewable Solution

Altogether, it becomes clear that if we use a mix of large scale renewable sources as part of a well-balanced energy grid, not only do renewable devices have the potential to meet the world’s energy demand, but they have the potential to do this very cost-effectively. What’s more, we can do it using just 1.5% of the planet’s land. As a result, there is simply no excuse for our governments to persist in using fossil fuels to meet our energy demand.

Small hydro power plant in Turkey

Article Endnotes

  1. Based on onshore turbines costing 7 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy and offshore turbines costing 15 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy. Sourced from International Energy Agency – ‘Projected Costs of Generating Electricity’ (2010) – Page 62.
  2. Based on onshore turbines having a global potential of 105 PWh of energy. Sourced from Hoogwijk, Monique and Graus, Wina – ‘Global Potential of Renewable Energy Sources: A Literature Assessment’ – Page 39.
  3. Based on offshore turbines having a global potential of 6 PWh of energy. Sourced from Hoogwijk, Monique and Graus, Wina – ‘Global Potential of Renewable Energy Sources: A Literature Assessment’ – Page 39.
  4. Based on photovoltaics costing 8 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy and solar thermal plants costing 12 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy. Sourced from Lazard – ‘Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 8.0’ – Page 16.
  5. Based on photovoltaics generating 300 GWh of electricity per square kilometre and solar thermal plants generating 130 GWh of energy per square kilometre. Electricity generated by photovoltaics based on photovoltaic cells having an efficiency of 20%, 2,000 kWh of sunlight striking each square metre per year and the photovoltaic cells covering 75% of each square metre exposed. Energy generated by solar thermal plants based on 15 watts of energy being generated per square metre. Data sourced from MacKay, David J.C. – ‘Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air’ – Page 178.
  6. Based on map data sourced from the ‘Photovoltaics’ and ‘Solar Thermal Plants’ datasheets.
  7. International Energy Agency – ‘Technology Roadmap: Solar Thermal Energy’ – Page 13.
  8. Based on photovoltaics costing 8 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy and solar thermal plants costing 12 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy. Sourced from Lazard – ‘Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 8.0’ – Page 16.
  9. International Rivers – ‘Environmental Impacts of Dams’ – www.internationalrivers.org.
  10. International Rivers – ‘Dirty Hydro: Dams and Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ – Page 4.
  11. Cost effectiveness based on tidal barrages costing 33 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy and tidal lagoons costing 17 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy. Tidal barrage costs based on estimates sourced from House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee – ‘Memorandum Submitted by Parsons Brinkerhoff Ltd’ – Paragraph 15. Tidal lagoon costs based on volume-weighted average and sourced from Pöyry Management Consulting – ‘Levelised Costs of Power from Tidal Lagoons’ – Page 2. Ecological damage based on the destruction of wildlife habitats and the interruptions to marine animals’ travel routes due to the construction of tidal barrages. Sourced from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) – ‘Tidal Power: In or Out?’ – nerc.ac.uk.
  12. Based on predicted costs for tidal streams being more than 18 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy until beyond 2025. Sourced from The Carbon Trust – ‘Accelerating Marine Energy’ – Page 36.
  13. Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay PLC – ‘Project Benefits’ – www.tidallagoonswanseabay.com.
  14. Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay PLC – ‘Project Introduction’ – Page 5.
  15. Based on the annual global potential of tidal head energy available in shallow waters being 2500 PWh and tidal lagoons having a capacity factor of around 60%. Annual global potential sourced from International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) – ‘Global Energy Assessment (GEA)’ – Page 853. Capacity factor sourced from Excell, Jon – ‘Your Questions Answered: Tidal Lagoons’ – www.theengineer.co.uk.
  16. Based on nearshore wave devices and offshore wave devices both costing 18 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy. Costs based on a predicted 2035 price inclusive of accelerated cost reduction. Sourced from The Carbon Trust – ‘Accelerating Marine Energy’ – Page 36.
  17. Based on nearshore wave devices and offshore wave devices both having a lifespan of 20 years. Onshore lifespan sourced from Sutherland, Andrew – ‘Application for a Marine Licence Under Part 4 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 to Construct and Operate 40-50 Oyster Wave Energy Converters Off Staca Mhic Cubhaig, Approximately 2 Km North of Siadar, Lewis’ – Page 12. Offshore wave device lifespan sourced from Greenemeier, Larry – ‘Turning the Tide on Harnessing the Ocean’s Abundant Energy’ – www.scientificamerican.com.
  18. Based on nearshore wave devices having a carbon offset period of 8 months and offshore wave devices having an energy offset period of 20 months. Offset period for nearshore wave energy sourced from Walker, Stuart – ‘Life Cycle Comparison of a Wave and Tidal Energy Device’ – Page 3. Offshore wave energy offset period sourced from Ecogeneration – ‘Pelamis Wave Power Powers Up in North Portugal’ – ecogeneration.com.au.
  19. Based on nearshore wave devices and offshore wave devices both having a calculated economic offset period of 20 years. Calculation undertaken within the ‘Renewable Solution’ section of the ‘ZERO EMISSION WORLD Energy Database’ and lifespans sourced from The Carbon Trust – ‘Accelerating Marine Energy’ – Page 14.
  20. Based on nearshore wave devices generating 3,790 GWh of electricity per square kilometre and offshore wave devices generating 100 GWh of electricity per square kilometre. Electricity generated by nearshore wave devices based on wave energy providing an average of 350 MWh of energy per year per metre of coastline, a 50% loss due to the proximity to the coastline and a 35% loss due to coastal device inefficiencies. Offshore wave energy data  sourced from MacKay, David J.C. – ‘Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air’ – Page 74. Coastal losses sourced from Henry et al. – ‘Advances in the Design of the Oyster Wave Energy Converter’ – Page 2. Losses due to device inefficiencies assume a 24-metre-wide device and is sourced from Henry et al. – ‘Advances in the Design of the Oyster Wave Energy Converter’ – Page 6. Device length assumes twice the depth of the water (30 metres). Electricity generated by offshore wave devices based on the Pelamis device and assumes a rated power of 750 kW, a 60% loss due to offshore device inefficiencies and 39 devices in three rows occupying an area of about 400 metres long and 2,500 metres wide. Number of devices sourced from MacKay, David J.C. – ‘Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air’ – Page 309. Rated power and device inefficiencies sourced from Carcas, Max – ‘The Pelamis Wave Energy Converter’ – Page 2.
  21. Based on nearshore wave devices capturing 65% of a waves energy and offshore wave devices capturing up to 40% of a waves energy. Energy captured by nearshore wave devices based on a 24-metre-wide device and sourced from Henry et al. – ‘Advances in the Design of the Oyster Wave Energy Converter’ – Page 6. Energy captured by offshore devices based on the Pelamis device and sourced from Carcas, Max – ‘The Pelamis Wave Energy Converter’ – Page 2.
  22. Gibbs et al. – ‘Carbon Payback Times for Crop-Based Biofuel Expansion in the Tropics: The Effects of Changing Yield and Technology’ – Page 4.
  23. Based on 0.5 watts of energy being generated per square metre of high-energy crops and biomass power plants being 40% efficient. Energy production sourced from MacKay, David J.C. – ‘Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air’ – Page 43. Biomass power plant efficiency sourced from International Energy Agency – ‘Biomass for Power Generation and CHP’ – Page 2. Figure includes losses of 2% due to power conditioning and 6.5% due to transmission and distribution. Power conditioning losses based on data sourced from Fuji Electric – ‘Large-scale Photovoltaic Power Generation Systems’ – Page 7. Transmission and distribution losses based on 2007 data for the United States and sourced from United States Department of Energy – ‘Frequently Asked Questions – Electricity’ – tonto.eia.doe.gov. Figures presented do not include losses due to fertiliser and water treatment.
  24. Based on there being 15.6 million square kilometres of cropland in 2007. Sourced from Alexandratos, Nikos and Bruinsma, Jelle – ‘World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050: The 2012 Revision’ – Page 11.
  25. Air pollution sourced from Union of Concerned Scientists – ‘Benefits of Renewable Energy Use’ – www.ucsusa.org.
  26. Ballista et al. – ‘Biomass: Fueling the next era of power generation in Europe’ – Page 26.
  27. Based on geothermal plants generating 200 GWh of energy per square kilometre. Figure calculated based on 1,000 GWh of energy being generated per five square kilometres of land. Sourced from Trieb et al. – ‘Concentrating Solar Power for the Mediterranean Region’ – Page 166.
  28. Based on no significant damage being caused to the environment by Geothermal plants being identified within our research.
  29. Based on the prices listed within the datasheets.
  30. Based on geothermal plants having the potential to supply 12 PWh of electricity. Sourced from Hoogwijk, Monique and Graus, Wina – ‘Global Potential of Renewable Energy Sources: A Literature Assessment’ – Page 39.
  31. Conserve Energy Future – ‘What is Renewable Energy?’ – www.conserve-energy-future.com.
  32. Gas price based on June 2015 data for an advanced gas-fired combined cycle power plant. Coal price based on June 2015 data for an advanced coal power plant. Prices sourced from the United States Energy Information Administration – ‘Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2015’ – Page 6.
  33. Based on June 2015 data for an advanced nuclear power plant. Sourced from United States Energy Information Administration – ‘Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2015’ – Page 6.
  34. Based on onshore turbines costing 7 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy, photovoltaics costing 8 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy and geothermal plants having a price of 5 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy. Onshore turbines price sourced from International Energy Agency – ‘Projected Costs of Generating Electricity’ (2010) – Page 62. Photovoltaics price sourced from Lazard – ‘Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 8.0’ – Page 16. Geothermal plants price sourced from Energy Information Administration – ‘Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2015’ – Page 6.
  35. Based on projected biomass power plant costs for 2020 of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity. Sourced from United States Energy Information Administration – ‘Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2015’ – Page 6.
  36. Lazard – ‘Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Version 8.0’ – Page 16.
  37. International Energy Agency – ‘Projected Costs of Generating Electricity’ (2010) – Page 62.
  38. Tidal lagoons based on volume-weighted average and sourced from Pöyry Management Consulting – ‘Levelised Costs of Power from Tidal Lagoons’ – Page 2. Nearshore wave devices and offshore wave devices based on a predicted 2035 price inclusive of accelerated cost reduction. Sourced from The Carbon Trust – ‘Accelerating Marine Energy’ – Page 36.
  39. Onshore lifespan sourced from Sutherland, Andrew – ‘Application for a Marine Licence Under Part 4 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 to Construct and Operate 40-50 Oyster Wave Energy Converters Off Staca Mhic Cubhaig, Approximately 2 Km North of Siadar, Lewis’ – Page 12. Offshore wave device lifespan sourced from Greenemeier, Larry – ‘Turning the Tide on Harnessing the Ocean’s Abundant Energy’ – www.scientificamerican.com.
  40. Coal power plant lifespan sourced from International Energy Agency Clean Coal Centre – ‘Life Extension of Coal-Fired Power Plants’ – Page 1.
  41. Tidal Lagoon PLC – ‘Tidal Lagoon Power’ – Page 5.
  42. Based on a cost of 18 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy for 35 years and an operation cost of 1.1 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy for 85 years. Operation cost calculated using ‘Lagoon 2’ sourced from Pöyry Management Consulting – ‘Levelised Costs of Power from Tidal Lagoons’ – Page 2.
  43. Gore, Al – ‘Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis’ – Page 281.
  44. Based on simple cycle power plants having an average efficiency of 33% and combined cycle power plants being able to achieve efficiencies of 60%. Simple cycle power plant efficiency sourced from Wärtsilä – ‘Combined Cycle Plant for Power Generation: Introduction’ – www.wartsila.com. Combined cycle power plant efficiency sourced from Siemens AG – ‘Gas Turbine SGT5-8000H’ – www.energy.siemens.com.
  45. Gore, Al – ‘Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis’ – Page 280.
  46. Based on 76% of coal reserves being found in the USA, Russia, Australia, China and India; 63% of gas reserves being found in Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE; and 61.5% of oil reserves being found in the Middle East. Sourced from British Petroleum – ‘BP Statistical Review of World Energy’ – Pages 6, 20 and 30.
  47. Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek and the European Geothermal Energy Council – ‘Prospective Study on the Geothermal Electricity Potential in the EU in 2020/2030/2050’ – Page 24.
  48. Based on Europe and Eurasia having a combined energy demand of 23.1 million GWh, 40% of this demand being met by photovoltaics, 40% from onshore turbines, 20% from solar thermal plants, a 2% loss due to power conditioning and a 6.5% loss due to transmission and distribution. Europe and Eurasia energy demand based on 2012 data. OECD Europe energy demand based on 2012 data and sourced from International Energy Agency – ‘OECD Europe: Balances for 2012’ – www.iea.org. Non-OECD Europe and Eurasia energy demand based on 2012 data and sourced from International Energy Agency – ‘Non-OECD Europe and Eurasia: Balances for 2012’ – www.iea.org. Power conditioning losses based on data sourced from Fuji Electric – ‘Large-scale Photovoltaic Power Generation Systems’ – Page 7. Transmission and distribution losses based on 2007 data for the United States and sourced from United States Department of Energy – ‘Frequently Asked Questions – Electricity’ – tonto.eia.doe.gov.
  49. Based on France having a land area of 547,557 square kilometres. Sourced from The World Bank – ‘Land Area (SQ. KM)’ – data.worldbank.org.
  50. Figure based on American OECD countries having a combined energy demand of 20.6 million GWh, 40% of this demand being met by photovoltaics, 40% from onshore turbines, 20% from solar thermal plants, a 2% loss due to power conditioning and a 6.5% loss due to transmission and distribution. American OECD countries energy demand based on 2012 data and sourced from International Energy Agency – ‘OECD Americas: Balances for 2012’ – www.iea.org. Power conditioning losses based on data sourced from Fuji Electric – ‘Large-scale Photovoltaic Power Generation Systems’ – Page 7. Transmission and distribution losses based on 2007 data for the United States and sourced from United States Department of Energy – ‘Frequently Asked Questions – Electricity’ – tonto.eia.doe.gov.
  51. Based on Texas having a land area of 678,051 square kilometres. Sourced from Worldatlas.com – ‘U.S. States by Size’ – www.worldatlas.com.
  52. Figure based on American non-OECD countries having a combined energy demand of 5.4 million GWh, 40% of this demand being met by photovoltaics, 40% from onshore turbines, 20% from solar thermal plants, a 2% loss due to power conditioning and a 6.5% loss due to transmission and distribution. American non-OECD countries energy demand based on 2012 data and sourced from International Energy Agency – Non-OECD Americas: Balances for 2012′ – www.iea.org. Power conditioning losses based on data sourced from Fuji Electric – ‘Large-scale Photovoltaic Power Generation Systems’ – Page 7. Transmission and distribution losses based on 2007 data for the United States and sourced from United States Department of Energy – ‘Frequently Asked Questions – Electricity’ – tonto.eia.doe.gov.
  53. Based on Brazil having a land area of 8,358,140 square kilometres. Sourced from The World Bank – ‘Land Area (SQ. KM)’ – data.worldbank.org.
  54. Figure based on Asia having a combined energy demand of 34.8 million GWh, 40% of this demand being met by photovoltaics, 40% from onshore turbines, 20% from solar thermal plants, a 2% loss due to power conditioning and a 6.5% loss due to transmission and distribution. China energy demand based on 2012 data and sourced from International Energy Agency – ‘China (People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong China): Balances for 2012’ – www.iea.org. Asia energy demand excluding China based on 2012 data and sourced from and International Energy Agency – ‘Asia excluding China: Balances for 2012’ – www.iea.org. Power conditioning losses based on data sourced from Fuji Electric – ‘Large-scale Photovoltaic Power Generation Systems’ – Page 7. Transmission and distribution losses based on 2007 data for the United States and sourced from United States Department of Energy – ‘Frequently Asked Questions – Electricity’ – tonto.eia.doe.gov.
  55. Based on China having a land area of 9,388,211 square kilometres. Sourced from The World Bank – ‘Land Area (SQ. KM)’ – data.worldbank.org.
  56. Figure based on Africa having a combined energy demand of 6.3 million GWh, 40% of this demand being met by solar thermal plants, 60% being met by photovoltaics, a 2% loss due to power conditioning and a 6.5% loss due to transmission and distribution. Africa energy demand based on 2012 data and sourced from International Energy Agency – ‘Africa: Balances for 2012’ – www.iea.org. Power conditioning losses based on data sourced from Fuji Electric – ‘Large-scale Photovoltaic Power Generation Systems’ – Page 7. Transmission and distribution losses based on 2007 data for the United States and sourced from United States Department of Energy – ‘Frequently Asked Questions – Electricity’ – tonto.eia.doe.gov.
  57. Based on Egypt having a land area of 995,450 square kilometres. Sourced from The World Bank – ‘Land Area (SQ. KM)’ – data.worldbank.org.
  58. Based on the world having a total land area of 149 million square kilometres. Sourced from Central Intelligence Agency – ‘World’ – www.cia.gov.

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