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100% renewable power system possible by 2050: Study

13 Apr 2019, 01:57 ( 6 Months ago)

DF Report
File Photo: Lapland Material Bank by Photokrafix.

A global, 100% renewable electricity system can be achieved by 2050, according to a study of Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT).

The recent study described the steps required to enable a realistic transition that prevents societal disruption, said a press release.

The research article "Radical transformation pathway towards sustainable electricity via evolutionary steps" was recently published by the leading journal in natural sciences, Nature Communications. It is the first time in the history of the journal that a research article in the field of 100% renewable energy is published.

A transition towards long-term sustainability in global energy systems based on renewable energy (later also "RE") resources can mitigate several growing threats to human society simultaneously: greenhouse gas emissions, human-induced climate deviations, and the exceeding of critical planetary boundaries.

However, the optimal structure of future systems and potential transition pathways have so far remained open questions.

The recent LUT research article published in Nature Communications describes a global, 100% RE system, which can be achieved by 2050, and the steps required to enable a realistic transition that prevents societal disruption.

Modelling results show that a carbon neutral electricity system can be built in all regions of the world in a technically feasible and economically viable manner. This radial transformation will require steady but evolutionary changes for the next 35 years, and will lead to sustainable and affordable power supply globally.

Such an energy system is economically viable, at a levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of 52 €/MWh.

"This is substantially less the the present 70 €/MWh", said Christian Breyer, head of the Solar Economy group at LUT. Breyer continues that by 2050, solar photovoltaic (PV) will be the main source of electricity, generating almost 70% of all electricity, and wind nearly 18%.

"This leads to solar PV dominated electricity supply in most regions, especially in the Sun Belt, a few wind or hydropower dominated regions and several regions characterised by a mix of the three main renewable electricity sources, mainly in the northern hemisphere such as North America, Europe and Eurasia" said Dmitrii Bogdanov, lead researcher for this study.