When an idea reaches critical mass it becomes an
unstoppable force. When enough people in business, government, academia and
the general public believe in and commit to something, the momentum carries it
to the rest of society. For 20 years GENI has been pushing the solution to “link
renewable energy resources around the world,” and we have finally reached
critical mass in a few places.
We offer two examples that illustrate this growing
commitment. The Australian National University and the Univ. of Melbourne
Energy Institute recently released their plan to transition the economy to 100%
renewable energy in ten years. By building large solar and wind farms and
high-voltage interconnections, the researchers make a compelling case for
reliable, cost-competitive power for the continent in a decade. One technology
that can be utilized in any desert is the solar thermal tower (using molten
salt), which can provide clean energy 24 hours a day.
In California, there’s a Renewable Portfolio Standard
requirement of 20% by 2010 and 33% by 2020. The Public Utilities Commission
has been reviewing numerous project proposals, and recently approved a dozen
utility-scale solar projects in the Southern California desert. Several solar
technologies will be developed and connected into the transmission grid. The
untapped potential of the world’s deserts is virtually unlimited – and could
supply all the planet’s electrical energy needs.
We are encouraged by these commitments. What’s
needed now is for every national university in every nation to conduct is
similar study – to access the renewable energy potential of their region and a
plan for the transition. Our request: share this report with the top
engineering departments in your state and nation, and ask them for a similar
assessment and 10 year plan.
In partnership for the planet,