Thursday, 11 September 2008

Prometheus: The Carbon-Free Energy Gap

A few weeks ago Nature provided an analysis of the prospects for generating carbon-free energy from a range of technologies. Here is a brief summary of their verdicts for each technology for “coming decades” (and where they did not provide numbers I erred on the high side):

Hydropower = 1 TW
Nuclear = 1 TW
Biomass = 0 - ??
Wind = 1.5 TW
Geothermal = 1 TW
Solar = Lots
Ocean = 0

Total = ~4.5 TW + solar

So if the world will need between 11-22 TW of carbon free energy by 2025 to be consistent with a 550 stabilization path, where will that energy come from? This question is rarely addressed.

Here are some other questions:

Can solar provide between 6.5-17.5 TW?

Are there other technologies to fill the gap not discussed by Nature.

How can any cap and trade program ever hope to work if there are not suitable alternatives under a cap?

These are the central questions of mitigation.

This post is lifted and edited from Prometheus:

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