Manufacturing News from the Engineered Designer Perspective

Could the Future of Energy be Entirely Renewable?

As the world shifts toward greener alternatives to fossil fuels and eco-friendly lifestyles, we begin to wonder just how far we are capable of going. Are there enough options and resources available to meet all our energy needs in environmentally-friendly ways? Is the vision of a green future with 100 per cent renewable energy feasible? That is the type of question that scientists around the world have been attempting to answer.

Benjamin Heard, a researcher specializing in Ecology and Environmental Science, led a team of colleagues in an effort to do just that. Leaning more toward the skeptical side, Heard posed the question of feasibility for many green energy systems currently in place. His primary question was whether these systems could survive extreme weather events, while maintaining grid stability. Heard and his team made their case against 100 per cent renewable energy in a review paper, which they published last year in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

“We identified published scenarios that have attempted to address the challenge of providing electricity supply entirely from renewable sources,” said the researchers in their paper. The team laid out a list of criteria upon which they relied when testing the feasibility of these energy sources.

  • Scenarios had to be published after 2006, a cut-off date which restricted testing to only the most recent, viable solutions.
  • Scenarios must propose electricity supply to be from at least 95 per cent renewable sources, which could include any combination of methods… wind or solar power, hydroelectricity, biomass, etc.
  • Scenarios must consider large-scale demand areas, such as extensive regions, entire nations, or the Earth as a whole.
  • Scenarios were only weighted according to forecasts to the year 2050 or earlier.

“While many modeled scenarios have been published claiming to show that a 100 per cent renewable electricity system is achievable, there is no empirical or historical evidence that demonstrates that such systems are in fact feasible,” said Heard and his colleagues.

Since publication, the paper has sparked debate amongst scientists, as many have come forward to counter the claims made by Heard and his colleagues. Researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Delft University of Technology, and Aalborg University have all analyzed the hundreds of studies and found that Heard’s arguments against the feasibility of these systems were unfounded. They combined their expertise and studies to issue a formal response to Heard’s paper.

“While several of the issues raised by the Heard paper are important, you have to realize that there are technical solutions to all the points they raised, using today’s technology,” said response lead author Dr. Tom Brown of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

According to Professor Christian Breyer of Lappeenranta University of Technology, the solutions are also “absolutely affordable,” particularly as wind and solar power are becoming less expensive over time.

“There are some persistent myths that 100 per cent renewable systems are not possible,” said Professor Brian Vad Mathiesen of Aalborg University. “Out contribution deals with these myths one-by-one, using all the latest research. Now, let’s get back to the business of modeling low-cost scenarios to eliminate fossil fuels from our energy system so we can tackle the climate and health challenges they pose.”

Latest Stories

Volvo to Expand Production of XC40 SUV in Europe and China

Volvo to Expand Production of XC40 SUV in Europe and China

​Volvo is expanding production of its XC40 SUV in Europe and China in an effort to meet rising demand. According to the company, nearly 80,000 orders have been placed for the SUV, which prompted the company to expand production at its Ghent manufacturing facility. Production capacity will be added at the company’s Luqiao plant in…

Nexen Energy Expansion Announced

Nexen Energy Expansion Announced

​Nexen Energy recently announced that it will spend approximately $400 billion on a 26,000-barrel-per-day expansion of its Long Lake oil sands project in northern Alberta. Plans include adding three steam-driven well pads that will send bitumen to its existing facilities. According to a company spokesperson, site preparation has already begun, with production slated to being…

How Greener Grids Can Stay Lit

How Greener Grids Can Stay Lit

​California recently made headlines after becoming the first state to require solar panels on all new homes. While the move seems at first glance as a major step in the right direction, it also poses a lot of questions regarding the feasibility of the move and its effect on existing distribution networks. ​In order to…

Jaguar Land Rover Set to Move Discovery Production from United Kingdom to Slovakia

Jaguar Land Rover Set to Move Discovery Production from United Kingdom to Slovakia

​Jaguar Land Rover is gearing up for a move from a plant near Birmingham, England to one in Slovakia, a move that is facing criticism as it jeopardizes hundreds of jobs. The company stated in April that approximately 1,000 posts currently filled by workers on short-term contracts would be eliminated following the move and that…

Elon Musk’s Boring Company Making Waves with Latest Announcement

Elon Musk’s Boring Company Making Waves with Latest Announcement

​Elon Musk’s Boring Company gained worldwide attention when Chicago chose the company to build a futuristic, high-speed transportation link between downtown Chicago and the O’Hare Airport. ​“We’re really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago!” said The Boring Company via Twitter. The system,…

Could the Future of Energy be Entirely Renewable?

Could the Future of Energy be Entirely Renewable?

​As the world shifts toward greener alternatives to fossil fuels and eco-friendly lifestyles, we begin to wonder just how far we are capable of going. Are there enough options and resources available to meet all our energy needs in environmentally-friendly ways? Is the vision of a green future with 100 per cent renewable energy feasible?…

Airbus and Bombardier Finalize Deal

Airbus and Bombardier Finalize Deal

​According to a dual announcement earlier this month, Airbus and Bombardier have finalized the C Series partnership agreement which was first announced on October 16th. Bombardier struck the deal with Airbus amid a trade dispute with Boeing, which claimed that the Canadian plane received illegal government aid that unfairly shut out the competition. The partnership…

Researchers Test Feasibility of EmDrive and Mach Effect Thrusters

Researchers Test Feasibility of EmDrive and Mach Effect Thrusters

​A team of physicists from Technische Universität in Dresden, Germany recently tested the feasibility of EmDrive and Mach Effect Thrusters. The EmDrive, an experimental space engine design, gained worldwide attention after NASA reported that the engine was being tested to discover its merits. Two years later, no further updates have been presented, which led the…

Crude Oil Prices Uncertain as OPEC Meets to Discuss Supply

Crude Oil Prices Uncertain as OPEC Meets to Discuss Supply

​Crude oil prices fell in several markets this week pending a June 22nd meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna. Prior to the meeting, both OPEC and non-OPEC producers will come together to discuss production levels at seminars scheduled for June 20th and 21st. ​“Last week, we saw some news stories indicating…

Auto Industry Expected to Meet 2025 Standards

Auto Industry Expected to Meet 2025 Standards

​The Union of Concerned Scientists, which meets every few years to discuss the auto industry’s emission reduction progress, released this year’s analysis. The analysis, which was based on model year 2017 vehicles, shows that the industry has reached the lowest levels yet in both smog-forming and global warming emissions from new vehicles. However, that progression…

1 2 3 85Next →

Other Popular News and Stories

  • BC refinery close to financing deal
  • SPPCA's new landing gear facility opening in Mississauga
  • Canadian oil production up; producers turning to railways for shipment
  • Canadian business, except energy, had profitable Q4: Statistics Canada
  • Manufacturing the sole industry showing job losses in February
  • Canada keeping up pressure on US for Keystone XL approval
  • FTG Aerospace to supply avionics to Rockwell Collins
  • Economy managed slight growth in Q4, but shrank in December
  • Skilled labour shortage in world oil industry: report
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada announces helicopter engine contracts
  • Miners struggling with higher costs, lower prices
  • Japex to buy into west coast LNG development
  • RV industry has growing role in Canada's economy: study
  • GM investing $250 million at Ingersoll plant
  • Russian leasing company orders 42 CSeries jets from Bombardier
  • Bombardier holds update on CSeries aircraft
  • Bombardier nearly ready to flight test CSeries
  • Volkswagen to produce super-efficient hybrid
  • Clean energy expected to surge as pv costs drop
  • DART Aerospace re-branding itself to reach wider markets