EPIBuilding a Sustainable Future
Lester R. Brown

Chapter 9. Harnessing Wind, Solar, and Geothermal Energy

As fossil fuel prices rise, as oil insecurity deepens, and as concerns about climate change cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new world energy economy is emerging. The old energy economy, fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, is being replaced with an economy powered by wind, solar, and geothermal energy. Despite the global economic crisis, this energy transition is moving at a pace and on a scale that we could not have imagined even two years ago. 1

The transition is well under way in the United States, where both oil and coal consumption have recently peaked. Oil consumption fell 8 percent between 2007 and 2010 and will likely continue falling over the longer term. During the same period, coal use also dropped 8 percent as a powerful grassroots anti-coal movement brought the licensing of new coal plants to a near standstill and began to work on closing existing ones. 2

While U.S. coal use was falling, some 300 wind farms with a generating capacity of 21,000 megawatts came online. Geothermal generating capacity, which had been stagnant for 20 years, came alive. In mid-2010, the U.S.-based Geothermal Energy Association announced that 152 new geothermal power plants were being developed, enough to triple U.S. geothermal generating capacity. On the solar front, solar cell installations are doubling every two years. The dozens of U.S. solar thermal power plants in the works could collectively add some 9,900 megawatts of generating capacity. 3

This chapter lays out the worldwide Plan B goals for developing renewable sources of energy by 2020. The goal of cutting carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020 is based on what we think is needed to avoid civilization-threatening climate change. This is not Plan A, business as usual. This is Plan B—a wartime mobilization, an all-out effort to restructure the world energy economy.

To reach the Plan B goal, we replace all coal- and oil-fired electricity generation with that from renewable sources. Whereas the twentieth century was marked by the globalization of the world energy economy as countries everywhere turned to oil, much of it coming from the Middle East, this century will see the localization of energy production as the world turns to wind, solar, and geothermal energy.

The Plan B energy economy, which will be powered largely by electricity, does not rely on a buildup in nuclear power. If we used full-cost pricing—insisting that utilities pay for disposing of nuclear waste, decommissioning worn-out plants, and insuring reactors against possible accidents and terrorist attacks—no one would build a nuclear plant. They are simply not economical. Plan B also excludes the oft-discussed option of capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal-fired power plants. Given the costs and the lack of investor interest within the coal community itself, this technology is not likely to be economically viable by 2020, if ever. 4

Instead, wind is the centerpiece of the Plan B energy economy. It is abundant, low cost, and widely distributed; it scales up easily and can be developed quickly. A 2009 survey of world wind resources published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences reports a wind-generating potential on land that is 40 times the current world consumption of electricity from all sources. 5

For many years, a small handful of countries dominated growth in wind power, but this is changing as the industry goes global, with more than 70 countries now developing wind resources. Between 2000 and 2010, world wind electric generating capacity increased at a frenetic pace from 17,000 megawatts to nearly 200,000 megawatts. 6

The United States, with 35,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity, leads the world in harnessing wind, followed by China and Germany with 26,000 megawatts each. Texas, long the leading U.S. oil-producing state, is now also the nation’s leading generator of electricity from wind. It has 9,700 megawatts of wind generating capacity online, 370 megawatts more under construction, and a huge amount under development. If all of the wind farms projected for 2025 are completed, Texas will have 38,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity—the equivalent of 38 coal-fired power plants. This would satisfy roughly 90 percent of the current residential electricity needs of the state’s 25 million people. 7

In July 2010, ground was broken for the Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) in the Tehachapi Pass, some 75 miles north of Los Angeles, California. At 1,550 megawatts, it will be the largest U.S. wind farm. The AWEC is part of what will eventually be 4,500 megawatts of renewable power generation, enough to supply electricity to some 3 million homes. 8

Since wind turbines occupy only 1 percent of the land covered by a wind farm, farmers and ranchers can continue to grow grain and graze cattle on land devoted to wind farms. In effect, they double-crop their land, simultaneously harvesting electricity and wheat, corn, or cattle. With no investment on their part, farmers and ranchers typically receive $3,000–10,000 a year in royalties for each wind turbine on their land. For thousands of ranchers in the U.S. Great Plains, wind royalties will dwarf their net earnings from cattle sales. 9

In considering the energy productivity of land, wind turbines are in a class by themselves. For example, an acre of land in northern Iowa planted in corn can yield $1,000 worth of ethanol per year. That same acre used to site a wind turbine can produce $300,000 worth of electricity per year. This helps explain why investors find wind farms so attractive. 10

Impressive though U.S. wind energy growth is, the expansion now under way in China is even more so. China has enough onshore harnessable wind energy to raise its current electricity consumption 16-fold. Today, most of China’s 26,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity come from 50- to 100-megawatt wind farms. Beyond the many other wind farms of that size that are on the way, China’s new Wind Base program is creating seven wind mega-complexes of 10 to 38 gigawatts each in six provinces (1 gigawatt equals 1,000 megawatts). When completed, these complexes will have a generating capacity of more than 130 gigawatts. This is equivalent to building one new coal plant per week for two and a half years. 11

Of these 130 gigawatts, 7 gigawatts will be in the coastal waters of Jiangsu Province, one of China’s most highly industrialized provinces. China is planning a total of 23 gigawatts of offshore wind generating capacity. The country’s first major offshore project, the 102-megawatt Donghai Bridge Wind Farm near Shanghai, is already in operation. 12

In Europe, which now has 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind online, wind developers are planning 140 gigawatts of offshore wind generating capacity, mostly in the North Sea. There is enough harnessable wind energy in offshore Europe to satisfy the continent’s needs seven times over. 13

In September 2010, the Scottish government announced that it was replacing its goal of 50 percent renewable electricity by 2020 with a new goal of 80 percent. By 2025, Scotland expects renewables to meet all of its electricity needs. Much of the new capacity will be provided by offshore wind. 14

Measured by share of electricity supplied by wind, Denmark is the national leader at 21 percent. Three north German states now get 40 percent or more of their electricity from wind. For Germany as a whole, the figure is 8 percent—and climbing. And in the state of Iowa, enough wind turbines came online in the last few years to produce up to 20 percent of that state’s electricity. 15

Denmark is looking to push the wind share of its electricity to 50 percent by 2025, with most of the additional power coming from offshore. In contemplating this prospect, Danish planners have turned conventional energy policy upside down. They plan to use wind as the mainstay of their electrical generating system and to use fossil-fuel-generated power to fill in when the wind dies down. 16

Spain, which has 19,000 megawatts of wind-generating capacity for its 45 million people, got 14 percent of its electricity from wind in 2009. On November 8th of that year, strong winds across Spain enabled wind turbines to supply 53 percent of the country’s electricity over a five-hour stretch. London Times reporter Graham Keeley wrote from Barcelona that “the towering white wind turbines which loom over Castilla-La Mancha—home of Cervantes’s hero, Don Quixote—and which dominate other parts of Spain, set a new record in wind energy production.” 17

In 2007, when Turkey issued a request for proposals to build wind farms, it received bids to build a staggering 78,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity, far beyond its 41,000 megawatts of total electrical generating capacity. Having selected 7,000 megawatts of the most promising proposals, the government is issuing construction permits. 18

In wind-rich Canada, Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta are the leaders in installed capacity. Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, has received applications for offshore wind development rights on its side of the Great Lakes that could result in some 21,000 megawatts of generating capacity. The provincial goal is to back out all coal-fired power by 2014. 19

On the U.S. side of Lake Ontario, New York State is also requesting proposals. Several of the seven other states that border the Great Lakes are planning to harness lake winds. 20

At the heart of Plan B is a crash program to develop 4,000 gigawatts (4 million megawatts) of wind generating capacity by 2020, enough to cover over half of world electricity consumption in the Plan B economy. This will require a near doubling of capacity every two years, up from a doubling every three years over the last decade. 21

This climate-stabilizing initiative would mean the installation of 2 million wind turbines of 2 megawatts each. Manufacturing 2 million wind turbines over the next 10 years sounds intimidating—until it is compared with the 70 million automobiles the world produces each year. 22

At $3 million per installed turbine, the 2 million turbines would mean spending $600 billion per year worldwide between now and 2020. This compares with world oil and gas capital expenditures that are projected to double from $800 billion in 2010 to $1.6 trillion in 2015. 23

The second key component of the Plan B energy economy is solar energy, which is even more ubiquitous than wind energy. It can be harnessed with both solar photovoltaics (PV) and solar thermal collectors. Solar PV—both silicon-based and thin film—converts sunlight directly into electricity. A large-scale solar thermal technology, often referred to as concentrating solar power (CSP), uses reflectors to concentrate sunlight on a liquid, producing steam to drive a turbine and generate electricity. On a smaller scale, solar thermal collectors can capture the sun’s radiant energy to warm water, as in rooftop solar water heaters.

The growth in solar cell production can only be described as explosive. It climbed from an annual expansion of 38 percent in 2006 to an off-the-chart 89 percent in 2008, before settling back to 51 percent in 2009. At the end of 2009, there were 23,000 megawatts of PV installations worldwide, which when operating at peak power could match the output of 23 nuclear power plants. 24

On the manufacturing front, the early leaders—the United States, Japan, and Germany—have been overtaken by China, which produces more than twice as many solar cells annually as Japan. Number three, Taiwan, is moving fast and may overtake Japan in 2010. World PV production has roughly doubled every two years since 2001 and will likely approach 20,000 megawatts in 2010. 25

Germany, with an installed PV power generating capacity of almost 10,000 megawatts, is far and away the world leader in installations. Spain is second with 3,400 megawatts, followed by Japan, the United States, and Italy. Ironically, China, the world’s largest manufacturer of solar cells, has an installed capacity of only 305 megawatts, but this is likely to change quickly as PV costs fall. 26

Historically, photovoltaic installations were small-scale—mostly residential rooftop installations. Now that is changing as utility-scale PV projects are being launched in several countries. The United States, for example, has under construction and development some 77 utility-scale projects, adding up to 13,200 megawatts of generating capacity. Morocco is now planning five large solar-generating projects, either photovoltaic or solar thermal or both, each ranging from 100 to 500 megawatts in size. 27

More and more countries, states, and provinces are setting solar installation goals. Italy’s solar industry group is projecting 15,000 megawatts of installed capacity by 2020. Japan is planning 28,000 megawatts by 2020. The state of California has set a goal of 3,000 megawatts by 2017. 28

Solar-rich Saudi Arabia recently announced that it plans to shift from oil to solar energy to power new desalination plants that supply the country’s residential water. It currently uses 1.5 million barrels of oil per day to operate some 30 desalting plants. 29

With installations of solar PV climbing, with costs continuing to fall, and with concerns about climate change escalating, cumulative PV installations could reach 1.5 million megawatts (1,500 gigawatts) in 2020. Although this estimate may seem overly ambitious, it could in fact be conservative, because if most of the 1.5 billion people who lack electricity today get it by 2020, it will likely be because they have installed home solar systems. In many cases, it is cheaper to install solar cells for individual homes than it is to build a grid and a central power plant. 30

The second, very promising way to harness solar energy on a massive scale is CSP, which first came on the scene with the construction of a 350-megawatt solar thermal power plant complex in California. Completed in 1991, it was the world’s only utility-scale solar thermal generating facility until the completion of a 64-megawatt power plant in Nevada in 2007. 31

Two years later, in July 2009, a group of 11 leading European firms and one Algerian firm, led by Munich Re and including Deutsche Bank, Siemens, and ABB, announced that they were going to craft a strategy and funding proposal to develop solar thermal generating capacity in North Africa and the Middle East. Their proposal would meet the needs of the producer countries and supply part of Europe’s electricity via undersea cable. 32

This initiative, known as the Desertec Industrial Initiative, could develop 300,000 megawatts of solar thermal generating capacity—huge by any standard. It is driven by concerns about disruptive climate change and by depletion of oil and gas reserves. Caio Koch-Weser, vice chair of Deutsche Bank, noted that “the Initiative shows in what dimensions and on what scale we must think if we are to master the challenges from climate change.” 33

Even before this proposal, Algeria—for decades an oil exporter—was planning to build 6,000 megawatts of solar thermal generating capacity for export to Europe via undersea cable. The Algerians note that they have enough harnessable solar energy in their vast desert to power the entire world economy. This is not a mathematical error. A similar point often appears in the solar literature when it is noted that the sunlight striking the earth in one hour could power the world economy for one year. The German government was quick to respond to the Algerian initiative. The plan is to build a 1,900-mile high-voltage transmission line from Adrar deep in the Algerian desert to Aachen, a town on Germany’s border with the Netherlands. 34

Although solar thermal power has been slow to get under way, utility-scale plants are being built rapidly now. The two leaders in this field are the United States and Spain. The United States has more than 40 solar thermal power plants operating, under construction, and under development that range from 10 to 1,200 megawatts each. Spain has 60 power plants in these same stages of development, most of which are 50 megawatts each. 35

One country ideally suited for CSP plants is India. The Great Indian Desert in its northwest offers a huge opportunity for building solar thermal power plants. Hundreds of large plants in the desert could meet most of India’s electricity needs. And because it is such a compact country, the distance for building transmission lines to major population centers is relatively short. 36

One of the attractions of utility-scale CSP plants is that heat during the day can be stored in molten salt at temperatures above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat can then be used to keep the turbines running for eight or more hours after sunset. 37

The American Solar Energy Society notes that solar thermal resources in the U.S. Southwest can satisfy current U.S. electricity needs nearly four times over. 38

At the global level, Greenpeace, the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association, and the International Energy Agency’s SolarPACES program have outlined a plan to develop 1.5 million megawatts of solar thermal power plant capacity by 2050. For Plan B we suggest a more immediate world goal of 200,000 megawatts by 2020, a goal that may well be exceeded as the economic potential becomes clearer. 39

The pace of solar energy development is accelerating as the installation of rooftop solar water heaters—the other use of solar collectors—takes off. China, for example, now has an estimated 1.9 billion square feet of rooftop solar thermal collectors installed, enough to supply 120 million Chinese households with hot water. With some 5,000 Chinese companies manufacturing these devices, this relatively simple low-cost technology has leapfrogged into villages that do not yet have electricity. For as little as $200, villagers can install a rooftop solar collector and take their first hot shower. This technology is sweeping China like wildfire, already approaching market saturation in some communities. Beijing’s goal is to add another billion square feet to its rooftop solar water heating capacity by 2020, a goal it is likely to exceed. 40

Other developing countries such as India and Brazil may also soon see millions of households turning to this inexpensive water heating technology. Once the initial installment cost of rooftop solar water heaters is paid back, the hot water is essentially free.

In Europe, where energy costs are relatively high, rooftop solar water heaters are also spreading fast. In Austria, 15 percent of all households now rely on them for hot water. As in China, in some Austrian villages nearly all homes have rooftop collectors. Germany is also forging ahead. Some 2 million Germans are now living in homes where water and space are both heated by rooftop solar systems. 41

The U.S. rooftop solar water heating industry has historically concentrated on a niche market—selling and marketing 100 million square feet of solar water heaters for swimming pools between 1995 and 2005. Given this base, the industry was poised to mass-market residential solar water and space heating systems when federal tax credits were introduced in 2006. Led by Hawaii, California, and Florida, annual U.S. installation of these systems has more than tripled since 2005. The boldest initiative in the United States is California’s goal of installing 200,000 solar water heaters by 2017. Not far behind is one launched in 2010 in New York State, which aims to have 170,000 residential solar water systems in operation by 2020. 42

Solar water and space heaters in Europe and China have a strong economic appeal, often paying for themselves from electricity savings in less than 10 years. With the cost of rooftop heating systems declining, many other countries will likely join Israel, Spain, and Portugal in mandating that all new buildings incorporate rooftop solar water heaters. The state of Hawaii requires that all new single-family homes have rooftop solar water heaters. Worldwide, Plan B calls for a total of 1,100 thermal gigawatts of rooftop solar water and space heating capacity by 2020. 43

The third principal component in the Plan B energy economy is geothermal energy. The heat in the upper six miles of the earth’s crust contains 50,000 times as much energy as found in all of the world’s oil and gas reserves combined—a startling statistic. Despite this abundance, as of mid-2010 only 10,700 megawatts of geo¬thermal generating capacity have been harnessed worldwide, enough for some 10 million homes. 44

Roughly half the world’s installed geothermal generating capacity is concentrated in the United States and the Philippines. Most of the remainder is generated in Mexico, Indonesia, Italy, and Japan. Altogether some 24 countries now convert geothermal energy into electricity. El Salvador, Iceland, and the Philippines respectively get 26, 25, and 18 percent of their electricity from geothermal power plants. 45

The geothermal potential to provide electricity, to heat homes, and to supply process heat for industry is vast. Among the geothermally rich countries are those bordering the Pacific in the so-called Ring of Fire, including Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, the United States, Canada, Russia, China, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia. Other well-endowed countries include those along the Great Rift Valley of Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and those around the Eastern Mediterranean. As of 2010, there are some 70 countries with projects under development or active consideration, up from 46 in 2007. 46

Beyond geothermal electrical generation, up to 100,000 thermal megawatts of geothermal energy are used directly—without conversion into electricity—to heat homes and greenhouses and to provide process heat to industry. For example, 90 percent of the homes in Iceland are heated with geothermal energy. 47

An interdisciplinary team of 13 scientists and engineers assembled by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006 assessed U.S. geothermal electrical generating potential. Drawing on the latest technologies, including those used by oil and gas companies in drilling and in enhanced oil recovery, the team estimated that enhanced geothermal systems could help the United States meet its energy needs 2,000 times over. 48

Even before this exciting new technology is widely deployed, investors are moving ahead with existing technologies. For many years, U.S. geothermal energy was confined largely to the Geysers project north of San Francisco, easily the world’s largest geothermal generating complex, with 850 megawatts of generating capacity. Now the United States has more than 3,000 megawatts of existing geothermal electrical capacity and projects under development in 13 states. With California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah leading the way, and with many new companies in the field, the stage is set for a geothermal renaissance. 49

In mid-2008, Indonesia—a country with 128 active volcanoes and therefore rich in geothermal energy—announced that it would develop 6,900 megawatts of geothermal generating capacity; Pertamina, the state oil company, is responsible for developing the lion’s share. Indonesia’s oil production has been declining for the last decade, and in each of the last five years it has been an oil importer. As Pertamina shifts resources from oil to the development of geothermal energy, it could become the first oil company—state-owned or independent—to make the transition from oil to renewable energy. 50

Japan, which has 16 geothermal power plants with a total of 535 megawatts of generating capacity, was an early leader in this field. After nearly two decades of inactivity, this geo¬thermally rich country—long known for its thousands of hot baths—is again building geothermal power plants. 51

Among the Great Rift countries in Africa, Kenya is the early geothermal leader. It now has 167 megawatts of generating capacity and is planning 1,200 more megawatts by 2015, enough to nearly double its current electrical generating capacity from all sources. It is aiming for 4,000 geothermal megawatts by 2030. 52

Beyond power plants, geothermal (ground source) heat pumps are now being widely used for both heating and cooling. These take advantage of the remarkable stability of the earth’s temperature near the surface and then use that as a source of heat in the winter when the air temperature is low and a source of cooling in the summer when the air temperature is high. The great attraction of this technology is that it can provide both heating and cooling and do so with 25–50 percent less electricity than would be needed with conventional systems. In Germany, 178,000 ground-source heat pumps are now operating in residential or commercial buildings. At least 25,000 new pumps are installed each year. 53

Geothermal heat is ideal for greenhouses in northern countries. Russia, Hungary, Iceland, and the United States are among the many countries that use it to produce fresh vegetables in winter. With rising oil prices boosting fresh produce transport costs, this practice will likely become far more common. 54

If the four most populous countries located on the Pacific Ring of Fire—the United States, Japan, China, and Indonesia—were to seriously invest in developing their geothermal resources, it is easy to envisage a world with thousands of geothermal power plants generating some 200,000 megawatts of electricity, the Plan B goal, by 2020. 55

As oil and natural gas reserves are being depleted, the world’s attention is also turning to plant-based energy sources, including energy crops, forest industry byproducts, sugar industry byproducts, urban waste, livestock waste, plantations of fast-growing trees, crop residues, and urban tree and yard wastes—all of which can be used for electrical generation, heating, or the production of automotive fuels.

The potential use of energy crops is limited because even corn—the most efficient of the grain crops—can convert only 0.5 percent of solar energy into a usable form. In contrast, solar PV or solar thermal power plants convert roughly 15 percent of sunlight into electricity. And the value of electricity produced on an acre of land occupied by a wind turbine is over 300 times that of the corn-based ethanol produced on an acre. In this land–scarce world, energy crops cannot compete with solar-generated electricity, much less with wind power. 56

Yet another source of renewable energy is hydropower. The term has traditionally referred to dams that harnessed the energy in river flows, but today it also includes harnessing the energy in tides and waves as well as using smaller “in-stream” turbines to capture the energy in rivers and tides without building dams. 57

Roughly 16 percent of the world’s electricity comes from hydropower, most of it from large dams. Some countries, such as Brazil, Norway, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, get the bulk of their electricity from river power. 58

Tidal power holds a certain fascination because of its sheer potential scale. The first large tidal generating facility—La Rance Tidal Barrage, with a maximum generating capacity of 240 megawatts—was built 40 years ago in France and is still operating today. Within the last few years interest in tidal power has spread rapidly. South Korea, for example, is building a 254-megawatt project on its west coast that would provide all the electricity for the half-million people living in the nearby city of Ansan. At another site to the north, engineers are planning a 1,320-megawatt tidal facility in Incheon Bay, near Seoul. And New Zealand is planning a 200-megawatt project in the Kaipara Harbour on that country’s northwest coast. 59

Wave power, though a few years behind tidal power, is also now attracting the attention of both engineers and investors. Scottish firms Aquamarine Power and SSE Renewables are teaming up to build 1,000 megawatts of wave and tidal power off the coast of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Ireland is planning 500 megawatts of wave generating capacity by 2020, enough to supply 8 percent of its electricity. Worldwide, the harnessing of wave power could generate a staggering 10,000 gigawatts of electricity, more than double current world electricity capacity from all sources. 60

We project that the 980 gigawatts (980,000 megawatts) of hydroelectric power in operation worldwide in 2009 will expand to 1,350 gigawatts by 2020. According to China’s official projections, 180 gigawatts should be added there, mostly from large dams in the southwest. The remaining 190 gigawatts in our projected growth of hydropower would come from a scattering of large dams still being built in countries like Brazil and Turkey, dams now in the planning stages in sub-Saharan Africa, a large number of small hydro facilities, a fast-growing number of tidal projects, and numerous smaller wave power projects. 61

The efficiency gains outlined in the preceding chapter more than offset projected growth in energy use to 2020. The next step in the Plan B 80-percent reduction of carbon emissions comes from replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy. In looking at the broad shifts from the reference year of 2008 to the Plan B energy economy of 2020, fossil-fuel-generated electricity drops by 90 percent worldwide as the fivefold growth in renewably generated electricity replaces all the coal and oil and 70 percent of the natural gas now used to generate electricity. Wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, and geothermal will dominate the Plan B energy economy, but as noted earlier wind will be the centerpiece—the principal source of the electricity to heat, cool, and light buildings and to run cars and trains. 62

The Plan B projected tripling of renewable thermal heating generation by 2020, roughly half of it to come from direct uses of geothermal energy, will sharply reduce the use of both oil and gas to heat buildings and water. And in the transportation sector, energy use from fossil fuels drops by some 70 percent. This comes from shifting to all-electric and highly efficient plug-in hybrid cars that will run almost entirely on electricity, nearly all of it from renewable sources. And it also comes from shifting to electric trains, which are much more efficient than diesel-powered ones. 63

Each country’s energy profile will be shaped by its unique endowment of renewable sources of energy. Some countries, such as the United States, Turkey, and China, will likely rely on a broad base of renewables—wind, solar, and geothermal power. But wind, including both onshore and offshore, is likely to emerge as the leading energy source in all three cases.

Other countries, including Spain, Algeria, Egypt, India, and Mexico, will turn primarily to solar thermal power plants and solar PV arrays to power their economies. For Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines, geothermal energy will likely be the mother lode. Still others will likely rely heavily on hydro, including Norway, Brazil, and Nepal. And some technologies, such as rooftop solar water heaters, will be used virtually everywhere.

As the transition progresses, the system for transporting energy from source to consumers will change beyond recognition. In the old energy economy, pipelines and tankers carried oil long distances from oil fields to consumers, including a huge fleet of tankers that moved oil from the Persian Gulf to markets on every continent. In the new energy economy, pipelines will be replaced by transmission lines.

The proposed segments of what could eventually become a national U.S. grid are beginning to fall into place. Texas is planning up to 2,900 miles of new transmission lines to link the wind-rich regions of west Texas and the Texas panhandle to consumption centers such as Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. Two high-voltage direct current (HVDC) lines will link the rich wind resources of Wyoming and Montana to California’s huge market. Other proposed lines will link wind in the northern Great Plains with the industrial Midwest. 64

In late 2009 Tres Amigas, a transmission company, announced its plans to build a “SuperStation” in Clovis, New Mexico, that would link the country’s three major grids—the Western grid, the Eastern grid, and the Texas grid—for the first time. This would effectively create the country’s first national grid. Scheduled to start construction in 2012 and to be completed in 2014, the SuperStation will allow electricity, much of it from renewable sources, to flow through the country’s power transmission infrastructure. 65

Google made headlines when it announced in mid-October 2010 that it was investing heavily in a $5-billion offshore transmission project stretching from New York to Virginia, called the Atlantic Wind Connection. This will facilitate the development of enough offshore wind farms to meet the electricity needs of 5 million East Coast residents. 66

A strong, efficient national grid will reduce generating capacity needs, lower consumer costs, and cut carbon emissions. Since no two wind farms have identical wind profiles, each one added to the grid makes wind a more stable source of electricity. With the prospect of thousands of wind farms spread from coast to coast and a national grid, wind becomes a stable source of energy, part of baseload power. 67

Europe, too, is beginning to think seriously of investing in a supergrid. In early 2010, a total of 10 European companies formed Friends of the Supergrid, which is proposing to use HVDC undersea cables to build the European supergrid offshore, an approach that would avoid the time-consuming acquisition of land to build a continental land-based system. This grid could then mesh with the proposed Desertec initiative to integrate the offshore wind resources of northern Europe and the solar resources of North Africa into a single system that would supply both regions. The Swedish ABB Group, which in 2008 completed a 400-mile HVDC undersea cable linking Norway and the Netherlands, is well positioned to help build the necessary transmission lines. 68

Governments are considering a variety of policy instruments to help drive the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. These include tax restructuring, lowering the tax on income and raising the tax on carbon emissions to include the indirect costs of burning fossil fuels. If we can create an honest energy market, the transition to renewables will accelerate dramatically.

Another measure that will speed the energy transition is eliminating fossil fuel subsidies. At present, governments are spending some $500 billion per year subsidizing the use of fossil fuels. This compares with renewable energy subsidies of only $46 billion per year. 69

For restructuring the electricity sector, feed-in tariffs, in which utilities are required to pay set prices for electricity generated from renewable sources, have been remarkably successful. Germany’s impressive early success with this measure has led to its adoption by some 50 other countries, including most of those in the European Union. In the United States, 29 states have adopted renewable portfolio standards requiring utilities to get up to 40 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. The United States has also used tax credits for wind, geothermal, solar photovoltaics, solar water and space heating, and ground-source heat pumps. 70

To achieve some goals, governments are simply using mandates, such as those requiring rooftop solar water heaters on all new buildings. Governments at all levels are adopting energy efficiency building codes. Each government has to select the policy instruments that work best in its particular economic and cultural setting. 71

In the new energy economy, our cities will be unlike any we have known during our lifetime. The air will be clean and the streets will be quiet, with only the scarcely audible hum of electric motors. Air pollution alerts will be a thing of the past as coal-fired power plants are dismantled and recycled and as gasoline- and-diesel-burning engines largely disappear.

This transition is now building its own momentum, driven by an intense excitement from the realization that we are tapping energy sources that can last as long as the earth itself. Oil wells go dry and coal seams run out, but for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, we are investing in energy sources that can last forever.

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1. Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), Renewables 2010 Global Status Report (Paris: REN21 Secretariat, 2010).

2. Historical coal and oil consumption data (1949–2005) from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Information Administration (EIA), Annual Energy Review, at www.eia.doe.gov/aer/contents.html, updated 26 June 2009; data for 2006–2009 and projection for 2010 from DOE, EIA, Short Term Energy Outlook, at www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/contents.html, updated 8 September 2010, with adjustments for falling average heat content of U.S. coal from DOE, EIA, “Annual Energy Review: Thermal Conversion Factors,” at www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/append_a.html, updated 19 August 2010; Ted Nace, “Ready to Rumble: A Global Movement is Bringing Down King Coal–One Power Plant at a Time,” Earth Island Journal, vol. 25 (summer 2010), pp. 34–39.

3. Number of wind farms calculated from American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Annual Wind Industry Report: Year Ending 2008 (Washington, DC: April 2009), pp. 21–25, from AWEA, AWEA Year End 2009 Market Report (Washington, DC: January 2010), pp. 5–15, and from AWEA, AWEA Mid-Year 2010 Market Report (Washington, DC: July 2010), pp. 8–10; total wind capacity additions calculated from Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), Global Wind 2009 Report (Brussels: 2010), p. 63, and from AWEA, Mid-Year 2010 Market Report, op. cit. this note, pp. 8–10; number and generating capacity of new wind farms coming online in the second half of 2010 estimated by author; geothermal power plants from Alison Holm et al., Geothermal Energy International Market Update (Washington, DC: Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), May 2010), pp. 47–48; solar cell installations from European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics Until 2014 (Brussels: May 2010), p. 10; solar thermal plants from Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), “Utility-Scale Solar Projects in the United States: Operational, Under Construction, and Under Development,” table at seia.org/galleries/pdf/Major%20Solar%20Projects.pdf, updated 27 August 2010.

4. Lester R. Brown, “The Flawed Economics of Nuclear Power,” Plan B Update (Washington, DC: Earth Policy Institute, 28 October 2008); Amory B. Lovins, Imran Sheikh, and Alex Markevich, “Forget Nuclear,” Solutions, vol. xxiv, no. 1 (spring 2008); for a discussion of costs, see International Energy Agency (IEA), World Energy Outlook 2009 (Paris: 2009), p. 69.

5. Xi Lu, Michael B. McElroy, and Juha Kiviluoma, “Global Potential for Wind-Generated Electricity,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 106, no. 27 (7 July 2009), pp. 10,933–38.

6. GWEC, op. cit. note 3, pp. 3, 17; GWEC, “Global Wind Capacity to Reach Close to 200 GW This Year,” press release (Brussels: 23 September 2010).

7. GWEC, op. cit. note 3, p. 10; DOE, EIA, Crude Oil Production, electronic database, at tonto.eia.doe.gov, updated 29 July 2010; AWEA, U.S. Wind Energy Projects, electronic database, at www.awea.org, updated 20 July 2010; Electric Reliability Council of Texas, System Planning Division, Monthly Status Report to Reliability and Operations Subcommittee for August 2010 (Austin, TX: 16 September 2010); Matthew Kaplan, IHS Emerging Energy Research, “The Post-Recession Wind Market Landscape,” presentation at Windpower 2010, Dallas, TX, 26 May 2010; coal-fired power plant equivalent calculated by assuming that an average plant has a 500-megawatt capacity and a 72 percent capacity factor, generating 3.15 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year; residential consumption from DOE, EIA, State Energy Data System 2008, electronic database, at www.eia.doe.gov/states/_seds.html, updated 30 June 2010; population from U.S. Census Bureau, State & County QuickFacts, electronic database, at quickfacts.census.gov, updated 16 August 2010; wind capacity factor from DOE, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Power Technologies Energy Data Book (Golden, CO: August 2006).

8. Tiffany Hsu, “Wind Farm ‘Mega-project’ Underway in Mojave Desert,” Los Angeles Times, 27 July 2010; Terra-Gen Power, LLC, “Terra-Gen Power Breaks Ground on World’s Largest Wind Project: U.S.-Based Renewable Energy Company’s Latest Project Set to Produce 1,550 MW of Clean, Renewable Wind Energy,” press release (Mojave, CA: 27 July 2010); Office of the Governor, “Governor Schwarzenegger Celebrates First Phase Completion of Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project to Green the Grid,” press release (Sacramento, CA: 4 May 2010).

9. Wind royalties are author’s estimates based on Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), “Farming the Wind: Wind Power and Agriculture,” fact sheet (Cambridge, MA: 2003).

10. Corn per acre and ethanol per bushel approximated from Allen Baker et al., “Ethanol Reshapes the Corn Market,” Amber Waves, vol. 4, no. 2 (April 2006), pp. 32, 34; conservative ethanol price of $2 per gallon based on F.O. Licht, “Biofuels,” World Ethanol and Biofuels Report, vol. 8, no. 14 (29 March 2010), pp. 298–99; wind calculations based on a 2-megawatt wind turbine operating 36 percent of the time, generating 6.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year; capacity factor from DOE, NREL, op. cit. note 7; wholesale electricity price from DOE, Wholesale Market Data, electronic database at www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity, updated 22 April 2009.

11. Lu, McElroy, and Kiviluoma, op. cit. note 5; GWEC, op. cit. note 3, p. 10; Li Junfeng, Shi Pengfei, and Gao Hu, China Wind Power Outlook 2010 (Beijing and Brussels: Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, Greenpeace China, and GWEC, 2010), pp. 23–32; coal-fired power plant equivalent calculated by assuming that an average plant has a 500-megawatt capacity and a 72 percent capacity factor, generating 3.15 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

12. Junfeng, Pengfei, and Hu, op. cit. note 11, pp. 21, 27–28; Manuela Zoninsein, “Chinese Offshore Development Blows Past U.S.,” ClimateWire, 7 September 2010.

13. European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), “Offshore Wind Heads for Record Year,” press release (Brussels: 20 July 2010); “Offshore Poised to Power the Drive Towards 2020,” Windpower Monthly Special Report: Europe Offshore (August 2010), p. 6; La Tene Maps and EWEA, “Europe: Offshore Wind Farm Projects,” digital map (2009) available at www.ewea.org/offshore; EWEA, Oceans of Opportunity: Harnessing Europe’s Largest Domestic Energy Resource (Brussels: September 2009), p. 2.

14. Government of Scotland, “Target for Renewable Energy Now 80 Per Cent,” press release (Edinburgh: 23 September 2010); Daniel Fineren, “Scotland to Get 100 Pct Green Energy by 2025,” Reuters, 27 September 2010.

15. Denmark from GWEC, “Interactive World Map,” at www.gwec.net/index.php?id=126, viewed 12 August 2010; German states from GWEC, op. cit. note 3, p. 42; German national estimate from GWEC, Global Wind 2008 Report (Brussels: 2009), pp. 34–35; David Osterberg and Teresa Galluzzo, Think Wind Power, Think “Iowa” (Iowa City: Iowa Policy Project, March 2010).

16. GWEC, op. cit. note 3, p. 30; Flemming Hansen, “Denmark to Increase Wind Power to 50% by 2025, Mostly Offshore,” Renewable Energy Access, 5 December 2006.

17. GWEC, op. cit. note 3, p. 56; U.N. Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision Population Database, at esa.un.org/unpp, updated 11 March 2009; Graham Keeley, “Spain’s Wind Turbines Supply Half of the National Power Grid,” Times (London), 10 November 2009.

18. Total installed electricity generating capacity in Turkey in 2007 from DOE, EIA, International Energy Statistics, electronic database, at tonto.eia.doe.gov, retrieved 12 August 2010; GWEC, op. cit. note 3, p. 58; Jan Dodd, “End Looms for Turkey Wind Glut Regulations Muddle,” Windpower Monthly, vol. 26, no. 6 (June 2010), p. 46.

19. GWEC, op. cit. note 3, p. 24; Statistics Canada, “Population by Year, by Province and Territory,” at www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/demo02a-eng.htm, updated 30 November 2009; Trillium Power Wind Corporation, Round 1: Turbocharging Ontario’s Economy through the Development of Its Unique Offshore Wind Resources (Toronto: January 2010), p. 5; Government of Ontario, “Ontario's Coal Phase Out Plan,” press release (Toronto: 3 September 2009).

20. New York Power Authority, “Five Proposals Begin NYPA Review Process for Great Lakes Offshore Wind Project: Environmental and Economic Development Benefits Expected,” press release (White Plains, NY: 4 June 2010); Great Lakes Wind Collaborative, “Quarterly Update: March 2010,” at www.glc.org/energy/wind/quarterly/winter2010.html; U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative, U.S. Offshore Wind Energy: A Path Forward (Cambridge, MA: October 2009), pp. 15–16.

21. Total world electricity generation was 19,756 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2007, from IEA, op. cit. note 4, p. 623; 4 million megawatts of wind capacity with turbines operating 36 percent of the time would generate more than 12,000 TWh; GWEC, op. cit. note 3, p. 12.

22. Ward’s Automotive Group, World Motor Vehicle Data 2008 (Southfield, MI: 2008), pp. 239–42.

23. Cost per installed wind turbine calculated from Søren Krohn, ed., The Economics of Wind Energy (Brussels: EWEA, March 2009), p. 9; oil and gas capital expenditures from Swati Singh, GlobalData, e-mail to J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute, 1 October 2010.

24. Production data compiled by Earth Policy Institute, with 2001–06 from Prometheus Institute and Greentech Media, “25th Annual Data Collection Results: PV Production Explodes in 2008,” PV News, vol. 28, no. 4 (April 2009), pp. 15–18; 2007–09 from Shyam Mehta, GTM Research, e-mail to J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute, 21 June 2010; cumulative installations from EPIA, op. cit. note 3, p. 7.

25. Production data compiled by Earth Policy Institute, with 2001–06 from Prometheus Institute and Greentech Media, op. cit. note 24; 2007–09 for Japan from Shyam Mehta, “26th Annual Data Collection Results: Another Bumper Year for Manufacturing Masks Turmoil,” PV News, vol. 29, no. 5 (May 2010), pp. 11–14; 2007–09 for other countries from Mehta, op. cit. note 24; 2010 cell production estimate based on module forecast from Steve O'Rourke, Peter Kim, and Hari Polavarapu, Solar Photovoltaic Industry 2010 Global Outlook: Déjà Vu? (New York: Deutsche Bank, 8 February 2010), p. 9.

26. EPIA, op. cit. note 3, pp. 5–20.

27. REN21, op. cit. note 1, pp. 19–20; Renewables Insight, PV Power Plants 2010 Industry Guide (Berlin: Solarpraxis AG and Sunbeam GmbH, April 2010), pp. 8–13; SEIA, op. cit. note 3; William P. Hirshman, “Rocking in Morocco?” PHOTON International (May 2010), p. 10.

28. Svetlana Kovalyova, “Italy 2010 Solar Goal Tough But Reachable: Industry,” Reuters, 4 May 2010; EPIA, op. cit. note 3, p. 18; “Chapter 8.8: California Solar Initiative,” in California State Legislature, Statutes 2006, SB1, Chapter 132 (Sacramento, CA: 21 August 2006); California Public Utilities Commission, California Solar Initiative Program Handbook (San Francisco: January 2009), p. 91.

29. Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), “Desalination Technology,” at www.swcc.gov.sa/default.asp?pid=66, viewed 13 August 2010; SWCC, “Private Sector Desalination Plants,” at www.swcc.gov.sa/default.asp?pid=89, viewed 13 August 2010; Prachi Patel, “Solar-Powered Desalination,” Technology Review, 8 April 2010; King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, “‘Science & Technology’ Announces Launching the National Initiative to Desalinate Water Using the Solar Energy,” press release (Riyadh: 24 January 2010).

30. Figure for 2020 from Earth Policy Institute, assuming PV installations continue to more than double every two years, starting with existing capacity from EPIA, op. cit. note 3, p. 5; people who lack electricity from IEA, op. cit. note 4, p. 45; REN21, op. cit. note 1, pp. 20, 47; Robert H. Williams, “Facilitating Widespread Deployment of Wind and Photovoltaic Technologies,” in Energy Foundation, 2001 Annual Report (San Francisco: 2002), pp. 20–22.

31. Rainer Aringhoff et al., Concentrated Solar Thermal Power—Now! (Amsterdam, Brussels, and Almeria: Greenpeace International, European Solar Thermal Power Industry Association, and IEA SolarPACES, September 2005), p. 4; DOE, NREL, U.S. Parabolic Trough Power Plant Data, electronic database, at www.nrel.gov/csp/troughnet/power_plant _data.html, updated 25 July 2008; “Largest Solar Thermal Plant in 16 Years Now Online,” EERE Network News (DOE), 13 June 2007.

32. DESERTEC Foundation, “12 Companies Plan Establishment of a Desertec Industrial Initiative,” press release (Munich: 13 July 2009).

33. Ibid.; potential generating capacity estimated by author, based on Initiative’s stated goal of meeting a substantial portion of the producer countries’ electricity needs and 15 percent of Europe’s electricity needs by 2050, using IEA, World Energy Outlook 2008 (Paris: 2008), pp. 506–07, with capacity factor from DOE, NREL, op. cit. note 7.

34. “Algeria Aims to Export Power—Solar Power,” Associated Press, 11 August 2007; William Maclean, “Algeria Plans Solar Power Cable to Germany—Paper,” Reuters, 15 November 2007; Nathan S. Lewis and Daniel G. Nocera, “Powering the Planet: Chemical Challenges in Solar Energy Utilization,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 103, no. 43 (24 October 2006), pp. 15,729–35.

35. Emerging Energy Research, “Global Concentrated Solar Power Markets and Strategies: 2010–2025” (Cambridge, MA: April 2010); SEIA, op. cit. note 3; Asociación Española de la Industria Solar Termoeléctrica (Protermosolar), Boletín Protermosolar, no. 26 (June 2010).

36. Most CSP plants generating electricity today (named “parabolic trough” systems for the type of reflectors they use) require significant amounts of water for cooling in addition to the continually reused water needed to produce the superheated steam that drives the turbine. There are projects under construction and development, however, that use more advanced CSP technologies requiring less water or no water at all. While these technologies are currently more expensive and can be less efficient than traditional CSP, they would be more appropriate for arid regions. For an overview of CSP technologies, see IEA, Technology Roadmap: Concentrating Solar Power (Paris: 2010). For a more detailed discussion of CSP water requirements and water-saving technologies, see DOE, NREL, Concentrating Solar Power Commercial Application Study: Reducing Water Consumption of Concentrating Solar Power Electricity Generation, Report to Congress (Golden, CO: 2008).

37. Toby Price, “Molten Salt: The Magic Ingredient?” CSP Today, 6 November 2009; Sandia National Laboratories, National Solar Thermal Test Facility, “Advantages of Using Molten Salt,” at www.sandia.gov/Renewable_Energy/solarthermal/NSTTF/salt.htm, updated 10 January 2006; David Biello, “How to Use Solar Energy at Night,” Scientific American, 18 February 2009.

38. Mark S. Mehos and David W. Kearney, “Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Concentrating Solar Power by 2030,” in Charles F. Kutscher, ed., Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.—Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 2030 (Boulder, CO: American Solar Energy Society, 2007), pp. 79–90; U.S. electricity consumption from DOE, EIA, Electric Power Annual 2008 (Washington, DC: January 2010), p. 1. Mark S. Mehos and David W. Kearney, “Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Concentrating Solar Power by 2030,” in Charles F. Kutscher, ed., Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.—Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 2030 (Boulder, CO: American Solar Energy Society, 2007), pp. 79–90; U.S. electricity consumption from DOE, EIA, Electric Power Annual 2008 (Washington, DC: January 2010), p. 1.

39. Christoph Richter, Sven Teske, and Rebecca Short, Concentrating Solar Power Global Outlook 2009 (Amsterdam, Tabernas, and Brussels: Greenpeace International, IEA SolarPACES, and European Solar Thermal Electricity Association, May 2009), pp. 53–59.

40. Rooftop solar water heater area and number of households calculated using data from Li Junfeng, China Renewable Energy Industries Association, e-mails to J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute, 1 October 2010; “Sunrise or Sunset?” China Daily, 25 August 2008; Ryan Hodum, “Kunming Heats Up as China’s ‘Solar City’,” China Watch (Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute and Global Environmental Institute, 5 June 2007); Emma Graham-Harrison, “China Solar Power Firm Sees 25 Percent Growth,” Reuters, 4 October 2007; David Pierson, “China, Green? In the Case of Solar Water Heating, Yes,” Los Angeles Times, 6 September 2009.

41. Ole Pilgaard, Solar Thermal Action Plan for Europe (Brussels: European Solar Thermal Industry Federation, 2007); Janet L. Sawin, “Solar Industry Stays Hot,” in Worldwatch Institute, Vital Signs 2006–2007 (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006).

42. Les Nelson, “Solar-Water Heating Resurgence Ahead?” Solar Today, May/June 2007, pp. 26–29; Jackie Jones, “Such an Obvious Solution,” Renewable Energy World, 2 September 2008; Larry Sherwood, U.S. Solar Trends 2009 (Latham, NY: Interstate Renewable Energy Council, July 2010), p. 14; SEIA, U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review 2009: Supplemental Charts (Washington, DC: May 2010); California initiative from SEIA, U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review 2009 (Washington, DC: April 2010), p. 8; New York systems calculated from New York Solar Thermal Consortium, New York’s Solar Thermal Roadmap: Direction for New York State’s Renewable Energy Independent Future (Endicott, NY: New York Solar Energy Industries Association, 2010), pp. 1, 6.

43. Nelson, op. cit. note 42; Ambiente Italia, STO Database, ProSTO Project Web site, at www.solarordinances.eu, viewed 16 August 2010; State of Hawaii, Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, “SWH Variance Request Information,” at hawaii.gov/dbedt/info/energy/SWHVariance/requestinfo, updated 12 August 2010.

44. Karl Gawell et al., International Geothermal Development Directory and Resource Guide (Washington, DC: GEA, 2003); Holm et al., op. cit. note 3, p. 4; one megawatt of geothermal electricity generating capacity can power roughly 1,000 homes, from Alyssa Kagel, Diana Bates, and Karl Gawell, A Guide to Geothermal Energy and the Environment (Washington, DC: GEA, April 2007), p. 2.

45. Holm et al., op. cit. note 3, p. 7.

46. World Bank, “Geothermal Energy,” prepared under the PB Power and World Bank partnership program, at www.worldbank.org; Holm et al., op. cit. note 3, p. 4.

47. Jefferson Tester et al., The Future of Geothermal Energy: Impact of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) on the United States in the 21st Century (Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2006), p. 1-9; John W. Lund and Derek H. Freeston, “World-wide Direct Uses of Geothermal Energy 2000,” Geothermics, vol. 30 (2001), pp. 34, 46, 51, 53; Alexander Richter, Iceland Geothermal Energy Market Report (Reykjavik: Íslandsbanki Geothermal Research, April 2010), p. 12.

48. Tester et al., op. cit. note 47, p. 1-4; Julian Smith, “Renewable Energy: Power Beneath Our Feet,” New Scientist, 8 October 2008.

49. UCS, “How Geothermal Energy Works,” at www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/renewable_energy_basics/offmen-how-geothermal-energy-works.html, viewed 22 April 2009; Holm et al., op. cit. note 3, pp. 47–48.

50. Peter Janssen, “The Too Slow Flow: Why Indonesia Could Get All Its Power from Volcanoes—But Doesn’t,” Newsweek, 20 September 2004; “Geothermal Power Projects to Cost $US19.8 Bln, Official Says,” ANTARA News (Jakarta), 9 July 2008; Gita Wirjawan, “The Oil Cycle: The Wheels are Turning Again,” Jakarta Post, 12 March 2009; DOE, EIA, “Indonesia Energy Profile,” at tonto.eia.doe.gov/country/country_energy_data.cfm?fips=ID, updated 14 July 2010.

51. Holm et al., op. cit. note 3, p. 54; Yoko Nishikawa, “Japan Geothermal Projects Pick Up After 20 Years: Report,” Reuters, 4 January 2009; Lund and Freeston, op. cit. note 47, p. 46; Ormat Technologies, Inc., “Ormat and JFE Engineering Enter into a Cooperation Agreement for Implementing Geothermal Projects in Japan,” press release (Reno, NV: 28 June 2010).

52. U.N. Environment Programme, “Hot Prospect—Geothermal Electricity Set for Rift Valley Lift-Off in 2009,” press release (Nairobi: 9 December 2008); DOE, op. cit. note 18, retrieved 16 August 2010; Holm et al., op. cit. note 3, pp. 7, 13.

53. DOE, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, “Energy Savers: Geothermal Heat Pumps,” updated 24 February 2009, and “Energy Savers: Benefits of Geothermal Heat Pump Systems,” updated 30 December 2008, both at www.energysavers.gov; Jane Burgermeister, “Geothermal Electricity Booming in Germany,” Renewable Energy World, 2 June 2008; John W. Lund, Derek H. Freeston, and Tonya L. Boyd, “Direct Utilization of Geothermal Energy 2010 Worldwide Review,” presented at World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25–29 April 2010.

54. Lund and Freeston, op. cit. note 47, pp. 34, 51, 53.

55. United States from Tester et al., op. cit. note 47, p. 1-9; Japan based on assumption that Enhanced Geothermal Systems could double 72,000-megawatt potential, from Hirofumi Muraoka et al., “Assessment of Hydrothermal Resource Potentials in Japan 2008,” Abstract of Annual Meeting of Geothermal Research Society of Japan (Kanazawa, Japan: 2008); and from Hirofumi Muraoka, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, e-mail to J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute, 13 July 2009; China from Chris Bromley et al., “Contribution of Geothermal Energy to Climate Change Mitigation: The IPCC Renewable Energy Report,” presented at World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, 25–29 April 2010; Indonesia from Holm et al., op. cit. note 3, p. 53.

56. Stephen R. Gliessman, Agroecology: The Ecology of Sustainable Food Systems, 2nd ed. (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2006), p. 256; Pew Center on Global Climate Change, “Climate TechBook: Solar Power,” fact sheet (Arlington, VA: May 2009); Richter, Teske, and Short, op. cit. note 39, pp. 18–19.

57. Nic Lane, Issues Affecting Tidal, Wave, and In-Stream Generation Projects (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 26 November 2008).

58. IEA, op. cit. note 4, p. 623; IEA, IEA Member Countries and Countries Beyond the OECD, electronic databases, at www.iea.org/Textbase/country/index.asp, viewed 16 August 2010.

59. Jason Palmer, “Renewable Energy: The Tide is Turning,” New Scientist, 11 October 2008; ABS Energy Research, The Ocean Energy Report (London: 2009), pp. 13–23; Young Ho Bae, Kyeong Ok Kim, and Byung Ho Choi, “Lake Sihwa Tidal Power Plant Project,” Ocean Engineering, vol. 36 (April 2010), pp. 454–63; Kim Hyun-cheol, “Incheon to House Largest Tidal Power Plant,” Korea Times, 20 January 2010; IEA, Implementing Agreement on Ocean Energy Systems, OES-IA Annual Report 2009 (Lisbon: 2009), pp. 96, 103.

60. David Appleyard, “UK's Pentland Marine Energy Site Winners Revealed,” Renewable Energy World, 16 March 2010; Ireland’s national goal from Electricity Supply Board, “ESBI and Vattenfall Agreement on Ocean Wave Energy,” press release (Dublin: 15 June 2010); wave energy capacity factor from European Commission Strategic Energy Technology Plan Information System, “Ocean Wave Power,” at setis.ec.europa.eu/technologies/Ocean-wave-power, viewed 17 August 2010; wave potential from World Energy Council (WEC), 2007 Survey of Energy Resources (London: 2007), p. 544; DOE, op. cit. note 18, retrieved 16 August 2010.

61. REN21, op. cit. note 1, pp. 21, 54; “China Becomes Hydro Superpower, but Aims for Greater Capacity,” Xinhua, 25 August 2010; Lila Buckley, “Hydropower in China: Participation and Energy Diversity Are Key,” China Watch (Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute and Global Environmental Institute, 24 April 2007); “Rural Areas Get Increased Hydro Power Capacity,” Xinhua, 7 May 2007; Russell W. Ray and Andrew Lee, “A World of Opportunity,” Hydro Review, vol. 18, no. 2 (May 2010).

62. For a detailed explanation of the Plan B energy efficiency and renewable energy goals for 2020, see Lester R. Brown, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009) at www.earth-policy.org/books/pb4, as well as the supporting datasets for World on the Edge at www.earth-policy.org/books/wote/wote_data. Note that the Plan B goal for wind generation has been increased since publication of Plan B 4.0.

63. Reductions in fossil fuel use in the transportation sector based on a model developed by Earth Policy Institute using data from sources that include Stacy C. Davis and Susan W. Diegel, Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 26 (Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, DOE, 2007); IEA, World Energy Outlook 2006 (Paris: 2006); National Bureau of Statistics of China, China Statistical Yearbook 2006 (Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2006), on-line at www.stats.gov.cn/english.

64. “Texas to Spend Billions on Wind Power Transmission Lines,” Environment News Service, 18 July 2008; Eileen O’Grady, “Texas Finalizes Plan to Expand Wind Lines,” Reuters, 29 January 2009; TransCanada, “Zephyr and Chinook Power Transmission Lines,” at www.transcanada.com/zephyr.html, updated 21 June 2010; ITC Holdings Corp., “The Green Power Express,” at www.itctransco.com/projects/thegreenpowerexpress.html.

65. Rebecca Smith, “Drive to Link Wind, Solar Power to Distant Users,” Wall Street Journal, 13 October 2009; “CH2M HILL Tapped for Tres Amigas Transmission Project,” Wind Energy Weekly, vol. 28, no. 1400 (27 August 2010); Tres Amigas, LLC, “Benefits,” at www.tresamigasllc.com/about-benefits.php, viewed 16 October 2010.

66. Juliet Eilperin, “Google Backs ‘Superhighway’ for Wind Power,” Washington Post, 13 October 2010.

67. Cristina L. Archer and Mark Z. Jacobson, “Supplying Baseload Power and Reducing Transmission Requirements by Interconnecting Wind Farms,” Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, vol. 46 (November 2007), pp. 1,701–17; “CH2M HILL Tapped,” op. cit. note 65.

68. Janice Massy, “Grand Vision on Paper: Blueprint for a European Supergrid,” Windpower Monthly, vol. 24, no. 12 (December 2008), p. 37; Alok Jha, “Solar Power from Saharan Sun Could Provide Europe’s Electricity, Says EU,” Guardian (London), 23 July 2008; David Strahan, “From AC to DC: Going Green with Supergrids,” New Scientist, 14–20 March 2009; Paul Rodgers, “Wind-fuelled ‘Supergrid’ Offers Clean Power to Europe,” Independent (London), 25 November 2007; Friends of the Supergrid, “Ten Industry Leaders Form New Organisation to Advance Offshore Supergrid,” press release (Brussels: 8 March 2010); Eddie O’Connor, “The Supergrid,” O’Connor Online, blog, at eddie.mainstreamrp.com, viewed 30 September 2010; The ABB Group, “The NorNed HVDC Link,” at www.abb.com, updated 25 April 2010.

69. Fossil fuel subsidies for production and use from Global Subsidies Initiative, Achieving the G-20 Call to Phase Out Subsidies to Fossil Fuels (Geneva: October 2009), p. 2; renewable energy subsidies from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “Subsidies for Renewables, Biofuels Dwarfed by Supports for Fossil Fuels,” press release (London: 29 July 2010).

70. REN21, op. cit. note 1, pp. 37–39; Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), “Summary Maps: Renewable Portfolio Standards,” at www.dsireusa.org/summarymaps/index.cfm, updated July 2010; DSIRE, “Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency,” at www.dsireusa.org/incentives/index.cfm, viewed 12 August 2010.

71. WEC, Energy Efficiency Policies around the World: Review and Evaluation (London: 2008), pp. 41–43.

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