Friday Jan 27, 2023

Electric Everything, Part 4 — Some Updates – CleanTechnica

In parts one, two, and three of this “Electric Everything” series, I listed 43 things that have been electrified, mostly in recent years — from tiny scooters to giant ferries and ships, and everything in between. If we want to save the planet, we must electrify everything as soon as possible and convert to clean electricity generation.

Mark Jacobson of Stanford University has written a series of articles with more or less the title “100% Energy from Wind, Water, and Solar.” His first article was published in Scientific American in 2009. In March of 2011, “Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power … Part I” was written. In addition, in 2015, Jacobson first published a roadmap of renewable energy from wind, water, and solar (WWS) for all US 50 states. He has since published road maps for providing 100% energy supplies from wind, water, and solar for every US state and 46 countries minute by minute. This is especially relevant because wind and solar are intermittent sources and clean electricity generation must meet demand. We need to build out the electrical grid to transmit clean power over long distances. We also need to build out pumped water storage to fill in the gaps in wind and solar generation. Read Jacobson for the explanation for rejecting nuclear or any other source from the mix.

The bottom line is that Jacobson has presented a path where the entire global electrical energy supply can be derived 100% from clean sources. When first presented, the cost of converting to such a system would have required expenditures on the order of magnitude of what the US spent for WWII. In the meantime, the cost of wind and solar power generation has become so cheap that this conversion will be cheaper than continuing to generate power using fossil fuel.

Conversion from fossil fuel generation to clean generation will happen eventually through normal economics. However, to save the planet, this needs to be accelerated by government subsidies and regulation.

Jacobson makes the case that everything — including all vehicles, building heating, steel production, and cement production — must also be converted to 100% electric power. The states of California and Washington got the message. They have passed regulations that no fossil gas lines can be connected to new construction.

As individuals, we have little power to speed the conversion of industrial sources of power to electricity. However, we can assume that there will be dramatic progress towards clean electrical power generation. We can assume that any electricity we consume as individuals will eventually come from totally clean sources. In the meantime, we can help turn the tide away from fossil fuel toward 100% electric power consumption.

What we can do as individuals is reduce our own consumption of power as much as possible and convert the rest to 100% electricity.

Individuals should start with the biggest or at least the easiest things first:

  1. Upgrade your house to use as little energy as possible through increased insulation, low-heat-loss windows, and sealing of all air leaks.
  2. Convert all light bulbs to LEDs. (LEDs use 1/10 the power of incandescent bulbs.)
  3. Convert gas stovetops to electricity if needed.
  4. Replace all fossil-fuel-consuming vehicles with electric vehicles.
  5. Replace your gas furnace with a heat pump.
  6. Replace your water heater with a heat pump.
  7. Convert all yard and workshop tools to battery electric.
  8. Install solar panels on your roof so that the electricity you use now comes from a clean source and you don’t …….


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