Renewable energy is already here

In case the shift to renewable energy described by Shell yesterday seems difficult to achieve, here’s a reminder of some of the advances that have already been made:

Globally, in 2010 we added three times more new wind power than nuclear.
On January 6th 2010, 75% of Spain’s electricity came from renewable energy.
An electricity company in India is making power from rice husks.
Solar photovoltaic could account for 5% of global power demand by 2020, and up to 9% by 2030
Google is planning to build an offshore wind superhighway that will supply 1.9 million households..
West Virgina could replace all its electrical capacity with just 2% of its geothermal power potential.
The world’s largest offshore windfarm is made of 100 turbines & supplies enough power for 200,000 homes.
Subsidies to fossil fuels worldwide outweigh support for renewable energy by a ratio of 12:1.
Wind could meet 12% of global power demand by 2020, and up to 22% by 2030..
On November 9th, 2009, Spain generated more than half its electricity demand with wind power.
project is underway to deliver one sixth of Europe’s electricity from solar plants in the Sahara by 2050.
Price Waterhouse Cooper says Europe and North Africa could run on 100% renewable energy by 2050.
China built (roughly) one windmill an hour in 2009.
Wind overtook coal as the third-largest producer of power in Spain in 2009.
The annual market for renewable technology will rise from appx US$100 billion today, to$600 bn+ by 2030.
Europe DECOMMISSIONED more coal, fuel oil and nuclear capacity than it installed in 2009.
Solar energy is now working at night on a commercial scale. A plant in Spain has seven hours of heat storage.
The global financial crisis didn’t stifle the US wind power market: it grew by 39% in 2009.
China become the largest investor in clean energy in 2009, investing $16 billion more than the US.
Concentrated Solar Power plants focus the suns rays with mirrors at temperatures which melt steel.
The world’s largest wind farm is in Texas.
Geothermal power provides 10% of New Zealand’s electricity needs.
Iceland’s power supply went from 75% imported coal to more than 80% local geothermal and hydro in just 30 years.
In the space of just 5 years, Portugal’s electric grid leapt from 15% to 45% renewables.
Concentrated Solar Power could employ 200,000 people by 2020, 2.1 million by 2050.

Shell is correct that big changes are coming. But it is achievable. The technologies we need are already here. It is just a matter of putting them in to place — and timing.

Thanks to Greenpeace for these tweets, some of which were new to us.

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