Europe Could Use 100 Percent Renewable Electricity by 2050 Europe Could Use 100 Percent Renewable Electricity by 2050
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Europe Could Use 100 Percent Renewable Electricity by 2050

by Andrew Price

April 1, 2010
According to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Europe and North Africa could get 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2050.
The report ... concludes it is technically feasible to produce a pan-continental supersmart grid powered by solar farms in North Africa, hydro electric plants in Scandinavia and the European Alps, onshore and offshore wind farms in the Baltic and North Sea, marine energy, and biomass power facilities.Richard Gledhill, partner for sustainability and climate change at PwC, said the report "debunks some of the conventional criticisms of large-scale renewables" by demonstrating how "geographic and technological diversification can help address cost and security of supply concerns".Significantly, the report predicts that the rapid deployment of renewable energy capacity at scale will bring down the cost of low-carbon technologies, resulting in energy that is cost competitive and can provide affordable electricity across the region.
The report only says that this goal is "technically feasible," and there are some difficult political hurdles along the way. The road map provided in the report calls for new disincentives for building coal plants and for countries to adopt binding targets for renewables, for example. Those things are hard to do. But this is encouraging nonetheless, and gives us something to shoot for.And if this sort of future is possible in Europe, where lots of different countries have to coordinate, it should be equally possible in the States. In both cases, a key is investing in the kind of smart grid (or, as the report says, supersmart grid) that allows for wind and solar to be harvested where they're plentiful and moved to where they're needed.
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Europe Could Use 100 Percent Renewable Electricity by 2050