100% Renewable energy was among the most pronounced topics of COP21, alongside with climate change, climate action and civil society mobilisation. We’ve seen several green energy initiatives being launched at the COP21, accelerating the transition to 100% renewable energy future.
In the first week of the COP21, the Parisian icon, Eiffel Tower, lit in the global support for transition to 100% renewable energy by mid-century – an artwork done by Naziha Mestaoui. The civil public is constantly advocating for the rapid energy transformation and at the same time small and big businesses are realising the potential for deploying the renewables in all corners of the world. Renewables have become a cost-competitive source of power and new business cases are sprouting in this field in all countries.
To put forward one out of many perspectives on 100% renewable energy and how to achieve the transformation, Professor Mark Jacobson, the Director of Stanford University’s Atmosphere/Energy program kindly provided explanation of his approach. He has released analyses of how 139 countries and all 50 US states can actually get to a 100% clean energy future.
1. What states is the 100% campaign active in? Are there any plans to spread the movement internationally as well (or is it already happening)?
It is important to separate the fact that the 100% clean energy plans developed at Stanford University are scientific plans independent of any “campaign.” The main goal of the Solutions Project (and 100.org) is to educate the public, other NGOs, businesses, and policy makers about these plans. To that end, many other NGOs support the 100% goals as well and have contributed in their own way to educating the public, etc about the plans. My involvement with the Solutions Project is primarily to provide the energy plans independently. I don’t work specifically with other NGOs but I do talk with people I meet and who ask me questions and who contact me.
The states that the plans have been introduced to policy makers include California and New York, primarily. Both states have adopted 50% clean, renewable energy by 2030 goals, which are ~62% of our 80% by 2030 goal. The three main Democratic presidential candidates, Clinton, Sanders, and O’Malley have also committed to our 100% by 2050 goal.
2. Do you work with other NGOs who are advocating for the 100% renewable such as 350.org and WWF?
No, but as mentioned, I answer questions and give talks that people attend.
3. How does the modelling used for the 100% map on your website relate to current policies and actions worldwide? Are the maps solely based on the scientific evidence on the usable renewable energy potential in countries?
We start with existing WWS infrastructure then project forward what that infrastructure could look like in a 100% world after converting all energy sectors to electricity. Thus, they are based on scientific estimates rather than estimates derived from current or proposed policies.
4. Even as a renewable energy professional, I am lost in all the initiatives for advocating the renewable energy use and the 100% transition to the clean technologies. How should broaden public understand your stake in the comprehensive network of all global renewable energy initiatives?
I am not aware of any other global renewable energy initiative that proposes a plan for each individual country nor one that covers 100% of all sectors with 100% WWS.
5. How can an individual take practical actions towards the 100% renewable energy in the future? How can an individual take climate-friendly actions, if he/she can’t or doesn’t want to join one of the movements advocating for change.
Individuals in their own homes can weatherize their home, put solar on their roof, use LED lights, use more energy efficient appliances, replace fossil cars with electric cars, replace gas air and water heaters with electric heat pumps powered by solar on their roofs, replace gas stoves with electric induction stoves, telecommute, bicycle more, etc.
6. What do you think COP21 (with or without a binding agreement) changed in the public perception of climate change and what position in global development climate change gained by this climate actions momentum culminated in Paris in December
I think there was more of a global consensus that climate change is a real problem (fewer climate deniers), and I think the goal to 100% clean, renewable energy really obtained traction.
7. What will be next steps for 100% campaign after the COP21?
I am not involved in the “campaign” but rather in the science of developing roadmaps. The next step is to perform grid integration studies by breaking up the 139 countries into 20 world regions where we check if we can keep the grid stable.
8. Why do you think is the climate change narrative not strong enough to convince all the people to take actions towards climate change adaptation and mitigation?
Although the changes can be seen, they occur somewhat slowly compared with “shock” news, so people are largely less concerned.
9. Who will make the most significant change in RE deployment: the governments, big companies, mid- and small-scale enterprises or individuals installing RE technologies in their households?
All of the above must contribute to have rapid, effective change.
10. What did you come to achieve in Paris and how did it go?
My goal was to present our scientific work – educate the public and policy makers about it. I feel there was a groundswell of interest around the plans, so I think the visit was successful.
– Adriana Karpinska