A global transition to a 100% renewable electricity grid is poised to be a reality, according to new research that was published by Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). The research highlights that the new system would be more cost-effective than the current fossil fuel-reliant system, and could also create millions of new jobs.
The new study – ‘Global Energy System based on 100% Renewable Energy – Power Sector’ was conducted by LUT and German non-profit, Energy Watch Group (EWG). The study was presented recently during the Global Renewable Energy Solutions (GRESS) event on the sidelines of COP23 talks in Bonn, Germany.
LUT has reportedly been investigating the potential of 100% renewable electricity grids based on its own modelling work, which computes the cost-optimal mix of technologies based on locally available renewable energy sources for the world structured in around 145 regions. The University has already published results highlighting the potential case for a 100% South America by 2030, a 100% Russia and Central Asia by 2030, a 100% Iran and the Middle East by 2030, and India by 2050.
The authors claim that the technologies already exist and that renewable energy potential and technologies inclusive of storage can generate sufficient and secure power that could cover the entire global electricity demand by 2050. And, this would result in a levelled cost of electricity (LCOE) on a global average in 2050 for 100% renewable electricity of €52($60)/MWh in comparison to €70($81)/MWh in 2015.
The study’s key overall findings include a global shift to 100% renewable electricity as feasibility with current technology. The study also projects solar PV and battery storage driving most of the electricity system, wind energy increasing to around 32% by 2030, and battery storage output covering 31% of the total demand in 2050. The study also highlights that the global greenhouse gas emissions would reduce to zero emissions by 2050.