How to Power the World and U.S.
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How to Power the World and U.S. With Wind, Water and Sunlight. Mark A. Ruffalo (Water Defense) Marco Krapels ( Rabobank ) Mark Z. Jacobson (Stanford University). Talks at Google Mountain View, California June 20, 2012. What’s the Problem? Why Act Quickly?.

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Mark A. Ruffalo (Water Defense) Marco Krapels ( Rabobank )

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How to Power the World and U.S.

With Wind, Water and Sunlight

Mark A. Ruffalo (Water Defense)

Marco Krapels (Rabobank)

Mark Z. Jacobson (Stanford University)

Talks at Google

Mountain View, California

June 20, 2012

What’s the Problem? Why Act Quickly?

Air pollution mortality is one of five leading causes of death worldwide

Global temperatures are rising faster than during deglaciation at end of last ice age; Arctic sea ice is decreasing quickly

Higher population and growing energy demand will result in higher energy prices and worse air pollution and climate problems over time.

Norilsk, Russia

Sukinda, India

Linfen, China

Lung of LA Teenage Nonsmoker in 1970s; Lungs of People in Most Big Cities of the World Today



Mean Global Temperature Anomalies


  • 2010

  • 2005

  • 2007

  • 1998

  • 2009

  • 2011

  • 2006

  • 2003

  • 2002

  • 2004


Cleanest Solutions to Global Warming, Air Pollution, Energy Security – Energy & Env. Sci, 2, 148 (2009)


Recommended – Wind, Water, Sun (WWS)

1. Wind2. CSPWWS-Battery-Electric

3. Geothermal4. TidalWWS-Hydrogen Fuel Cell

5. PV6. Wave

7. Hydroelectricity

Not Recommended

NuclearCorn, cellulosic, sugarcane ethanol

Coal-CCSSoy, algae biodiesel

Natural gas, biomassCompressed natural gas

Why Not Nuclear?

9-25 times more pollution per kWh than wind from mining & refining uranium and using fossil fuels for electricity during the 11-19 years to permit (6-10 y) and construct (4-9 y) nuclear plant compared with 2-5 years for a wind or solar farm

Risk of meltdown (1.5% of all nuclear reactors to date have melted)

Risk of nuclear weapons proliferation

Unresolved waste issues

Why Not Clean Coal

(With Carbon Capture)?

50 times more CO2 emissions per kWh than wind

150 times more air pollutant emissions per kWh than wind

Requires 25% more energy, thus 25% more coal mining and transport and traditional pollution than normal coal.

Why Not Ethanol?

Corn and cellulosic E85 cause same or higher air pollution as gasoline

Corn E85: 90-200% of CO2 emissions of gasoline

Cellulosic E85: 50-150% of CO2 emissions of gasoline

Wind-BEVs: <1% of CO2 emissions as gasoline

Enormous land use and water requirements

Why Not Natural Gas?

50-70 times more CO2 and air pollution emissions per kWh than wind

Hydrofrackingcauses land and water supply degradation

Methane leaks a leading cause of Arctic ice loss over next 20 years

Wind Power, Wind-Driven Wave Power

Hydroelectric, Geothermal, Tidal Power

Concentrated Solar Power, PV Power

TorresolGemasolar Spain, 15 hrs storage,

Matthew Wright, Beyond Zero

Electric/Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Tesla Roadster all electric

Nissan Leaf all electric

Tesla Model S all electric

Hydrogen fuel cell bus

Electric truck

Hydrogen fuel cell–electric hybrid bus

Concentrated Solar Power, PV Power

Electric ship

Air-Source Heat Pump, Air Source Electric

Water Heater, Solar Water Pre-Heater

Heat pump water heater

End Use Power Demand For All Purposes


201012.5 TW 2.50 TW

2030 with current fuels16.9 TW 2.83 TW

2030 converting all energy

To wind-water-sun (WWS)

and electricty/H211.5 TW 1.78 TW

(32% reduction) (37% reduction)

Number of Plants or Devices to Power World


5-MW wind turbines 50%3.8 mill. (0.8% in place)

0.75-MW wave devices 1720,000

100-MW geothermal plants 45350 (1.7% in place)

1300-MW hydro plants 4900 (70% in place)

1-MW tidal turbines 1490,000

3-kW Roof PV systems 61.7 billion

300-MW Solar PV plants 1440,000

300-MW CSP plants 2049,000


Area to Power 100% of U.S. Onroad Vehicles


Footprint 1-2.8 km2

Turbine spacing 0.35-0.7% of US



Footprint 33%of total; the rest is buffer

Cellulosic E85

4.7-35.4% of US

Geoth BEV


Solar PV-BEV


Corn E85

9.8-17.6% of US

World Wind Speeds at 100m




All wind over land in high-wind areas outside Antarctica ~ 70-80 TW

= 6-7 times world end-use WWS power demand 2030 of 11.5 TW












World Surface Solar


All solar over land in high-solar locations~ 340 TW

= 30 times world end-use WWS power demand 2030 of 11.5 TW

End Use Power Demand For All Purposes

In these tests, California electricity was obtained from WWS for 99.8% of all hours in 2005, 2006. Can oversize WWS capacity, use demand-response, forecast weather, use more CSP to reduce natural gas backup more.

Hart and Jacobson (2011);

Resources for Nd2O3 (Tg) Used in Permanent Magnets for Wind Turbine Generators

COUNTRYRESOURCESNeeded to power 50% of world with wind


CIS 3.8


Australia 1

India 0.2

Others 4.1

World 27.34.4 (0.1 Tg/yr for 44 years)

Current production: 0.022 Tg/yr

Jacobson & Delucchi (2011)

Resources for Lithium (Tg) Used in Batteries

COUNTRYRESOURCESPossible number of vehicles @10kg/each

Bolivia 9with current known land resources

Chile 7.5



Argentina 2.6



World land333.3 billion+ (currently 800 million)


Jacobson & Delucchi (2011)

Costs of Energy, Including Transmission (¢/kWh)

ENERGY TECHNOLOGY2008-20102020-2030

Wind onshore4-7≤4

Wind offshore 10-178-13

Wave >>114-11




Solar PV 9-135-7


Conventional (+Externalities)7 (+5.3)=12.38-9.6(+5.7)=13.7-15.3

Jacobson & Delucchi (2011)

Summary of Plan to Power World with WWS

  • Converting to Wind, Water, & Sun (WWS) and electricity/H2 will reduce global power demand by ~32%

  • Eliminates 2.5-3 million air pollution deaths/year

  • Eliminates global warming, provides energy stability

  • 2030 electricity cost 4-10¢/kWh for most, 8-13 for some WWS ,

  • vs. fossil-fuel direct+externality cost ~13.5¢/kWh

  • Additional long-distance transmission (1200-2000 km) ~1¢/kWh

Summary of Plan to Power World with WWS

Requires only 0.4% more of world land for footprint; 0.6% for spacing (vs. 40% of world land for cropland and pasture)

Multiple methods of addressing WWS variability.

Materials are not limits although recycling may be needed.

Barriers : up-front costs, transmission needs, lobbying, politics.


Scientific conclusion:

WWS can power the USA

Businesses need energy price stability

and predictability.  Oil and gas can’t

provide that. Solar, wind and water can.

There's plenty of it:  1 hour of the sun's energy can power the planet for a year.

Elon Musk “all life on earth already is powered by the sun.  We're next...”

Google definition of Fossil:  An antiquated

or stubbornly unchanging person or thing.

Over the last 100 years, trillions of dollar have been invested in building a fossil fuel dependent energy infrastructure.

Since 1960 the oil and gas industry has received $400 billion in US subsidies

 They are still receiving

$4 billion per year…

California Electricity Prices Outpace Inflation, 1970-2011

Source Data: *U.S. Energy Information Administration: California’s Average Retail Electricity Price

**U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Urban Consumer Price Index (rebased)

Rabobank, N.A.

Committment to Renewable Energy: Direct Financing - Lakeside Dairy

Key Facts:

Location: Hanford, CA (Central Valley)

System Size: 887 kW DC

Configuration: Single-axis tracker

Expected first year energy production: 1,716,851 kWh

Utility Offset: Expected to replace 78% of utility power use at meter

Power Equivalency: Solar production equal to 243 homes in California

Lakeside Dairy is a family-run dairy operation with 6,300 head of cattle and

a custom farming business. The recent volatility in milk prices has

underlined the importance of hedging costs. The solar energy system

enables Lakeside to hedge against long run increases in utility power rates,

improving the client’s business and creditworthiness.

The solar array is at the bottom of the picture at right.

Rabobank, N.A.

Committment to Renewable Energy: Direct Financing - Castle Rock

Key Facts:

Location: Delano, CA (Central Valley)

System Size: 1,184 kW DC

Configuration: Fixed ground mount

Expected first year energy production: 1,771,507 kWh

Utility Offset: Expected to replace 69% of utility power use

Power Equivalency: Solar production equal to 251 homes in California

Castle Rock Vineyards is one of the world’s largest table grape growers. Many of Castle Rock’s European clients inquire about sustainability, making green technology and practices an integral part of Castle Rock’s business. Their solar energy system, financed by Rabobank, powers their cold storage facility. Rabobank structured the loan with a customized amortized loan to match the seasonality of solar energy production and associated state incentives. The value of avoided utility payments, combined with federal and state incentives, enables Castle Rock to generate net positive cash flow on a quarterly basis after loan payments. After the loan is paid off, Castle Rock’s savings will increase correspondingly. As utility electricity prices rise over time, their annual savings will increase.

Rabobank, N.A.

Committment to Renewable Energy – Main Financial Drivers

  • Main Financial Subsidies/Benefits from Ownership of a Renewable Energy Project

  • 30% Investment Tax Credit or Cash Grant

    • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 allows eligible taxpayers to take an investment tax credit (ITC) or to receive a cash grant from the U.S. Treasury Department.

    • The grant in lieu of tax credit option falls under section 1603 of the ARRA and is only available to systems where construction began prior to December 31, 2011.

  • Depreciation Benefits

    • Business owned systems may be eligible for MACRS 5-year Accelerated Depreciation

    • The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 allows for 50% bonus depreciation in 2012 for projects placed in service for by December 31, 2012

      • "Bonus Depreciation" means acceleration of the otherwise applicable depreciation (not "more" depreciation, but "sooner" depreciation)

    • Depreciable basis of a Renewable Energy System is 85% of project cost (the depreciable basis is reduced by one-half of the tax credit total or 15%)

    • Net Depreciation Impact: Assuming a 35% Federal Tax Rate, depreciation could account for approximately 30% of the cost of the renewable energy project

  • State Incentives

    • Based on the production of the renewable energy system

    • Incentives varies by state/utility; may account to 5%-10% of the total cost of the project

Mark A. Ruffalo (Water Defense)

Marco Krapels (Rabobank)

Mark Z. Jacobson (Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University)

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