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Quantifying a realistic, worldwide wind and solar electricity supply
Deng, Y.Y.; Haigh, M.; Pouwels, W.; Ramaekers, L.; Brandsma, R.; Schimschar, S.; Grözinger, J.; de Jager, D. (2015). Quantifying a realistic, worldwide wind and solar electricity supply. Global Environ. Change 31: 239-252. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.01.005
In: Global Environmental Change. Elsevier: Guildford. ISSN 0959-3780; e-ISSN 1872-9495, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Potential; Renewable; Energy; GIS; Global

Authors  Top 
  • Deng, Y.Y.
  • Haigh, M.
  • Pouwels, W.
  • Ramaekers, L.
  • Brandsma, R.
  • Schimschar, S.
  • Grözinger, J.
  • de Jager, D.

Abstract
    Nearly all long-term energy projections rely heavily on renewable energy sources on the assumption of abundance. Yet, already today, wind and solar projects can encounter local objections and competition with other uses. This paper presents the ranges of realistic potential supply for solar and wind electricity, using a 1 km2 grid level analysis covering the whole world at country level. In addition, the potential for building-based solar electricity is assessed. We find that long-term combined potentials range between 730 and 3700 EJ/a worldwide, depending crucially on the acceptable share of land—up to 3.5% of total (non-ice covered) land on earth. Realistic potentials account for limitations such as land-use competition and acceptance, together with resource quality and remoteness as proxies for cost. Today's electricity demand (65 EJ/a) is well covered by the range, but constraints may occur in the long run locally. Amongst large countries, Nigeria and India may need imports to meet electricity demand.

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