Coming soon: 100% renewable power

By Chris Nelder | December 12, 2012, 3:00 AM PST

One day in the not-too-distant future — probably sooner than many expect — some parts of the world will have power grids that are completely powered by renewables. Eventually, the entire world could be powered by renewables.

These are not green pie-in-the-sky fantasies, but the conclusions of recent research.

There is no doubt that renewable resources are positively vast. Solar alone could power the world: The solar energy that falls on the Earth every minute is more than the amount of fossil fuel the world uses every year. Wind alone could provide about 15 times the world’s energy demand. The recoverable geothermal heat under the U.S. is about 140,000 times its annual energy consumption. Wave power alone could supply twice as much electricity as the world consumes.

Capturing that energy, and being able to use it to power everything, is the hard part.

Read more: Coming soon: 100% renewable power — Smart Planet.

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