Solar Power

Solar Power cvining Tue, 05/29/2007 - 19:55

Science Newssn-solar-2007 has a nice introduction to the role solar power may play in fighting global climate change.  Some telling statistics:

  • Total World Energy Consumption (2001): 13 Terawatts (TW)
  • Total World Energy Consumption (2050): 26 Terawatts (TW)
  • Total World Energy Consumption (2100): 39 Terawatts (TW)
  • Derived from coal, oil & natural gas (2001): 86%
  • 1 gigawatt (GW) power plants needed to generate 10 TW: 10,000
  • Time to build 10 TW of power plants: one new 1 GW plant/day for 27 years
  • Exploitable hydroelectric power worldwide: 0.5 TW
  • Extractable wind power worldwide: 2-4 TW
  • Solar energy arriving at earth: 120,000 TW

Nathan Lewis of CalTech is a prominent proponent of the argument that solar may be the only primary power source sufficient to fight global climate change.  He has written some excellent, technically detailed articles on the subject [bib]lewis2006[/bib],[bib]lewis2007[/bib] and a nice overview-style article with George Crabtree of Argonne [bib]crabtree2007[/bib]