06/08 Briefing paper on clean energy technologies and policies
There are many excellent technologies for clean energy, and they should all be promoted. Hydro, geothermal, biogas, biomass, wave and tidal energy all have their part to play. Increasing energy efficiency in buildings, factories and vehicles will offer quick rewards. The e-Parliament is focusing in particular on solar thermal power, solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power because:
They can be used everywhere in different combinations.
They are unlimited.
They are ready now for deployment on a massive scale, if the political will is there.
Almost everything we do with machinery (with the possible exception of air travel) can be powered, directly or indirectly, by electricity. Machines can be driven directly from electric grids – national grids or local mini-grids. Vehicles can be powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. The hydrogen can be produced by using electricity to electrolyse water.
There is no technical reason why we should not run the world economy on renewable energy. And in an era of dangerous climate change, there is every reason why we should. To produce all the energy that the world economy uses in a year, we only need to capture the equivalent of the solar radiation that reaches the planet in one hour.
To see how we could easily capture that energy, let us look more closely at a few key technologies that are available now, and then at policy tools that are in use in different parts of the world to accelerate the shift to clean energy.
Download the briefing paper on the clean energy solutions