I did not expect such news, but I certainly do not reject it. A large group of scientists agree that building an infrastructure with clean energy is not only possible, but that there are now clear paths to make it a reality.
And also in a short time. In just 13 years, the team writes in a study, we could have 90% clean energy.
Where's the catch?
You tell me. From what I infer by taking a look at this study presented just a few days in the scientific journal Joule (I link it here), everything seems OK. On paper.
To nitpick, the researchers don't know which fish to take to get the remaining 10%, but I wouldn't get to say anything.
Also because the studio wants to immediately shake off the label of "dream book", and illustrates in detail both the obstacles to be removed and the solutions to achieve the goal.
Clean energy, the right mix
Here we have all arrived: achieving the objectives on renewables requires a "basket" that does not include just one type of clean energy, but several. Wind power e solar, to be precise, they would contribute from 60% to 80% of the total, thanks to a generation capacity that will triple by 2035.
To complete the picture, however, we also need hydrogen and (in "surgical" quantities) nuclear power. "A portfolio of resources," to use the words of Trieu Mai, senior energy researcher for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and lead author of the paper.
The last step
As mentioned, the encouraging work published in Joule offers us good prospects for the future, but it stops one step away from the final goal. And it does, I must say, very honestly.
"It takes humility to accept that we don't know ... the optimal mix to solve the last 10%". The biggest difficulties? Those linked to the speed and exponential growth necessary to scale all these renewables, finance research and development and adapt our entire logic of production, distribution and energy supply.
In other words, we can have all the clean energy we want, but we need to completely change our skin. Mai and colleagues, however, consider it indispensable.
Of course, there are two big political and economic factors that make the game difficult. Costs (nuclear e geothermal can be quite expensive, for example) and short-term profitability (the use ofhydrogen is far from ready for the market) can waste us more time.
A degree of uncertainty that researchers are able to convey to me very well. To the point that, on balance, all my optimism at the beginning of the article I don't already have it anymore.