100% SWB isn't just a possibility, it's already happening

 |  18 May 2024

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In RethinkX’s 2020 Energy report, Rethinking Energy 2020-2030, Adam Dorr and Tony Seba wrote, “It is both physically possible and economically affordable to meet 100% of electricity demand with the combination of solar, wind, and batteries (SWB).” Despite predictable skepticism from mainstream analysts and incumbent interests, the data show that SWB has already begun to meet 100% of electricity demand for part of the year in many regions.

This is happening at scales both large and small, from the entire state of California to the city of Mumbai to remote Aboriginal communities. In 2023, South Australia was powered by only solar and wind for at least part of the day on 282 days of the year, and is on track to produce all annual electricity from SWB by 2028. A recent analysis by Argonne and NREL has shown that it is even possible to host 100% SWB in the South Pole, where solar and wind power can cut diesel usage by 95% and, with lithium-ion batteries, even 100%.

But this is just the beginning. In the United States, SWB will make up 94% of new capacity additions in 2024, bringing the percentage of total electricity generation by solar and wind power to 18% and still growing exponentially – a feat that seemed all but impossible just a decade ago. Battery capacity additions in 2024 are expected to be double those of 2023. In China, the progress is even more spectacular, with solar and wind slated to comprise 40% of total power generation capacity by the end of 2024.

Solar, wind, and batteries are still growing exponentially worldwide and showing no signs of inflecting into their s-curves yet. This puts leading regions on track to 100% SWB by 2030, and most of world’s populated regions to zero carbon electricity before 2040.

 

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Thanks to SWB, clean energy superabundance is finally within humanity's reach, so stay tuned for RethinkX’s next major energy report later this year!

 

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