Myth: Solar, wind and batteries cannot support the entire global population

 |  6 May 2024

False. A 100% solar, wind and battery (SWB) system is possible in every region on earth that has access to sunshine or wind resources and is willing to invest in the infrastructure needed to harvest and store it. This includes high-latitude regions.

In the past, global advantages in energy production lay with the regions that have natural endowments of fossil fuels, and the distribution of these resources is starkly uneven. In the future, however, the energy advantage will tend to lie with the tropical and equatorial regions with the most abundant sunshine. More importantly, no single region will possess an overwhelming energy advantage or disadvantage because, unlike fossil fuels, sunshine and wind are ubiquitous.

Read our SWB regional analysis for more information.

Explore the evidence...

  • Policymakers, investors, civic leaders and the general public are under the false impression that it is impossible for SWB to supply 100% of our electricity needs, without weeks' worth of battery energy storage. However, a 100% SWB system would naturally produce a very large quantity of near-zero marginal cost energy, which we call SWB Superpower. This widespread misconception has been created by the failure of conventional models and forecasts to understand that future solar and wind generating capacity will greatly exceed the total electricity generating capacity operating today. To learn more about generation and storage capacity of batteries, and the potential of clean energy SWB Superpower, read p20-22 and p52-53 of our Rethinking Energy report.

  • In our Rethinking Energy report, we present data to illustrate what 100% SWB would look like in California, Texas and New England as a representative range of solar and wind resources across the U.S. These case studies generalize to nearly all other populated areas of the world, showing the potential for SWB to meet our global energy demand.

Take a deeper look at this analysis in our Rethinking Energy report:

p13 - Illustrates the summary of our findings for each region
p31-35 - Outlines our California Analysis
p36-41 - Outlines our Texas Analysis
p42-46 - Outlines our New England Analysis

Witness the transformation

A global clean energy system run by 100% SWB is both possible and inevitable for nations all over the world.

Learn more about the disruption and transformation of the energy sector.

Published on: 12/07/23

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