We all aspire to give our 100% to everything we do. We urge our children to give their 100% in their efforts in life. We motivate our staff to give their 100%. When we add all of this up, it seems that we are seekers of a 100% future. This is what scientists are seeking too - a world which is 100% better than what it is now. And in the space of sustainability, a world that is powered with 100% renewable energy.
Back in 2005 when I was building Our Native Village, my 100% eco resort located just outside Bangalore, we used sustainable processes, practices and technologies in the five pillars of sustainability. Then we were called fools, as it was deemed impossible and a waste of time. All it took was for international prices of oil to hit US$100 a barrel around 2008/2009 and suddenly I was declared a visionary! A similar syndrome is happening on a larger scale in the world, where many believed that relying on 100% renewable energy is foolhardy, and all of them are slowly but surely being proved wrong. The propagators of a 100% renewable energy world are being hailed as heroes.
One of them is a scientist called Mark Jacobson, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. He has been working on models since 2009, and now he along with more than 85 co-authors have written a series of articles evaluating the scientific, engineering, and economic potential of transitioning the world's energy infrastructures to 100% renewable energy - wind, water, and solar (WWS) for all purposes by 2050.
At one time we never believed that it is technically possible to shift to 100% renewables. But the papers that these scientists have written is shifting the conversation globally, and opening up the possibility of a truly de carbonised world. Burning fossil fuels for generating electricity releases huge amounts of carbon di oxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, which is the primary cause for global warming leading to extreme climate events and resulting in damage to the planet and loss of lives. The models built by these scientists says that we can now truly move away from burning fossil fuels completely.
This has helped to motivate a wave of 100% renewable energy commitments by over 100 cities and subnational governments, including 35 cities in North America, 100 large international companies, and 48 countries. California, the world's 6th largest economy, announced its 100% by 2045 renewable target and proposed U.S. House & Senate resolutions and a U.S. Senate Bill calling for the United States to go to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050!
The Solutions Project, as part of its 100% campaign, used data from the Stanford University and has projected the impact of countries going 100% WWS by 2050. The projections for India are quite compelling. While the mix of energy sources is predictably dominated by solar and wind, the model projects close to 5 million new jobs will be created. Overall energy consumption will decrease by up to 42% and avoided health care costs, mainly from pollution from burning fossil fuels, will be 12% of GDP!
Many NGOs like The Solutions Project, The RE 100 organisation, the Sierrra Club, the Go 100 percent, Environmet America, etc., are engaging communities, companies, and governments to increase the speed of the transition to 100% WWS. And so are investors. According to REN21's Global Status Report on renewable energy, renewable power generating capacity saw its largest annual increase ever in 2016, and investments in renewables are steadily growing. In 2015, an estimated $312 billion were in investments, more than double the investment in coal and gas-fired power plants.
I believe that we need to reach for the stars. Aspiring to go 100% renewable is reaching for the stars. May the stars shine and send their blessings to all those who are working towards a 100% renewable energy world!...