The 3000 kilowatt hour per person per year plan is less than half of the energy used by European countries and one quarter of what is used by the United States. If the rest of the world catches up to current levels of developed world wealth then this level of per capita energy use is a lower end expectation and does not allow for people to achieve greater wealth. Two to three times the per capita energy is a better plan for the mid 21st century.
# 11 United States: 12,747 kWh per capita (2008)
# 23 Japan: 7,701 kWh per capita (2006)
# 28 France: 7,328 kWh per capita (2006)
# 37 Germany: 6,642 kWh per capita (2007)
# 72 Poland: 3,357 kWh per capita (2007)
# 82 Turkey: 2,755 kWh per capita (2008)
# 86 China: 2,585 kWh per capita (2008)
Without a more sustainable and balanced energy mix, the increase in fossil fuels will be appalling and costly, and the environmental effects devastating. To counter this future dystopia, we propose a ⅓-⅓-⅓: a third fossil fuel, a third renewable and a third nuclear. To achieve this will require heroic efforts and infrastructure construction on a scale this planet has never seen:
a. Replacement of all existing coal with a combination of combined cycle gas and fluidized bed coal reactors which are somewhat cleaner,
b. 3 trillion kWhrs/year from hydroelectric
c. 1,700 new nuclear reactors to produce electricity totaling 10 trillion kWhrs/year from GenIII and GenIV designs including small modulars (China, alone, is planning about 400 new reactors)
d. Over two million 3+ MW wind turbines or equivalent totaling 3 trillion kWhrs/year
e. Concentrated, ordinary and distributed solar arrays totaling 3 trillion kWhrs/year
f. 100 bbl/yr of biofuels from algae, cellulosics and high-efficiency biomass, not ethanol
g. Over a trillion kWhrs/year from other alternatives such as wave, tidal and biogas.
The cost to implement and operate this mix will be about $65 trillion over 50 years, about $30 trillion of that in construction alone.
A business-as-usual mix of two-thirds fossil fuel would cost about the same to provide 30 trillion kWhrs/yr, with slightly less capital costs but more fuel and O&M costs.) About 2% of global GDP will be needed annually to provide for either of these futures
I have previously explained that the poor people in the developing countries and in the developed world want to achieve greater wealth. Having a bad plan where they are forced to settle for 25% of what the average American has per capita has now will not be enough.
China is already blowing by the 25% of American per capita energy usage.
In 2011 China’s annual generation was 4692.8 TWh. This was 3481 kWh per capita. China’s energy growth is still about 7% per year.
India, Indonesia, other part of Asia, large parts of Africa are all catching up with 5-8% GDP growth per year.
Increasing growth every 20 years Year flat 6% 6-11% 6-18% 2015 100 100 100 (trillions of dollars, World GDP PPP) 2020 134 134 134 2030 241 241 241 2.5 times energy 30K per cap 2040 431 474 571 3-4 times energy 50-70K per cap 2050 770 940 1390 5-10 times (10^14 watts, 100 terawatts) 80K-140K per cap 2060 1380 2000 4300 10-20 times energy 140K-430K per cap 2070 2500 4500 13700 15-40 times energy 250k-1.37 Million per cap 2080 4400 11600 56000 20-80 times energy 440K-5.6 M per cap
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.