A cubic mile of oil per year is about 5.084 Terawatts per year with continuous power generation. making current world energy use around 15 TW.
The world is using about 3.9 cubic miles of oil per year in electricity. The world was using 3.19 cubic miles of oil per year in electricity in 2006. The world also uses oil and energy for industrial and residential heat and electricity.
If 10 billion people used European levels of electricity then the world would need 10 terawatts of 100% capacity electricity. If ten billion people in the world were at US per capita levels then 20 terawatts of 100% capacity electricity would be needed.
The world’s population is currently not projected to peak before 2100. The UN projection is for world population to head to 12-14 billion. If longevity goes beyond current a lot beyond current UN population models the world population could go to 15-20 billion.
If the world goes to electric cars and uses electricity to replace more industrial and residential uses then the electricity demand could go to triple or seven times current electrical usage. It would be double or triple with more ride-sharing.
The World will need about 8 cubic miles of oil per yaer by 2050.
The world should consider plans for 50 to 100 terawatts of electrical power generation. This is 20 to 40 cubic miles of oil per year in 2100.
This would mean adding 1000-1500 gigawatts of nuclear power per year as we near 2100. It would mean three times as much wind because of wind lower capacity factor. It would mean 5 to 6 times as much solar because of solar’s lower capacity factor.
China and South Korea nuclear costs
China and South Korea have the world’s lowest construction cost for nuclear power plants at about $2000 per kilowatt or about $2 billion for a gigawatt plant. China estimates that building two identical 1000 MWe reactors on a site can result in a 15% reduction in the cost per kW compared with that of a single reactor. This can bring the cost down to about $1.7 billion for each gigawatt nuclear plant.
2600 nuclear power plants built in China, South Korea and other places where a lot of power is being added could cost less than $5 trillion. There are new technology molten salt nuclear plants which are targeting $700 to $1000 per kilowatt. This would bring the cost of replacing one cubic mile of oil per year to $2 to 2.6 trillion.
The cost estimates for cubic mile of oil replacement are based upon prices in the USA. However, the USA and Europe are building very little new energy. There is mainly a shift from coal to natural gas plants.
The costs estimates for cubic mile of oil replacement do not consider any costs to alter or build new or replacement power grid or energy storage. The costs also do not typically look at the supply chain costs and other changes for new power.
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.
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