Redefining What’s Possible for Clean Energy by 2020

The Gigaton Throwdown report, by Sunil Paul, asks: What would it take to aggressively scale up clean energy to have a major impact on job growth, energy independence, and climate change over the next 10 years? Specifically, the report examines what it would take “to reach gigaton scale for nine technologies currently attractive to investors.”
“To attain gigaton scale, a single technology must reduce annual emissions of carbon dioxide and equivalent greenhouse gases (CO2e) by at least 1 billion metric tons — a gigaton — by 2020.”

The good news, the study concludes:
“Eight of the nine technologies that we analyzed are capable of aggressive scale-up to avoid at least 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (CO2e) reductions by 2020. Of these nine, there are seven — building efficiency, concentrated solar power, construction materials, nuclear, biofuels, solar photovoltaics, and wind — that are ready to scale up aggressively today. One, geothermal, can scale up fully after an intense period of research, development, and deployment of pilot plants for new engineered geothermal systems. Combined, these eight technologies can meet over 50% of new global energy demand with reliable, clean, low-carbon energy and would avoid over 8 gigatons of CO2e reductions globally.”
This is a lengthy report, with good information about the relationship between policy, technology and capital.  All must play a role, although, as the report points out, we have the technology, and the capital is generally available.  We just need predictability and certainty from our government policies.

“I’ve described increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as one of the greatest threats to the ongoing prosperity and sustainability of life on the planet. The good news is that creating businesses that will power our growth, and reduce our carbon output while protecting resources, is also the greatest wealth-generating opportunity of our generation. [There is no] choice between growth and reducing our carbon output.” — Richard Branson

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