CLIMATE SPECTATOR: A world run on solar?

The IEA paints a picture where nuclear and CCS are out, and solar – the cheapest antidote to catastrophic climate change – becomes the backbone of a largely renewable global energy system.

Climate Spectator

The International Energy Agency has outlined, in detail, its vision of how solar energy technologies could form the backbone of the world’s electricity network, providing half its electricity needs by 2060.

The scenario, outlined in the IEA’s Solar Energy Perspectives, released last week, was first canvassed in late August. Essentially, it looks at the options available to the world if it took decisive, but belated action, on climate change, and alternative technologies such as nuclear and carbon capture and storage failed to deliver as promised.

And, for the first time, it also recognises a future where baseload power may no longer provide the bedrock of the world’s energy needs, as it has done for a century or more, but is replaced by a system of flexible and inflexible energy sources, where intermittent sources such as wind and solar PV are complemented by "dispatchable” and flexible sources such as solar thermal with storage, hydro, and gas.