Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in

2008 MIT Energy Conference: Renewables at Scale: Big Green vs. Big Iron

The growing scientific consensus is that we have perhaps forty years to reduce drastically our GHG emissions below current levels to avoid catastrophic consequences. In the meantime, conventional wisdom has it that firm power services will continue to be supplied to the world's power grids predominantly by coal (eventually with carbon capture and sequestration), nuclear and large hydro (and to a lesser extent by natural gas) for decades to come, with non-hydro renewables growing exponentially over that period but continuing to play the marginal, non-firm role they've played almost exclusively to date. Yet nuclear and large hydro face significant environmental, logistical, financial and political hurdles; carbon capture and sequestration technologies are years from commercialization, will be costly, and don't address concerns with supply-chain environmental impacts; and natural gas cannot continue to fill the gap indefinitely. As a result, there are significant risks to relying on these “conventional” approaches to close the massive gap left by the current renewable energy paradigm. In short, there is an increasingly urgent need to change the renewable energy paradigm – to identify renewable, low-carbon technologies that are scalable, firm, dispatchable and commercially viable on a stand-alone basis within the next five to ten years, able to compete with coal and nuclear not only in the U.S. and Europe but in India, China and elsewhere. Are there potential solutions in view, and if so, why are they not receiving more attention and financial support from the mainstream energy policy and planning community?

Comments (0)

It looks like no one has posted a comment yet. You can be the first!

You need to log in, in order to post comments.

MIT Energy Conference

MIT Energy Conference

Category: Events | Updated over 6 years ago

May 15, 2008 10:57
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files

10906 times

More from MIT Energy Conference

2008 MIT Energy Conference: Transmission Infrastructure: Connecting New Ideas to the Grid

2008 MIT Energy Conference: Transmi...

Added over 8 years ago | 01:01:00 | 11287 views

2009 MIT Energy Conference: Energy in Emerging Economies

2009 MIT Energy Conference: Energy ...

Added over 7 years ago | 01:13:30 | 26961 views

MIT Energy Conference 2010 - China: The Cradle of New Energy Technology?

MIT Energy Conference 2010 - China:...

Added over 6 years ago | 01:07:00 | 6526 views

2008 MIT Energy Conference: Morning Keynote: John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

2008 MIT Energy Conference: Morning...

Added over 8 years ago | 00:46:27 | 14395 views

2009 MIT Energy Conference: Wind Power Generation

2009 MIT Energy Conference: Wind Po...

Added over 7 years ago | 01:04:21 | 20270 views

2009 MIT Energy Conference: The Coming Decade for Baseload Power

2009 MIT Energy Conference: The Com...

Added over 7 years ago | 01:10:30 | 28067 views