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Is more green electricity the answer to climate change?

22 October 2021

With the opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions combined with a growing demand for energy, can we run the world on electricity alone? This was the question posed to industry experts in the BBC World Service programme, The Inquiry.

The target for many countries around the world is to move away from fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and gas, in order to reach net-zero emissions within the next few decades. For some, the answer to the problem is to boost “green” electricity production, so that we can run our transport, homes and industry on electrical power. We already have a lot of the technology required to produce clean electricity, but for millions of people around the world, the real problem is the lack of access to electricity.

In the conversation with the BBC World Service programme, The Inquiry, Professor Nick Jenkins, group leader of the Centre for Integrated Renewable Energy Generation and Supply, sets the scene for the programme by painting a picture of decarbonisation in numbers.

Ifeoma Malo, the CEO of Clean Tech Hub, discusses the important role that clean energy has in creating a sustainable future in Nigeria and the plethora of microgrid solutions that are widely available but need urgent investment to scale up.

Matteo Muratori, a senior engineer in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Centre for Integrated Mobility Sciences, gives a taste of a future in which electric cars take part in balancing the system.

Finally, Kirsten Smith, a research associate at the Centre on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, brings attention to the important role that geography (land, space and location) plays in electrification and the challenges associated with decarbonisation of heavy industry.

There is no immediate effective solution to decarbonisation, but in short, the programme speakers said, yes, with a strong mix of technology, good finance, and the right geography and policy to make it work, we can run the world on renewable electricity.

To listen to the conversation, go to:

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