Analysis & Opinions - Berkeley Blog

How to Globalize Clean Energy

| June 20, 2020

Abstract

Renewable energy is an essential component of our defense against emergent climate risk. While renewable generation and distribution technologies hold enormous promise now and are enjoying rapid innovation, they also face serious constraints to their global diffusion. Among these are capacity-load mismatches, intermittency, and affordability for the world's poor majority. This brief essay argues that more determined efforts to globalize renewable energy transmission can confer significantly higher economic and environmental benefits from renewables on billions of people. This can be done by exploiting spatial differences between electricity loads and net renewable generation across time zones (temporal arbitrage) and latitude (seasonal arbitrage). Using very long distance, ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission infrastructure, temporal and spatial arbitrage can move low-cost clean electricity from areas with excess capacity to high demand zones in other countries and even continents.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: David Roland-Holst and Cecelia Han Springer.“How to Globalize Clean Energy.” Berkeley Blog, June 20, 2020.

The Authors