SUSTAIN #3: Can we collect and store enough renewable energy to replace coal-fired electricity?

In 2020, renewables became the cheapest source of electricity – and frequent guest Ramez Naam brings us all the stats about this fully underway transition to solar and wind power. But without cheap storage, renewables will never be able to be the entire solution for a world that looks to need a lot more electricity. Australian startup MGA Thermal may have invented the ideal technology to accelerate our transition from coal to solar.

Read this article about how much wind energy the USA added to the grid in 2020 (a record!)

Here’s a Techcrunch article about MGA Thermal getting backed by Australian VCs Main Sequence – and their power station trial in Switzerland.

And finally, here’s a story about the day that solar generation (briefly) eclipsed generation by coal-fired plants in Australia’s winter!

Episode 2.02: Power Tools with Ramez Naam

Solar power cost $100 per kilowatt hour when energy futurist Ramez Naam entered the world. Last year, the UAE signed a 20-year contract for solar power at a four thousandth the cost. For Ramez Naam it’s no longer a question of if renewables, it’s a matter of when: the data proves it. Energy has been mixed with politics from the beginning – so over the next billion seconds, how do we talk ourselves out of our coal culture and into a sustainable future? Ramez Naam makes a convincing case for a future where we profit from the sun.

Here’s an excerpt:


There are some amazing things happening in the renewable energy space, as shown in this chart about a typical week of energy generation in South Australia:

Ramez gives a lot of talks about energy futures, here’s a recent one given in South Africa – a nation with some energy problems…

Ramez has also written a series of blog posts on the energy future – the first is linked here

Finally, here’s that infamous photo of Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison, on the day they passed a lump of coal around in Parliament:

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