Podcast: Talking with Mark Z Jacobson about 100% Renewable Energy

  • Published on March 1st, 2020

In the first half of this special two-part episode of our CleanTech Talk podcast interview series, Michael Barnard, Chief Strategist of TFIE Strategy Inc. and CleanTechnica contributor, takes Zach Shahan’s place as host to talk with Mark Z. Jacobson, professor at Stanford University and cofounder of The Solutions Project, about transitioning the world to 100% renewable energy.


You can listen to the full conversation in the embedded player below. Below that embedded SoundCloud player is a brief summary of the topics covered, but tune into the podcast to follow the full discussion.

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Mike and Mark immediately dive into Mark’s work developing energy roadmaps for 143 countries that represent more than 99.7% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Mark’s idea was to address global warming, air pollution, and energy simultaneously by electrifying all sectors. The two experts talk about the avenues through which energy can be saved on a global scale at the same time that electrification reduces social costs associated with current energy generation.

By electrifying, Mark says the world can save energy, whether it is from the way electric heat pumps use less energy or the way electric vehicles are much more efficient than combustion vehicles. Mark’s goal is electrification by 2050, explaining that by electrifying everything, there is a 57% power demand reduction possible. This translates, he says, to a 57% reduction of the actual cost to consumers for electricity even if the cost per unit of energy remains the same.

Mark notes that many people believe in the transition to 100% renewable energy sometimes even before they accept anthropogenic climate change to be a significant issue because of the energy security that renewable energy can provide. Mike and Mark expand the discussion to talk about the potential renewable energy carries for global energy security, providing benefits such as energy independence and stability in energy pricing despite international conflict.

Mike and Mark wrap up the first half of this two-part podcast by briefly going over Mark’s 2015 and 2017 studies on electrification. In 2017, the study covered 139 countries and 20 world regions, matched power demand supply using three different techniques, and explored different ways to meet power supply and storage demands. They explored the differences between the two studies and how Mark and team checked out alternative heating sources and techniques for extracting heat.

To hear more on these topics, in addition to more on Mark’s most recent research, listen to the show! You can find the second half of this episode on CleanTech Talk.

You can also read about Mark’s work in the following CleanTechnica articles:

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(Originally appeared at our sister-site, Cleantechnica.)

About the Author

Mark Z. Jacobson is Director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment and of the Precourt Institute for Energy. He received a B.S. in Civil Engineering, an A.B. in Economics, and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from Stanford in 1988. He received an M.S. and PhD in Atmospheric Sciences in 1991 and 1994, respectively, from UCLA and joined the faculty at Stanford in 1994. He has published two textbooks of two editions each and over 155 peer-reviewed journal articles. He received the 2005 AMS Henry G. Houghton Award and the 2013 AGU Ascent Award for his work on black carbon climate impacts and the 2013 Global Green Policy Design Award for developing state and country energy plans. In 2015, he received a Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for his work on the grid integration of 100% wind, water and solar energy systems. He has served on an advisory committee to the U.S. Secretary of Energy, appeared in a TED talk, appeared on the David Letterman Show to discuss converting the world to clean energy, and cofounded The Solutions Project (www.thesolutionsproject.org).