Evolution of the transition to a world driven by renewable energy

Brian M. Fronk, Richard Neal, Nivas Srigarimella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The world's energy supplies will continue to be pressured as the population grows and the standard of living rises in the developing world. A move by the rest of the world toward energy consumption rates on par with the United States is most probably unsustainable. An examination of population trends, current energy utilization rates, and estimated reserves shows that a major worldwide transition to renewable resources is necessary in the next 100 years. This paper examines one possible scenario of how energy usage and renewable power generation must evolve during this time period. As the global standard of living increases, energy consumption in developing nations will begin to approach that of the developed world. A combination of energy conservation and efficiency improvements in developed nations will be needed to push the worldwide energy consumption to approximately 200 million Btu per person per year. Fossil fuel resources will be exhausted or become prohibitively expensive, necessitating the development of renewable energy resources. At this projected steady state population and energy consumption, the required contribution of each type of renewable resource can be calculated. Comparing these numbers to the current renewable capacities illustrates the enormous effort that must be made in the next century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210091-210097
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Energy Resources Technology, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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