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Pathways to a Lower Carbon & More Electrified Future

Waterloo Global Science Initiative's Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030

Imagine a world with abundant clean energy. How different human civilization would be with fewer energy limitations – less risk of climate change, no peak oil, and more renewable ways to provide power to an exploding global population. This is not our present situation. Today’s energy needs are met largely by high-carbon sources and inefficient technologies. Is there a better way? How could we use the latest scientific knowledge to best prepare ourselves for a lower carbon, more electrified future?

To explore these questions, the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) assembled a multinational, interdisciplinary, and multigenerational group in June 2011 for the Equinox Summit: Energy 2030. Together, these pioneering scientists, policy advisors, entrepreneurs, and tomorrow’s leaders took a fresh approach, focusing on what science and technology can deliver to tackle our global energy challenges.

Building on the initial output of their June collaborations, participants developed the Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 – a detailed view of the highest impact energy technologies, with a set of implementation strategies; a roadmap to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

Five technological strategies and implementation steps include:

  • Energy storage technologies to enable renewable electricity generation
  • Enhanced geothermal, tapping into the Earth’s heat using techniques we’ve already mastered
  • Advanced nuclear reactors for enhanced safety, utilizing inexhaustible resources (recycled uranium, thorium, and high level wastes) to close the fuel cycle
  • Off-grid electrification using flexible solar cells and self-sustaining micro-grids
  • Smart cities and electric transport for a global future dominated by urban living

“The Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 was a very different sort of collaboration, emphasizing dialogue between science, policy, industry, and the leaders of 2030,” says Professor Jatin Nathwani, the Equinox Summit’s Scientific Advisor and Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) at the University of Waterloo. “The multinational, multigenerational group arrived at a fresh approach, stepping away from political stalemates towards a science-driven, solutions-based strategy. They offer pragmatic next steps for a global energy transition to take shape.”

“The Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 gives readers an informed look at emerging energy technologies and a clean energy future that is within our global reach,” says Aaron Leopold, Equinox Summit Forum member and Director of Environment and Sustainable Development at the Global Governance Institute in Brussels. “We hope the knowledge presented in the Blueprint will help realign the global energy dialogue in a positive, collaborative direction, and motivate readers to accelerate efforts to achieve clean, sustainable energy for all.”

Founded in 2009, the non-profit Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) is a partnership between Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo. Located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, WGSI aims to present highly focused international conferences that can advance dialogue and catalyze the long-range thinking necessary for scientific and technological solutions of the future.

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