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The world consumes energy at the rate of 20TW. To match this by 2050 we'd have to commission every day at least 200 wind turbines or 2 2GW nuclear reactors. Here's how that's worked out:

Some of the world's energy is produced by renewables, most by fossil fuels. Consumption is only going to go up. It seems reasonable to ask 'How much construction would be needed to enable 20TW, by each of the means available to us?' 'How fast will we need to build to hit 2050 net zero?' At the time of writing (2023) that gives 27 years.

Wind power

The biggest turbines currently (July 2023) produce 15MW. To be generous, and to keep the sums simple, let's allow them 20MW.

20TW is 20,000,000MW. We will thus need one million turbines running at 100%, two million at 50%, three million at 33%.

Taking two million over 27 years, that's roughly 74,000 a year 1400 a week 200 a day


Reactors can be built to produce 2GW.

20TW is 20,000GW. We would thus need one thousand reactors running at 100%, two thousand at at 50%.

Two thousand over 27 years, that's roughly 740 a year, 14 a week, 2 a day.

Last updated: 7 Dec 2023 14:48:48