The energy and environmental security of humanity is the most discussed issue nowadays. The energy and the energy industry form the basis of any civilization. As technologies continued to develop, humanity uses more and more energy. In the 20th century, humanity increased energy consumption by ten times. The actual energy capacity of modern civilization is going to reach 20 billion kW and the average energy consumption per person on the planet is 1,900 kg of oil equivalent (OE) per year. Скачать в формате PDF
46 American Scientific Journal № ( 25 ) / 20 19
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V.V. Tetelmin
Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor
Peoples' Friendship University of Russia
V.A. Grachev
Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Peoples' Friendship University of Russia
Lomonosov Moscow State University

The energy and environmental security of human-
ity is the most discussed issue nowadays. The energy
and the energy industry form the basis of any civiliz a-
tion. As technologies continued to develop, humanity
uses more and more energy. In the 20 th century, human-
ity increased energy consumption by ten times. The ac-
tual energy capacity of modern civilization is going to
reach 20 billion kW and the average ener gy consump-
tion per person on the planet is 1,900 kg of oil equiva-
lent (OE) per year.
In 2017, the global production of coal, oil and gas
reached 11,425 million tons of OE; 945 million tons of
OE of energy was produced by renewable energy
sources (RES). Thus, humanity is about to use
160,160 х10 12 kWh/year of energy in households, in-
dustry and transport.
During the UN Climate Change Conference in Ka-
towice in December 2018, a non -governmental organi-
zation named Energy Watch Group (EWG) presented a
forecast about the transition of the EU countries to
RES, with consideration of energy stations and
transport, by 2050. In this forecast, the solar energy will
take 62%, wind energy – 32%, hydropower – 4%, bio-
mass energy – 2%. In our opinion, this forecast is un-
foun ded, as environmental limits will not allow satisfy-
ing the global demand for energy only by RES, espe-
cially by just one dominating source.
It is necessary to conduct a systematic analysis of
the limits to the growth for the selected RES. The
evaluation con cerning 62% of solar energy is clearly
overestimated. Its development will be restricted by
natural factors, material resources, and especially by
land resources.

American Scientific Journal № (25 ) / 201 9 47
Recently, world population growth has slowed
down. Volumes of global coal production have de-
creased (production growth is observed only in India,
Russia and Kazakhstan). World oil reserves have been
depleted (since 1984, the number of developed oil re-
serves has been decreasing). The energy efficiency of
production of one unit of GDP has also incre ased. The
above -mentioned processes result in a decrease in the
growth rate for the use of global gross energy and in an
increase in carbon dioxide emissions (Table 1). The in-
crease of СО 2 emissions falls behind the energy produc-
tion growth rate due to inc reasing usage of carbonless
green energy.

1975 -2000 2.0% 1.2%
2000 -2010 2.8% 2.5%
2010 -2017 1.2% 1.1%
Since 1973, the world has been switching to en-
ergy -saving technologies, trying to improve energy
production and energy consumption simultaneously.
The annual global investments in production efficiency
are more than 200 billion US dollars, and as a result,
the energy intensity per unit of GDP is globally reduc-
ing by 2% every year. For example, the GDP of Ger-
many has increa sed by 50% since 1990, but energy con-
sumption has increased only by 9%.
In accordance with the road map, the EU countries
plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40%
against the 1990 level and to increase the RES share by
27%. China plans to commission a solar plant (SP) with
a capacity of 160 GW (performance is expected to be
181 ТWh/year) and a wind farm (WF) with a capacity
of 280 GW (performance is expected to be 432
ТWh/year). Now, the worldwide installed capacity of
RES is more than 1,000 GW and is going to reach the
world capacity of hydroelectric power plants (HPP).
Today, 25 countries provide 5% of their electrical en-
ergy from RES and 13 of them provide 10% of their
electrical energy from RES.
In the 21 st century, the ratio of energy resources
used by humanity is going to change significantly. Ac-
cording to our estimations, by 2050, the share of differ-
ent energy resources in the world energy industry will
correspond to values, presented in Table 2. One should
examine in detail the reasons for such diversification of
the world energy balance.
1900 60 3 2 33 2 - - -
2000 28 36 20 5 3 1 1 6
2100 5 5 16 18 6 18 16 16
Fossil fuel takes about 80% of the world energy
balance. In 2017, 53.5 billion tons of greenhouse gases
in СО 2 equivalent were emitted in the atmosphere. The
world energy industry should continue to develop, but
it should not lead to billions of tons of combusted fuel.
According to Paul Ehrlich, the German Doctor and a
Nobel Prize Winner, “Perpetual growth is the c reed
of a cancer cell”. In pursuit of energy, the human being
has narrowed fauna areas so much that all wild animals,
including mice and elephants, take 3%, while people
and domestic animals take 97%. Large livestock pro-
duces up to 6% of greenhouse gas methane in СО 2
When looking at the evolution of biosphere and
society, it appears that the populations and societies
who started to use new forms of energy were more
competitive. The countries of the Golden Billion
achieved the largest GDP values by consuming more
energ y (Figure 1). As it is shown in the figure, GDP
growth corresponds to the growth of primary energy
consumption. 20% of the Earth population consume up
to 80% of the energy produced. If all people of the
planet were consuming as many resources as an aver-
age European, two more planets of the same size as the
planet Earth would be needed.

48 American Scientific Journal № ( 25 ) / 20 19
Figure 1. Correlation between GDP and energy consumption per capita.
Золотой миллиард the Golden Billion
Россия Russia
Весь мир Whole world
Латинская Америка Latin America
Азия Asia
Африка Africa
кВт -ч/чел. kWh/capita
ВВП, долл./чел. GDP, US dollars/capita
In the context of today’s crisis situation, the global
economy is gradually switching from fossil fuel to car-
bonless energy production. More particularly, China is
taking active actions in its development, as a part of an
“ecological civilization” policy, which is stipulated by
the Constitution. According to the forecasts of the In-
ternational Energy Agency, the share of fuel in the
world energy balance will decrease to 55% by 2040.
England and Germany are closing their minds and are
actively switching their economy to the “green econ-
omy”. The RES capacity in England is 41.9 GW. By
2050, Germany plans to produce up to 60% of its con-
sumed energy from RES. In 2017, the EU countries
produced 310 billion kWh (21%) of electrical energy
from wind and sun; it is equ ivalent to the annual per-
formance of HPP for all European countries.
Today’s energy supply of human civilization is
presented in Figure 2.

American Scientific Journal № (25 ) / 201 9 49
Луна Moon
Солнце Sun
Приливы Tides
Фотоны Photons
Ветер Wind
Вода Water
Биомасса Biomass
Пища Food
Топливо Fuel
Fig. 2. Energy of the Earth and civilization (kWh/year): 1 – radiation energy received from the Sun and tidal
energy received from the Moon; 2 – transformation of the cosmic energy received by the Earth in various forms,
suitable for the use by humanity: tidal energy, thermal energy of photons, wind and wave energy, energy of
evaporation of water and ocean currents, energy of synthesized biomass; 3 – volume of v arious forms of renewa-
ble energy used by humanity; 4 – volume of non -renewable energy received by the Earth in past historic periods:
the energy of fossil fuels (formed 50 -100 million years ago); geothermal energy (formed 4.5 billion years ago);
nuclear en ergy (formed more than 5 billion years ago).

The estimated potential of RES of solar origin is
characterized with the following values (kWh/year) [2]:
hydropower 0.39 х10 14; wind energy 21 х10 14; solar en-
ergy 1,500 х10 14. However, the RES are not always
harmless for the biosphere, so it is not possible to use
all their potential for economic and ecological reasons.
The production of any kind of energy involves the
isolation of a land area, and RES require massive areas
of alienated lands (Table 3).

FUEL 2,100 16
WF 2,000 320
HPP 3,300 40 -4,000
Huge territories are needed to produce energy on
an industrial scale, from sun and wind, while the area
of global land resources is 130 billion km 2 (87% of all
land) and is limited. Land resources are used by modern
civilization as follows: 10% of land is used for
ploughed fields; 25% – for hayfields and pastures; 30%
– for forests; the total area of human settlements, pro-
duction facilities and communication fac ilities is about
5%; the total area of deserts and inarable lands is 17%.
The objective of the modern energy industry is to
switch from the production of 130 х10 12 kWh/year of
fuel energy to the production of renewable energy. Dif-
ferent countries may have different motivation for it.
For the EU countries, it is a desire for energy independ-
ence; for China, the main motivation is clean air; for
India – a fight against poverty; for African countries –
food supply security. It is efficient to use desert and
shelf areas, as it is forbidden to reduce the area of
forests from the ecological point of view and it is for-
bidden to reduce agricultural lands used for the se-
curity of food supply for the civilization.
Biomass energy. The main benefit of biomass is
that the quantity of СО 2 produced during the combus-
tion of biomass is equal to the quantity of carbon con-
sumed during photosynthesis. Biomass has always
been and remains t he most important source of “energy
of life” for humanity. Humanity consumes up to 20 bil-
lion tons (12%) per year of primary biological products
including all food products and products for domestic
animals. 2.7 billion tons of these 20 billion accounts fo r
the worldwide grain harvest.
Every year, 10% (about 200 billion tons per year)
of plant biomass is renewed through photosynthesis. It
accumulates approximately 600 х10 12 kWh of solar en-
ergy. Using this biomass, humanity consumes up to 2
billion tons of wo od for fuel every year, which is equiv-
alent to 10 х10 12 kWh of solar energy, contained in
The current capacity of bioenergy power plants is
going to reach 100 million kW. Fuel pellets from
wooden and agricultural waste are used as an energy
source for this industry. Waste incineration plants are
also a part of the bioenergy industry.

50 American Scientific Journal № ( 25 ) / 20 19
Humanity starts to develop different techniques
for processing photosynthesis products into biofuel,
such as compacting for colza oil, pyrolysis of wood for
bio -oil, ferme ntation for bioethanol, decompounding
organics for biogas, Fischer -Tropsch synthesis to pro-
duce methanol from coal and wood.
One must note that it is difficult to draw a clear
line between the transport energy and industrial energy.
Biofuel is going to rep lace oil in the transport sector.
There are hundreds of filling stations in the USA and in
Germany, which sell thousands of tons of biodiesel. In
Brazil, more than 40% of ethanol for cars is produced
from sugar cane. Hydrogenous and methanol fuel cells
wil l be widely used in cars. By 2040, electric transport
will replace almost 50% of vehicles with an internal
combustion engine. Today, 30 million hectares of ara-
ble lands are sown with industrial crops. By 2050, hu-
manity will be able to produce no more than 18% of
essential primary energy (27 ٠10 12 kWh/year) from bi-
omass because of the lack of land.
Solar energy. The total quantity of solar energy
received by the Earth and the atmosphere during one
year is 1.07 х10 18 kWh. Its consumption does not affect
the glo bal energy balance. Humanity turned to alterna-
tive energy sources when the oil price exceeded 100 US
dollars per barrel. In recent years, the solar energy sec-
tor is developing rapidly, although the oil price has
fallen sharply.
The capacity of SP construct ed in 2017 is 98 mil-
lion kW, and it has surpassed the capacity of commis-
sioned thermal power plants. By 2017, the total capac-
ity of all SP of the world was 402 GW (million kW),
including 131 GW of SP in China, 51 GW of SP in the
USA, 49 GW in Japan, 42 GW in Germany, 20 GW in
Italy, 18 GW in India, 13 GW in England, 8 GW in
France; in Russia total capacity of SP is only 0.4 GW.
By 2030, Japan and Saudi Arabia plan to commis-
sion a solar plant with a capacity of 200 GW. It will
save 72 million tons of oil eve ry year. India plans to
start to produce 250 GW of solar energy (for reference,
the total capacity of the whole energy system of Russia
is 230 GW). Australia has approved a project of con-
structing a virtual power plant with a capacity of 250
MW. This proje ct involves installing solar panels on
roofs of 50 thousand buildings with energy storage sys-
tems for 650 MWh. In Germany, 57% of functioning
solar panels are installed on the roofs of buildings. To-
day, the cost of a solar plant on the roof is about 1,000
euro/kW. There is an overproduction of solar energy in
California (the USA), as during the day electric grids
are overfull, and there are not enough storing facilities
to save the produced volume of electricity. In the USA
an average price of 1 kWh of elec tricity produced by a
solar plant is 2.5 cents.
To provide 10% of humanity demands of energy
by SP, it is needed to cover 160 thousand km 2 of land
with solar panels. No fewer than 20 billion of one -kilo-
watt solar panels are required to fulfil this plan; th e total
mass of these panels would be about 2 billion tons. In
20 -25 years, it will be necessary to replace the panels
by new ones.
Taking into account the current capability of solar
panel commissioning (about 100 GW/year), by 2050,
the world capacity of SP could reach 6,000 GW. After
this, SP number would stop growing, as the world sem-
iconductor industry would have to replace hundreds of
millions of solar panels, which would have worn out. It
seems to be the capacity limit for an environmentally
unfriendl y solar panel industry.
An Achilles’ heel of SP is the small coefficient of
used capacity – it is only 12%. Moreover, solar energy
production has high material consumption – it is about
15,000 t/TWh [10]. Aggressive toxic agents are used in
solar panel pro duction and it generates lots of hazard-
ous waste. By 2050, there will be hundreds of million
tons of depleted solar panels that contain 90% of glass
and heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, indium, etc.
The environment will not manage the further disposal
of such a big quantity of hazardous waste. Now, about
80 million houses worldwide have solar water heating.
Its capacity was 435 GW by 2015. By 2050 this kind of
solar heating can reach 5% of total energy production.
It is necessary to provide solar and win d plants
with energy storage facilities. There are several pro-
posed technologies with unobvious prospects of the
market. As of today, the best -tested solution for storage
big volumes of energy is pumped storage units (PSU).
To ensure a sustainable operatio n of RES, the share of
movable energy units should be no less than 25% of the
total installed capacity of power stations. It seems to be
successful to produce hydrogen and methanol by water
electrolysis. Hydrogen and methanol are more and
more used as ener gy sources to fuel transport power
In this case, in addition to the capital costs (Table
3), the costs of hydro -accumulation will be added, and
capital costs will increase 2.5 times to 5,000 dollars/kW
of installed capacity.
Thus, the restriction of solar energy growth is due
to high material consumption, short service life, a large
number of hazardous waste and a shortage of land. It
can be assumed that by 2050, the global energy produc-
tion from SP and solar thermodynamic stations will not
exceed 16 % (25x1,012 kWh/year) of the total con-
sumed energy. To implement this program, about 250
thousand km 2 of the earth’s surface will have to be al-
located for SP.
In Russia, the share of RES, including HPP, in to-
tal primary energy production is only 3.2%. 75% of the
Russian territory has no centralized power supply.
Therefore, SP should be built in such regions as Yaku-
tia and Zabaykalsky Krai, where the cost of 1 kWh is
more than 20 rubles (35 cents/kWh), and where there
are more sunny days than in Crimea. The development
of renewable generation will be even more efficient for
such isolated regions if combined solar -diesel and
wind -diesel power generation are used. By 2024, it is
planned to build 57 SP in Russia with a total capacity
of 1.5 GW.
Wind energy. Wind energy is one of the most
competitive among the RES, and it is the one develop-
ing the most rapidly. Modern wind turbines usually
consist of a three -blade wheel with diameter up to 100
m. The wheel is connected to the electric generator with
a capacity up to 2 MW which is located at the top of the

American Scientific Journal № (25 ) / 201 9 51
tower. The energy conversion efficiency of wind tur-
bines is three times higher than the energy conversion
efficiency of solar panels. One wind turbine can save
up to 60 thousand tons of coal in 20 years.
It is mor e efficient to locate WF at the seaside,
where the wind is very strong, as the wind turbine effi-
ciency depends on wind speed raised to power three. It
is simultaneously the benefit and the drawback of wind
plants, as it affects the sustainable energy outpu t.
In China, there is a functioning wind energy com-
plex which includes 40 WF. The capacity of this com-
plex will be about 20 million kW by 2020. European
countries are actively commissioning wind parks at the
seaside and on high seas. According to cautious esti-
mates, wind resources of the coastal area of the EU are
going to reach 600 billion kWh/year. In Denmark, wind
energy provides about 40% of all energy demands, in
Germany – above 10%. The average cost of the electri-
cal energy produced by a wind farm is 1.5 cents/kWh,
which is equivalent to the cost of 1 kWh of electrical
energy produced by HPP.
Wind energy and hydropower are actually allied
industries, as hydropower engineers can successfully
use areas of water reservoirs to install WF. By 2050,
the glob al energy production of WF can constitute 18%
of the total energy production (27 ٠10 12 kWh/year).
This will require about one million km 2 of the Earth
The potential of WF in Russia is 260 billion
kWh/year. Wind energy production is just starting to
develop. In 2017, the installed capacity of WF was
about 100 MW. It is appropriate for Russia to start con-
structing WF in the Far North regions, where energy
demands are the highest, and the average wind speed is
Geothermal energy. The Earth is a ki nd of ther-
mal machine with a capacity of 42 billion kW. It sends
thermal energy to space. Geothermal power plants of
the world produce 65 billion kWh/year. The share of
the geothermal energy in the total production of some
countries exceeds 15%. For exampl e, the capacity of
geothermal plants in the Philippines is going to reach 2
million kW.
Tidal and wave energy. There are about 100
coastal areas in the world which can produce 25х1,012
kWh of electrical energy per year due to tides. The big-
gest tidal power plant (TPP) of the world is located in
South Korea; its capacity is 254 MW. The potential of
tidal and wave energy in Russia is estimated at 210 bil-
lion kWh/year.
As for sea waves’ potential, 1 meter of the seaside
can “produce” 3,000 kWh/year. The potent ial of wind
waves is estimated at 2.7 billion kW.
Hydropower. Hydropower is basically a conse-
quence of solar energy. Hydropower, like solar and
wind energy, is an alternative to fuel energy.
There are “atmospheric rivers” on the Earth. It is
waterlogged fl ows of air, up to 500 km wide, which
start in the tropics. There are always 11 “atmospheric
rivers”, flowing above the planet’s surface. They dis-
charge with precipitation, as soon as they reach a con-
tinent. The annual amount of precipitation is 577 thou-
san d km 3. More than a third of the radiation energy re-
ceived by the Earth is spent on evaporation and on the
maintenance of the global water cycle. However, only
a small part of the Earth’s hydropower potential, about
9.5x10 12 kWh/year, can be converted into electricity.
Today, the worldwide gross installed capacity of
HPPs is 1.25 billion kW; it produces 4.2 х10 12 kWh of
electrical energy per year. In 2016, HPPs with the gross
capacity of about 32 million kW were commissioned.
China is an absolute leader in th e use of hydropower.
In 2016, China produced 1,100 billion kWh of electri-
cal energy from HPP. In 2015, China constructed about
100 high hydroelectric installations, including 55 dams
above 100 m, 8 dams above 200 m, and the arched HPP
dam of Jinping which is 305 m high. The next 14 th five -
year plan asks for an increase of HPP capacity to 40
million kW, and by 2050, it is planned to double the
capacity of HPP.
The three largest HPP of Brasil are the ones of
Itaipu, Belo Monte and Tucurui. They produce 169 bi l-
lion kWh/year; it is equal to all HPP of Russia. They
have developed from 60 to 90% of the hydropower po-
tential of the country, where hydrocarbon resources are
about to be depleted. In recent years, special attention
has been paid on the development of sm all hydropower.
More than 100 small HPPs have been constructed in
Armenia and the plan is to double their number. Belarus
is constructing small HPP on the Daugava, Neman, and
Unfortunately, Russia uses hydropower resources
less than other developed countries of the world. There
are 15 HPP with a capacity above 1,000 MW, 102 HPP
with a capacity above 10 MW and around 300 small
HPP. In total, no more than 20% of the hydropower po-
tential of Russia is used today.
One must note that the construction of HP P should
meet the criteria of sustainable use of natural resources
and should be environmentally friendly. An important
ecological parameter of any energy facility is the ratio
of the required Earth’s surface area to the installed ca-
pacity of the facility. The specific value of the earth’s
surface area for 1 kW of the installed capacity is differ-
ent for different HPP. It can vary by two to three orders
of magnitude (m 2/kW): Three Gorges HPP – 46; Sa-
yano -Shushenskaya HPP – 92; Itaipu – 112; Guri – 420;
Brats kaya – 1,218; Cheboksarskaya – 1,350; Sa-
marskaya – 2,800; Ivankovskaya – 11,000. This value
is very big for Irkutsk HPP; it is 47,900 m 2/kW, as its
headrace is the whole water area of Lake Baikal. Envi-
ronmental specialists are against using this unique
pla ce of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List as
a water reservoir for HPP.
In the 21 st century, the Earth surface is becoming
an important natural resource. Russian hydroelectric in-
stallations with a water reservoir of an area exceeding
1,000 km 2 predominate among all worldwide HPP. One
may consider that hydroelectric installations with a rel-
ative indicator of an alienated area at 40 -800 m 2/kW
certainly meet the requirement of sustainable use of
natural resources. Flat hydroelectric installations with a
relative indicator of an alienated area exceeding 4,000
m2/kW do not meet this requirement and will be de-
mounted in the near future.

52 American Scientific Journal № ( 25 ) / 20 19
The majority of big HPP of Russia has quite high
relative indicators of alienated areas; their range is from
800 to 4,000 m 2/kW. It is obvious that special argu-
ments are needed to justify the construction of HPP in
the above -mentioned range of relative indicators of al-
ienated areas.
Hydropower industry provides a profitable and
most environmentally friendly way of energ y produc-
tion. Hydropower industry is always commercially vi-
able; products and services of GDP up to one US dollar
are produced with one kW of electrical energy. One kW
in hydropower energy costs two cents. It means that an
investment of two cents in the hy dropower industry will
ensure GDP growth by one dollar, so the investment
benefit will be 50 -fold.
Today global hydropower industry faces the ob-
jective to equate electrical energy production on SP and
WF. More than 460 Pumped Storage Hydropower
Plants (PSH P) with the installed capacity of around 200
GW operate in the world. In 2016 the capacity of PSHP
was 6 million kW. China plans to commission PSHP
with a capacity of 50 million kW by 2026. In Germany,
mines are being actively reconstructed for PSHP.
RusHy dro PJSC should use these opportunities
and prepare arguments to discuss the construction of
HPP, PSHP and WF with the Government of the Rus-
sian Federation, the State Duma of the Russian Federa-
tion and the environmental community. It is necessary
to define the legal status of water reservoirs, to define
the scale of water reservoirs’ impact on local climate,
on the hydrogeological schedule and on the geodesic
situation of the place, to regulate development of the
tailrace, to establish a fair damage compens ation for
water and biological resources, to restart constructing
small HPP, to start constructing WF in the Far North
and to justify a broad perspective of constructing mov-
able PSHP.
1. In accordance with Paris Agreement govern-
ments of develop ed countries are actively implement-
ing Programs on Decreasing Coal Generation and De-
veloping RES. Russia should more actively introduce
low -carbon energy into its energy balance, as today
green energy ensures a competitive advantage to com-
panies, industrie s and countries, while the market of
coal is going to inevitably shrink.
2. During the 21 st century, it is impossible to
switch fully to carbonless energy; the share of RES will
not become 100%; renewable energy will go side by
side with gas fuel.
3. With the development of solar and wind energy,
the importance of movable and leveling hydropower
will increase. To improve investment attractiveness,
HPP should provide WF construction in its complex,
which can be located in water reservoirs’ area; energy
produ ced by WF will be accumulated by water reser-
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