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Renowned physicist advocates on renewable energy for the Pacific

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Renowned physicist advocates on renewable energy for the Pacific

The world has a number of challenges in areas including energy, economy, environment, water, food, health, education, security and peace but if the energy problem is solved, the rest of the issues can be reduced.

This was the message from Dr G. P. Yeh, renowned physicist and chairman of the Global Innovation Centre, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory at the Department of Energy in United States, as part of the third presentation at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) 50th Anniversary Research Presentation Series on 18 April 2018.

He stated that the 21st Century is the Century of Sustainable Energy, which is not only the greatest human challenge but responsibility and opportunity.

He provided the statistics for world energy consumption and said that the 7 billion-population of the world uses approximately 15,000 giga watts of energy each year, which amounts to about 10 billion tons of carbon emissions per year. Out of the total, Dr Yeh stated that around 1.2 billion people in the world are without electricity.

Talking about renewable energy (new energy), Dr Yeh said that renewable energy has recently been increasing and last year, the world added around 100 giga watts of solar and 50 gigawatts of wind power.

“The International Energy Agency estimates that the world really needs to spend about USD 2 trillion per year on new energy,” he said.

Dr Yeh highlighted that if Fiji decides to go renewable, it will not only save costs on fuel, but will attract foreign investors on renewable energy equipment, like solar.

On solar energy, he highlighted that because there is so much sunlight around the earth, if humans cover one per cent (1%) of the world’s lands with solar panels, we will get 30, 000 giga watts of energy, twice the amount that is currently being consumed.

He further mentioned that using solar energy; sea water can also be desalinated hence solving the water problem around the world.

Physicist, Dr G P Yeh with USP students after the presentation

Dr Yeh showed examples of large places where solar panels are used for power and these include the National Stadium in Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Commercial Solar Hot Water in St. Paul, Minnesota; and Disney land in New Orlando. 

He also assured the audience that the prices of the solar panels are reducing in countries around the world. 

In addition to this, Dr Yeh stated that wind power is also increasing and deliberated on world wind power capacity, consumption, installation and cost, adding that countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have tremendous offshore wind power potentials.

Dr Yeh also informed that electricity from renewable energy could be stored in battery, hydrogen and pumped hydro.

He mentioned that Saudi Arabia, being an oil producing country is working towards adding 200 gigawatts of Solar Power by 2030, which will see the price of oil increase in the global market in future.

USP, Dr Yeh said, has been important to the Pacific Islands because of its important contributions, in areas including economy, environment, education, government, finances, industries culture, arts, tourism, research, technologies, development and leaders.

The Physicist emphasised that this is the right time to turn into renewable energy, given that the University, in its 50th Anniversary is themed around shaping the future of the Pacific.

He also provided an insight on the hydropower electricity cost, biofuels and ocean current as other sources of energy.

This news item was published on 25 Apr 2018 01:44:57 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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