IPCC Study: Renewables can meet the energy demand of the world

Posted on May 10, 2011 by

IPCC is optimistic, even bullish on the potential of the renewable sector, particularly the solar power. In its recently released  study, IPCC has said that the renewables can meet global demand. The report says that clean energy could account for almost 80% of the world’s energy supply by 2050. This comes with a big “if” of – only if governments promote green power. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is the body of the world’s leading climate scientists convened by the UN.

IPCC has also linked the renewable energy deployment to the GHG concentrations, saying that the world could keep GHG concentration at less than 450 parts per million, if the entire range of RE technologies is deployed. As per climate scientists, 450 ppm is the limit of safety beyond which climate change can become catastrophic and irreversible. The report comes with the indicative costing the investments required to create the RE infrastructure, pegging the number at about 1% of global GDP annually.

Cleantech is already seen as the sunrise sector in a number of economies – including China and India. Of the 300 gigawatts of new electricity generation capacity added between 2008 and 2009,  140GW came from clean sources such as wind and solar power. Looking forward, the investment needed to GHG concentration below 450 ppm is expected to be about $5trn in 2011-2020, rising to $7trn from 2021 to 2030.

The difficult part of the story is the funding requirement and the expected source of it . Ramon Pichs, co-chair of one of IPCC working groups says “The report shows that it is not the availability of [renewable] resources but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades. Developing countries have an important stake in the future – this is where most of the 1.4 billion people without access to electricity live yet also where some of the best conditions exist for renewable energy deployment.”

Sven Teske of Greenpeace International, a lead author of the report says “This is an invitation to governments to initiate a radical overhaul of their policies and place renewable energy centre stage. On the run up to the next major climate conference, COP17 in South Africa in December, the onus is clearly on governments to step up to the mark. The IPCC report shows overwhelming scientific evidence that renewable energy can also meet the growing demand of developing countries, where over 2 billion people lack access to basic energy services and can do so at a more cost-competitive and faster rate than conventional energy sources. Governments have to kick start the energy revolution by implementing renewable energy laws across the globe.”

Summary for the Policy Makers  can be accessed here
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Posted in: Renewable Energy