Renewable energy can exceed global demand, according to UN report
Renewable energy sources are expected to contribute up to 80% of global energy supply by 2050, according to a new report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Following a review of 164 scenarios, the IPCC found that renewables will play the major role in any successful plan to combat climate change.
The 1,000 page report, which was adopted by 194 governments after marathon negotiations on 9 May, considers the potential contribution from biomass, geothermal, hydro, ocean, solar and wind energy, as well as their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their integration into the energy networks, their contribution to sustainable development, and the policies which are needed to put them in place.
An increasing number of technologies are already economically competitive, and this will increase as further cost reductions and technology improvements are made. The report also emphasises that wind power alone is capable of supplying more than 100% of future demand, and solar many times more.
The scenarios assessed by the IPCC estimate that renewable energy can save between 220 and 560 Gigatonnes of CO2 in the period between 2010 and 2050.
In 2009, around 12.9% of global primary energy supply, and 19% of the global electricity supply, was covered by renewable sources, including traditional biomass. The world's wind power capacity installed at the end of 2010 produces enough power to cover for around 2.5% of global electricity demand, and in the scenarios examined by the IPCC, this share could increase tenfold to reach 25% in 2050.
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