IPCC Sees Bright Future For Renewables

A new report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says nearly 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be sourced from renewables by the middle of this century – if the right policies are in place.
  
The renewable energy revolution’s contribution to greenhouse gas mitigation could see up to a cumulative 560 Gigatonnes avoided between 2010 and 2050; representing a cut of around a third in greenhouse gas emissions from business-as-usual forecasts.
  
Under the best case scenario, renewable energy could keep concentrations of greenhouse gases at 450 parts per million, which the report says could keep the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius.
  
The study was based on six forms of renewable energy sources; being biomass, solar power, geothermal energy, hydro power, ocean energy and wind power.
  
While the report acknowledges the renewable energy revolution will continue to gain steam even without without enabling policies, past experience has demonstrated the biggest increases in uptake come with concerted policy efforts.
  
Addressing the issue of cost, the IPPC report states if a price tag were put on environmental impacts such as emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases, more renewable energy technologies may become economically attractive. However, the authors still expect significant technical advancements and further cost reductions in the future regardless of any carbon tax or price.
  
The study found under 2.5 percent of the globally available existing technical potential for renewables is currently utilised and the potential of renewable energy technologies exceeds worldwide current energy demand by a wide margin. 
  
Of around 300 Gigawatts (GW) of new electricity generation capacity added between 2008 and 2009, 140 GW was in the form of renewable energy technologies. Developing countries now represent over half of current global renewable energy capacity.
  
The full Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) can be viewed here.