IRENA : REthinking Energy Report

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says accelerating the uptake of renewable energy technologies is the most feasible way to slash carbon emissions and avoid catastrophic climate change.
IRENA’s REthinking Energy report says renewables are up to 250 times less carbon-intensive than coal and up to 120-times less so than the cleanest fossil fuel, natural gas.
“A convergence of social, economic and environmental forces are transforming the global energy system as we know it. But if we continue on the path we are currently on and fuel our growing economies with outmoded ways of thinking and acting, we will not be able avoid the most serious impacts of climate change,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General, at the launch of the publication in Abu Dhabi.
IRENA says gains from the increasing use of renewables and less intensive fossil fuels such as natural gas have been white-anted by less efficient power plants and the rising use of coal.
“Without a substantial increase in the share of renewables in the mix, climate change mitigation will remain elusive,” states the report. A doubling in the share of renewables by 2030 could help mitigate climate change by reducing the global average carbon emissions for electricity production to 349 g/kWh.
Renewable power capacity has grown 85% globally over the past decade and renewables today make up 30% of all installed power capacity.
“The challenge has moved on from whether renewable energy can power modern lifestyles at a reasonable cost – which we now know it can – to how best to finance and accelerate its deployment.”
While total investment in renewable energy (excluding hydropower) jumped from USD 55 billion in 2004 to USD 214 billion in 2013, IRENA says this falls far short of the USD 550 billion needed each year until 2030 to double renewable energy’s share and avert catastrophic climate change.
This edition of REthinking Energy is the first in a series of reports from IRENA that will explore how renewable energy is financed, produced, distributed and consumed.
The 94-page report can be downloaded here (PDF).
IRENA is made up of 134 member nations, including Australia. Approximately 40 additional countries are also in the process of accessing membership.