IPCC said in a release that this could contribute towards a goal of holding the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius an aim recognized in the United Nations Climate Convention's Cancun Agreements. The findings, released today after being approved by member countries of the IPCC in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, are contained in a summary for policymakers of the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN). The summary is a short version of a roughly a thousand page comprehensive assessment compiled by over 120 leading experts from all over the world for IPCC's Working Group III.
Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair of Working Group III said, "With consistent climate and energy policy support, renewable energy sources can contribute substantially to human well-being by sustainably supplying energy and stabilizing the climate. However, the substantial increase of renewables is technically and politically very challenging." The SRREN report, approved by government representatives from 194 nations, will provide input into the broader work of the IPCC as it prepares its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) which is scheduled for finalization in September 2014.
The report reviewed the current penetration of six renewable energy technologies and their potential deployment over the coming decades. Over 160 existing scientific scenarios on the possible penetration of renewables by 2050, alongside environmental and social implications, have been reviewed with four analyzed in-depth. These four were chosen in order to represent the full range. Scenarios are used to explore possible future worlds, analyzing alternative pathways of socio-economic development and technological change.
- Of the around 300 Gigawatts (GW) of new electricity generating capacity added globally between 2008 and 2009, 140 GW came from renewable energy.
- Despite global financial challenges, renewable energy capacity grew in 2009wind by over 30 percent; hydropower by three percent; grid-connected photovoltaics by over 50 percent; geothermal by 4 percent; solar water/heating by over 20 percent and ethanol and biodiesel production rose by 10 percent and 9 percent respectively.
- Developing countries host more than 50 percent of current global renewable energy capacity.
- Most of the reviewed scenarios estimate that renewables will contribute more to a low carbon energy supply by 2050 than nuclear power or fossil fuels using carbon capture and storage (CCS).
- The technical potential of renewable energy technologies exceeds the current global energy demand by a considerable amountglobally and in respect of most regions of the world.
- Under the scenarios analyzed in-depth, less than 2.5 percent of the globally available technical potential for renewables is usedin other words over 97 percent is untapped underlining that availability of renewable source will not be a limiting factor.
- Accelerating the deployment of renewable energies will present new technological and institutional challenges, in particular integrating them into existing energy supply systems and end use sectors.
- According to the four scenarios analyzed in detail, the decadal global investments in the renewable power sector range from 1,360 to 5,100 billion US dollars to 2020 and 1,490 to 7,180 billion US dollars for the decade 2021 to 2030. For the lower values, the average yearly investments are smaller than the renewable power sector investments reported for 2009.
- A combination of targeted public policies allied to research and development investments could reduce fuel and financing costs leading to lower additional costs for renewable energy technologies.
- Public policymakers could draw on a range of existing experience in order to design and implement the most effective enabling policies--there is no one-size-fits-all policy for encouraging renewables.
The "Energy [R]evolution" scenario -- a joint project of Greenpeace International, the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and the German Space Agency (DLR) -- was chosen as one of the lead scenarios of the report. Since the first edition was launched in 2005, Greenpeace has published the Energy [R]evolution in over 40 countries and developed national scenarios, as well as three editions of its global version.