Renewable energy the future: UN


By Tom Arup

GLOBAL energy generated by renewables could increase up to 10 times on current levels by mid-century, a landmark study by a United Nations climate change body has found.

Renewable energyIn a report released last night in Abu Dhabi, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says detailed analysis it has carried out finds renewables will most likely contribute more than 17 per cent of the planet’s primary energy supply by 2030, and more than 27 per cent by 2050.

Under the most positive outcomes of the analysis, 43 per cent of energy could be supplied by renewables in 2030, growing to 77 per cent in 2050, but these findings assume strict global carbon emissions targets and a number of other favourable conditions.

The most optimistic findings would represent a cut of about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2008 renewable energy contributed 12.9 per cent to the world’s primary energy supply. By 2050, renewables’ contribution to primary energy will be three- to 10-fold greater, once biomass is excluded.

One of the lead authors of the report, Wes Stein from CSIRO, told the Herald yesterday that ”to put this in perspective the sorts of growth projected in renewable energy … is 20 to 40 times the total primary energy Australia uses at the moment”.

The report includes the contribution of solar, geothermal, bioenergy hydropower, ocean energy and wind.