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Report outlines the potential of renewable energy

May 13, 2011

Renewable energy plays a significant role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and powering sustainable development, says a new report. The findings are contained in the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN) by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN)

solar-farm.jpgPublished by: IPCC, 2011

Close to 80% of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.

The findings, from over 120 researchers working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also indicate that the rising penetration of renewable energies could lead to cumulative greenhouse gas savings equivalent to 220 to 560 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtC02eq) between 2010 and 2050.

Speaking at the launch, Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC, said, "The IPCC brought together the most relevant and best available information to provide the world with this scientific assessment of the potential of renewable energy sources to mitigate climate change. The Special Report can serve as a sound knowledge basis for policymakers to take on this major challenge of the 21st century."

The researchers have also studied the challenges linked to how renewable energy can be integrated into existing and future energy systems including electricity grids and likely cost benefits from these developments.

Key Findings from the Summary for Policymakers 

  • 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 2009—wind by over 30%; hydropower by three percent; grid-connected photovoltaics by over 50%; geothermal by 4% and solar water/heating by over 20%.

Meanwhile developing countries host more than 50% 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 amount—globally and in respect of most regions of the world.
Source : IPCC
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