New renewables to power 40 per cent of global
electricity demand by 2050
- With global cooperation and investment, renewables’
share will exceed all previous estimates
11 March 2009
With adequate financial and political support, renewable
energy technologies like wind and photovoltaics could supply
40 percent of the world's electricity by 2050, according to
findings from the International Scientific Congress "Climate
Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions." However, if
such technologies are marginalized, its share is likely to
hover below 15 percent.
This research was presented at a press conference by
Peter Lund of the Helsinki University of Technology's
Advanced Energy Systems in Espoo, Finland, ahead of the
scheduled congress session titled, "Renewable Energies: How
Far Can They Take Us?"
"Our findings demonstrate that with global political
support and financial investment, previous notions that the
potential for renewables was in some way limited to a
negligible fraction of world demand were wrong," said Lund.
"If we prioritize and recognize the value of renewable
energy technologies, their potential to supply us with the
energy we need is tremendous."
Previous projections put renewables' share at only 12
percent by 2030. Other research within the same congress
session further supports the viability of renewables,
examining closely the limitations and potential of wind,
biomass and biofuels.
According to Erik Lundtang Petersen of Risoe DTU's Wind
Energy Department in Roskilde, Denmark, in order for the
wind sector to deliver its full potential, it must focus on
efficiently delivering, installing and connecting large
amounts of wind power to the grid, with strong concern for
reliability, availability and accessibility of the turbines.
"We have identified specific areas of priority for the
wind sector to effectively deliver the overall objective of
cost reductions," said Petersen. "Research areas including
turbine technology, wind energy integration and offshore
deployment will be crucial to maximizing future growth."
Within biofuels and biomass, research conducted by
Jeanette Whitaker of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in
Lancaster, UK found that second generation biofuels, such as
ethanol from woody crops/straw, had substantially lower
energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions than first
generation biofuels, such as ethanol made from foodstuffs,
for example wheat and sugar beet.
"These findings are important and relevant, as the
current biofuel debate has centered on the issue of the
competing need for crops to be used for food versus fuel,"
All of these findings and hundreds more are being
presented by thousands of climate researchers from more than
70 countries at "Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges &
Decisions" taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, 10-12 March
The purpose of the congress is to deliver an update on
our knowledge of climate change and how to address the risks
and opportunities ahead. The results will be presented to
world leaders as they gather later this year in Copenhagen
for the post-Kyoto negotiations at the United Nations
Climate Change Conference (COP15).
About the congress
The International Scientific Congress on Climate Change
is taking place in Copenhagen 10 – 12 March. More than 2,000
participants are registered. The congress has received
almost 1,600 scientific contributions from researchers from
more than 70 countries. The preliminary conclusions from the
congress will be presented Thursday 12 March at the closing
session of the congress and will be developed in a synthesis
report to be published in June this year. The synthesis
report will be handed over to all participants at the United
Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in December in
Copenhagen by the Danish Government.
The congress is organized by
International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU):
- Australian National University
- ETH Zürich
- National University of Singapore
- Peking University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of Cambridge
- University of Copenhagen
- University of Oxford
- University of Tokyo
- Yale University
DISCLAIMER: THIS PRESS RELEASE IS WRITTEN BY THE CLIMATE
SECRETARIAT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN. THE PEOPLE
QUOTED DOES NOT NECESSARILY SHARE THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BY
OTHERS IN THIS TEXT.