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UN renewable energy report forecasts the future

The Renewables Global Futures Report: Great debates towards 100% renewable energy, cites industry experts who have underscored that even large international corporations are increasingly choosing renewable energy products either from utilities or through direct investment in their own generating capacity. Read more…

Unpacking the motive behind the study on Monday at the UN Headquarters was executive secretary of Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), Christine Lins.

“[The report] is meant to spur discussion and debate about both the opportunities and challenges of achieving a 100% renewable energy future by mid-century,” Lins stated.

“Wishful thinking won’t get us there; only by fully understanding the challenges and engaging in informed debate about how to overcome them, can governments adopt the right policies and financial incentives to accelerate the pace of deployment,” she added.

Lins said that 2016 was the third year in a row where the global economy continued to grow, by 3%, but emissions related to the energy sector decreased, mainly due to renewable energy and efficiency investment in China and in the US.

“And so, we actually really see that renewables are, on the one hand making their way into the energy systems of many countries, but also we see that we have come a long way. We have a 20% of the world’s final energy consumption nowadays coming from renewables,” she stated.

UN renewable energy report

The analysis also noted that more than 70% of the experts expressed that a global transition to 100% renewable energy is both feasible and realistic, with European and Australian experts most strongly supporting this view. Read more…

The report also found that similar number expected the cost of renewables to continue to fall, beating all fossil fuels within the next ten years.

Noting some challenges in achieving the 100% transition, the report mentioned that in some regions, most notably Africa, the US and Japan, experts were sceptical about reaching that figure in their own countries or regions by 2050, largely due to the vested interests of the conventional energy industry.

Also, the lack of long-term policy certainty and the absence of a stable climate for investment in energy efficiency and renewables hinder development in most countries.

“When REN21 was founded in 2004, the future of renewable energy looked very different than it does today,” the Chair of REN21, Arthouros Zervos, noted.

Zervos added:  “At that time, calls for 100% renewable energy were not taken seriously, today the world’s leading energy experts are engaged in rational discussions about its feasibility, and in what time frame.”

The REN21 report is based on interviews with 114 renowned energy experts from all regions of the world.

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.