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Energy report knocks reliance on fossil fuels

An energy report by nongovernmental organisation World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has shot down continued reliance on fossil fuels, saying all the world’s energy needs could be provided by cheaper, cleaner renewable energy by 2050.

The report, released yesterday, details the benefits of moving towards so-called low carbon technologies. WWF-SA last year said it was feasible to generate 50% of SA’s electricity from renewable resources by 2030.

WWF-SA climate change programme manager Richard Worthington yesterday said: ‘The report goes a long way towards addressing perceptions perpetuated by Eskom and others that we will always need large-scale coal and/or nuclear power to provide adequate energy services for human progress, either in SA or elsewhere. Alongside work to elaborate the smart grid that we need for sustainable electricity supply, we need a concerted approach to low-carbon ^industrialisation to achieve the growth rates required in renewable energy technology industries.

"This means moving away from the base-load fallacy that renewables are insufficient to support industi alised society."

The energy report showed that b 2050, global power, transport, industrial and domestic energy needs could be met with "isolated uses" of fossil and nuclear power, "vastly reducing anxieties over energy security, pollution and — not least catastrophic – climate change".

WWF director-general Jim Leape said: "If we continue to rely on fossil fuels, we face a future of increasing anxieties over energy costs, energy security and climate change impacts. We are offering an alternative scenario, far more promising and entirely achievable.

"The report shows that in four decades we can have a world of vibrant economies and societies powered entirely by clean, cheap and renewable energy and with a vastly improved quality of life."

Mr Worthington said the contents of the report would be shared with the government and general public through state initiatives such as the development of the second integrated resource plan and the review of the renewable energy policy. "We will take the report to corporates so they can get the gist of it."