REN Alliance press release: how to follow the IPCC mitigation scenario
On 20 November 2013 in Warsaw, The REN Alliance presented during the UN Climate Change Conference COP19 key points of a programme which would need to be implemented to reach the targets as recommended by the IPCC for 2035.
The REN Alliance programme for 50 per cent renewable energy by 2035
The IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, released in September 2013 stated that “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century”. This largely refers to the combustion of fossil fuels leading to increased levels of greenhouse gases, causing climate change.
The most aggressive representative concentration poathway mitigation scenario issued by the IPCC (RCP 2.6) involves “peak and decline” emissions. This would see atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases increase for only a few more years and then decline, so that by the year 2100 atmospheric radiative forcing is roughly at current levels.
It is possible to achieve such a trajectory by transitioning to renewable energy, coupled with enhanced energy efficiency and a halving of fossil fuel combustion. With increased deployment of renewable energy for electricity, heating, cooling and transport fuels, well over 50 per cent of the energy supply can be provided by renewable energy by 2035.
In addition to mitigating climate change, increasingly renewables offer a cost-competitive option that helps ensure energy independence and security worldwide.
The resulting transformation of the energy system will create millions of jobs throughout the world, and stimulate growth in developing countries.
REN Alliance members support authoritative studies such as REN 21’s Renewables Global Futures Report (2013), which demonstrates that a 50 per cent or more renewable energy supply by 2035 is clearly achievable based on current and projected rates of technology deployments resulting from innovative policy adoption.
Further renewable energy penetration is possible with innovations in renewable transport fuels, where the REN Alliance confirms that research and development breakthroughs are feasible.
What needs to happen
The REN Alliance believes that a 50 per cent renewable energy supply by 2035, (and 100 per cent soon thereafter), requires progress in the following areas:
- A reduction of the total primary energy demand in industrialised countries from behavioural change and energy efficiency measures, particularly in the building, industry, transportation and agricultural sectors. Similarly, the international community should facilitate the rapid uptake of energy efficiency measures in developing countries
- Continued strong growth of solar electricity and wind energy supply, supported by additional energy from biomass, hydropower and geothermal
- Growth in decentralised energy supplies, strengthened transmission networks and increased uptake of small scale renewables in rural areas disconnected from grids
- Large-scale deployment of mass energy storage capacity to compensate for the variability of wind and solar, and ensure reliability of supply. Pumped storage hydropower will play a lead role in this;
- New strategies to penetrate the heating sector with biomass, geothermal resources and solar
- Innovation in renewable transport fuels from biomass, renewable electricity and hydrogen
- Development and deployment of marine energy and enhanced geothermal systems
Implementing the transition
These changes require strong support from governments, and national and international institutions. The REN Alliance supports the following measures to achieve this.
Reinforce competitive advantage:
- Quickly reduce and ultimately eliminate subsidies to all energy sources to “level the playing field”;
- Quickly reduce investment in fossil-fuel-based power and heat generation;
- Put a realistic price on carbon
Ensure the route to market and enhance reliability of supply:
- Extend, strengthen and ‘smarten’ power transmission and distribution infrastructure, equipped with adequate interconnections, to create a robust and transnational energy market
- Provide preferential grid access for renewable technologies
- Continue to invest in energy storage, such as pumped storage hydropower
Encourage innovation and broaden applications:
- Encourage innovation of emerging technologies through public incentives or market mechanisms where appropriate
- Incentivise the uptake of renewable heat in district heating and cooling systems through public incentives or market mechanisms where appropriate
- Continue to fund research and development aimed at improving the scope of innovative technologies, while improving cost competitiveness
- Improve and increase education and training in renewable energy systems
- Promote energy conservation and awareness of climate change
Promote a global dialogue:
- Support global guidance and analysis from bodies such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to aid national-level decision making
- Provide the appropriate type and level of climate finance to developing countries
- Support the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative to ensure reliable energy access even to the poorest of populations
Marietta Sander, executive director of the International Geothermal Association: "Geothermal energy can significantly contribute to the 100% RE target. Geothermal resources are used for heat provision and power generation. Depending on the resource set-up and characteristics it can be one of the cheapest energy options."
Oliver Griffiths, hydropower development programme director at the International Hydropower Association: “Hydropower can play a unique role in the future of integrated renewable energy. Not only is hydropower a reliable, constant and sizeable source of clean energy at the moment; it also has the potential to be the energy bank of the future - storing excess supply from other energy sources and releasing it at times of undersupply. This will be critically important in reducing and ultimately eliminating the need for fossil fuel back up power generation.”
Dave Renné, president, International Solar Energy Society: "Significant global scale-up of installed renewable energy capacity is occurring globally, due to declining system costs, increasing efficiencies and reliability, favourable policies, and access to financing. We now have substantial evidence that demonstrates how these technologies can work together to ultimately supply 100% of our future energy demands, and support the emissions reduction targets called for in the IPCC reports.”
Heinz Kopetz, president of the World Bioenergy Association: "Biomass as stored solar energy is already an important renewable energy source for heating, electricity and transport. In order to cover more than 50% with Renewables by 2035 biomass has to be deployed much faster in the years to come, especially for the heating sector.”
Stefan Gsänger, secretary general of the World Wind Energy Association: “Based on today’s technology, the world can easily reach the proposed emission targets - and even beyond that, a 100% renewable energy supply. The economics are clearly in favour of such scenario, as all renewable technologies have achieved substantial cost reduction and in particular onshore wind is one of the cheapest options of new electricity generation.”
About the REN Alliance partners
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a non-profit organisation, working with a network of members and partners to advance sustainable hydropower. IHA’s mission is to build and share knowledge on; the role of hydropower in renewable energy systems; responsible freshwater management; and climate change solutions. IHA champions continuous improvement in the hydropower sector through dialogue with all stakeholders: www.hydropower.org
The International Solar Energy Society (ISES) works to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy for all, used efficiently and wisely, by providing the global renewable energy community with a collective, scientifically credible voice and up-to-date information gathered and synthesized by its talented members: www.ises.org
The World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) is an international non-profit association embracing the wind sector worldwide, with members in more than 100 countries. WWEA works for the promotion and worldwide deployment of wind energy technology. WWEA provides a platform for the communication of all wind energy actors worldwide: www.wwindea.org
The International Geothermal Association (IGA) is a non-political, non-profit, non-governmental organization. The objectives of the IGA are to encourage research and the development and utilization of geothermal resources worldwide, through the publication of scientific and technical information among the geothermal specialists, the business community, governmental representatives, UN organisations, civil society and the general public: www.geothermal-energy.org
The World Bioenergy Association (WBA) is the global organisation dedicated to supporting and representing the wide range of actors in the bioenergy sector. Its members include national and regional bioenergy organisations, institutions, companies and individuals. The purpose of WBA is to promote the increasing utilisation of bioenergy globally in an efficient, sustainable, economic and environmentally friendly way: www.worldbioenergy.org