Imagine 80% of world energy supplied by renewable technologies! More than 120 leading experts now agree that this is a realistic possiblility within 39 years, according to an impressive, 1000-page UN study published last week.
A few highlights from the study :
Of the 300 gigawatts (GW) of new electricity generating capacity added globally in 2008 – 2009, 140 GW or 47% came from renewables.
Despite macro economic distress world-wide, renewable energy capacity grew in 2009:
- wind by >30%
- hydropower by 3%;
- grid-connected photovoltaics by >50%;
- geothermal by 4%;
- solar water/heating by >20% and
- ethanol and biodiesel production +10% and 9%, respectively.
Developing countries command more than 50% of world renewable energy capacity.
Less than 2.5% of the globally available technical potential for renewables is used — in other words, over 97% of renewable energy resources are under-employed. Insufficient supply of technology is therefore not a limiting factor.
While the report was clear that lots more has to be done to make this 80% level attainable (infrastructure growth and government policy), the trend is accelerating in that direction.