Renewable Energy Could Hit 36% Of Global Energy Use, But There’s A Biomass Catch
by Silvio Marcacci (The Energy Collective) … The report (International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) REmap 2030) lays out a five-step roadmap for scaling renewable energy up to 36% of the world’s total final energy consumption (TFEC), cutting coal use 26% and oil/gas use 15%, and keeping atmospheric CO2 concentrations below 450 parts per million (PPM).
But there’s a catch – IRENA’s recommendations center on expanding power from biomass. It’s arguably the most controversial renewable energy source, and uncertainties about technology and reported volumes could undercut potential of the world’s sustainable energy future.
The First Study of Worldwide Renewable Energy Potential
IRENA touts REmap 2030 as the first study of worldwide renewable energy potential, and it’s nothing if not comprehensive, with in-depth analysis of 26 countries representing 74% of projected global TFEC in 2030.
And REmap2030 wasn’t developed in a vacuum. Beyond the 26-nation analysis, 82 national experts from 42 countries contributed to IRENA’s number crunching, and the report has been presented to several international audiences (including the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties) for feedback.
Renewable Subsidies Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels
Even if the entire package of REmap2030 policy recommendations is instituted, the renewable energy sector would require $315 billion per year by 2030, a price tag that pales in comparison to the $544 billion in subsidies fossil fuels received in 2012 according to the International Monetary Fund. The bill looks even like an even better bargain after factoring in up to $740 billion in health and environmental benefits from reduced emissions by 2030. READ MORE and MORE (International Renewable Energy Agency) Download Report