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03 Feb 2011 10:02:00

Renewables 'can meet world energy demand by 2050'

Renewables 'can meet world energy demand by 2050'
Renewable sources could potentially accommodate the world's transport, domestic and commercial energy needs by 2050, WWF has claimed.

In its energy report, the organisation predicts technological advancements mean energy demand will be down 15 percent on 2005 levels by 2050, and this demand could be met by renewable sources.

It compared the global effort needed to move away from fossil fuels as being similar to that used to deal with the economic crisis and claimed the financial benefits could be as much as €4 trillion (£3.4 trillion) in savings.

Smart grids and international transmission networks were said to play an important role in meeting the 2050 target.

Commenting specifically on the UK, the report said there is "huge potential" in the country's renewable energy sources, but warned government policy after 2020 is still "very unclear".

It called for the government to this year introduce an emissions performance standard, create long-term incentives for renewables, and guarantee there will be no direct or indirect support for nuclear power.

The report comes after research from Barclays Capital suggested investment of €2.9 trillion will be needed in Europe by 2020 if carbon reduction goals are to be met.  ADNFCR-1235-ID-800382876-ADNFCR

Discussion Thread  

05 Feb 2011

This is too cautious.

A report by the Offshore Valuation Group estimates that the practical potential of offshore generating technologies in waters around the UK is 2,131 TWh/year -- nearly six times current UK electricity demand.

In another report, the European Environment Agency estimates that the "economically competitive potential" of wind power in Europe is 3 times projected demand for electricity in 2020 and 7 times projected demand in 2030. Offshore wind power alone could meet between 60% and 70% of projected demand for electricity in 2020 and about 80% of projected demand in 2030.

A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America shows that a network of land-based 2.5-megawatt (MW) turbines restricted to nonforested, ice-free, nonurban areas operating at as little as 20% of their rated capacity could supply more than 40 times current worldwide consumption of electricity and more than 5 times total global use of energy in all forms. There is additional potential in offshore wind farms.

Researchers at the German Aerospace Centre have calculated that, using the proven technology of concentrating solar power (CSP), less than 1% of the world's deserts could generate as much electricity as the world is using now. It is feasible and economic to transmit that electricity for 3000 km or more using low-loss HVDC transmission lines. 90% of the world's population lives within 2700 km of a desert.

Research that is reviewed in the November 2009 issue of Scientific American shows that renewable energy technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy (not just electricity) and that it is technically feasible to make the transition by 2030.

There is more information in http://www.energyfair.org.uk/pren .

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