Global Renewable Energy Potential is Higher Than Energy Demand

The total global potential for renewable energy “is substantially higher than both current and future projected global energy demand” is the message of the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation just released by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report states that renewable energy production will increase “anywhere from roughly three-fold to more than ten-fold by 2050.”

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri cites wind energy’s 32% growth rate in 2009 as an example of “the impressive growth rate of renewables.” The IPCC’s experts on energy and climate science reported that almost half of the new electricity production capacity installed in the world in the two year period 2008-2009 was renewable sources (140 Gigawatts of 300 Gigawatts).

The panel experts state that 19% of the total global electricity supply came from renewable energy in 2008. The share of renewable energy rose to 12.9% of the global primary energy production and provided more than six times more than the global nuclear energy production at 2%.

“During the last two years, our industry installed new wind farms producing electricity equivalent to more than 25 nuclear power stations,” says Christian Kjaer, chief executive of EWEA. “More importantly, the world’s leading scientists have now confirmed that this is merely the beginning of a development that could see wind power providing in excess of 20% of global electricity supply.”

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