From the publication of WWF
WWF’s global network today launched the result of a 2 year journey with our friends from ECOFYS – a study and vision to arrive at 100% renewable energy by 2050 – phasing out all fossil and nuclear energy by then. Pls see more below
This work would not have been possible without the entire organisation of WWF behind this exercise and I am particularly thankful for this. And believe me, this was not always too easy for all involved as compromises were necessary but it was always very constructive. So we also have to deeply thank ECOFYS to be very patient and accept – often – last minute changes.
This 100% Renewable Energy Vision will certainly be the key guide for our work in future.
As you can read and study all details in the various chapters of our website and in the document itself what this 100% RES vision is about, let me still address on this global NGO list a few key issues which may help you to understand where we are coming from and what this all entails:
1. Energy conservation and efficiency, the rapid penetration of the most efficient technologies and usages, are paramount to achieve 100% RES. That is why in the scenario global final energy consumption peaks in 2025 and returns to 2000 levels by 2050. In essence, our vision foresees half the final energy use by 2050 compared to the IEA BAU case.
2. Continuous expansion of renewables, particularly the various wind and solar technologies are key to the electrification of almost all usages. This requires substantive grid expansion, grid enhancement and smart grid management across regions and nations to bring the power to the people most effectively and reliably.
3. We assume that all people on Earth will receive reliable and sufficient energy by 2050. Energy poverty and the associated plight of billions will be over. In that sense, the traditional and often polluting biomass use in poor areas of developing countries will disappear and be replaced by modern energy services incl. highly-efficient and sustainable bioenergies.
4. We have looked ‘only’ at technologies that are on the shelf already and may be ready by 2020.
5. We have not reduced the projected global GDP development, the amount of industrial materials needed, km travelled, the floor area required etc by a growing population in particular in developing countries. So the service provision is somewhat Business as Usual, but the energy needed to produce these services is highly efficient. Also, we have substantive modal shift (in transport) in system.
6. Only sectors of economy which cannot be fueled by renewable electricity and in conjunction with high energy efficiency efforts will rely on biofuels, in particular aviation, shipping and long-haul trucking. There is no biofuel used in light duty vehicles. We believe that based on strong sustainability criteria this biofuel can be provided with low risks. The risks of continuing reliance on oil, in particular increasingly unconventional and high-risk oils is a key threat against which risks of biofuels need to be compared. However, we are not naive. We will work also to bring down the amount of biofuels in our scenario of about 105 Exajoule by 2050. Further modal shift in transport and in addition to what is part of the model calculations is required. Also, we hence need very strong R & D for new materials to replace energy-intensive materials and also much more development of renewable hydrogen to replace bioenergies eventually. But we are not there yet and technologies are not mature.
7. Our cost assumptions – global pay-back after 2035 – is very conservative. We have assumed based on IEA data that global energy prices will be rising by about 2% annually – which is very low when observing last 15 years trends and assumimng that global oil price will be $US 87 per barrel by 2030…..Today’s crude is traded at $US 101.5 per barrel in Rotterdam.
8. As a strategy we will work very closely in future with all the clean tech/energy companies providing ambitious and clean solutions. We will also work with those companies that are not fully there yet but potentially may/will deliver major parts of the solutions as well in future.
9. Lastly, and I think that is not necessarilly WWF’s known ‘turf’ and we are happy to learn, we are convinced that technology alone and even the toughest policies for energy efficiency standards, renewable energy targets and most generous suppoprt and financing schemes are not enough to achieve this vision of 100% renewables and based on most efficient technologies. The global rich and middle classes everywhere also have to question individual lifestyles. Sufficiency must be part of the solution. That relates to diets, transport behaviour etc. The planet’s boundaries are getting stretched already and even more so with 9 billion humans on Earth very soon. To create space, economic growth and well-being for the many poor mainly but not only in developing countries, richer individuals have to scale back expectations on continued growth. There should be no compromise with nature and the life-sustaining ecosystems.
Dr Stephan Singer
Director Global Energy Policy WWF International
WWF European Policy Office
Avenue de Tervuren 168
Phone: + 32 (0) 2 743 88 17
Mobile: +32 (0) 496 55 07 09