Brussels, 28 May 2004
The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) has claimed that 50 per cent of the world's energy supply can come from renewable energy sources by 2040, but that new policy measures, including additional support for research and development (R&D) are required in order to make this happen.
'Direct public spending on research and development in the energy sector in industrialised countries should be increased significantly,' states the EREC's 'Renewable energy scenario to 2040'. The report also calls for a rapid shift away from the support of fossil fuel energy and nuclear fission R&D.
Much of the technology is, however, already available, and the report therefore urges the construction of the necessary infrastructure. Ending subsidies to conventional energy sources, the establishment of targets, awareness raising and the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol are also highlighted as prerequisites to meeting the Johannesburg target of increasing renewable energy supply to 50 per cent of total supply by 2040.
'Renewable energies will secure the world's energy supply system in the next decades. There is no viable alternative,' says President of the EREC, Professor Arthouros Zervos. 'If combined with the improvement of energy efficiency, renewable energy can provide everything conventional energy sources currently offer in terms of energy services: heating and cooling, electricity and transport.'
According to the EREC scenario, which is described by Professor Zervos as neither a prediction nor a forecast, but an indication of how the future could unfold, biomass will be by far the largest contributor to renewable energy by 2010, providing the equivalent of 3.1 million tonnes of oil in a year. Next will be photovoltaic systems, with equivalent of 784 tonnes, and then wind energy.
The EREC expects some renewable energy technologies to grow faster than others over the next 20 years, but that these will then face a significant reduction in terms of market growth. 'Others still need some years to breakthrough, but will then, mainly due to cost reductions or technical innovations, grow quickly and steadily.'
The document will be presented at the international conference 'Renewables 2004', to take place in Bonn, Germany, from 1 to 4 June. Environment and development ministers are expected to attend, as well as officials from the United Nations. They will be joined by representatives from other international and non-governmental organisations, as well as representatives from civil society and the private sector. To access the EREC report, please visit: http:///www.erec-renewables.org