ISLAMABAD: The global energy share can reach and exceed 30 per cent by 2030, while energy efficiency and improved energy access can advance the share of renewables in the global energy mix to as much as 36pc, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said in a report on Monday.
The report, “Remap 2030” maps out a pathway for doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix based on the technologies which are available today.
The deployment of modern renewables — renewable energy sources that exclude traditional use of biomass — needs to grow more than threefold, the study shows.
A rethinking of energy taxes and subsidies is critical to the economic case for renewable energy. A reduction of fossil fuel subsidies will facilitate the uptake of renewables. Subsidies for renewable energy can disappear altogether, if green house gas emissions and other air pollution are reasonably priced, it says.
The policies that are currently in place and under consideration — termed the ‘Reference Case’ in report — would take the world only from the current 18pc renewables share to a 21pc share in 2030.
To continue the transition beyond doubling the share of renewable energy, intensified research, development and deployment (RD&D) policies are needed, along with standards, quality control, technology co-operation and project development capacity.
Biomass currently makes up 75pc of the total renewable energy consumption, with traditional biomass use accounting for more than 50pc of all renewables. Not all traditional biomass used today is sustainable, however. As the use of traditional biomass decreases, the share of modern renewables will be more than triple.
The compelling economic case for the renewable energy transition is even stronger when socio-economic benefits, such as climate change mitigation, health impact and job creation are included. A high share based on a range of renewables provides flexibility, increases independence and makes the overall energy supply more reliable and affordable, the report says.
IRENA analysis suggests that the average substitution cost for doubling the share of sustainable renewables is $2.5 per gigajoule (GJ) of final renewable energy use in 2030. In comparison, at a price of $100 per barrel, a GJ of crude oil costs around $17. The average substitution cost by country ranges from $12 to $14 per GJ.
Worldwide incremental energy system costs amount to an average of $93 billion annually until 2030, while average incremental investment needs are around $200bn annually to 2030. Renewable subsidies rise to $238bn in 2030 with the REmap Options fully deployed, but in some countries, subsidies peak before 2030.
In comparison, global subsidies for fossil fuels amounted to $544bn in 2012. Fossil-fuel subsidies will fall when the share of renewable energy rises, report estimates.
The report says that governments underestimate the change that is coming. Solar photovoltaics (PV) are a good example: total governmental projections yield less than 500 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV in 2030 whereas REmap 2030 demonstrated that a combination of current market trends coupled with enabling policies can result in 1,250 GW.