IRENA: renewables key to delivering cheaper energy



Scaling up the use of renewables such as wind and solar around the world could drastically reduce the cost of energy, the UN will be advised today.

At a summit in New York today, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an intergovernmental organisation tasked with encouraging the adoption of sustainable energy, will present evidence that the share of renewables could increase far faster than previously thought. 

According to the Financial Times, IRENA says its analysis proves that the share of global energy derived from renewable sources could be doubled from about 18% to 36% in 2030.

This would require a doubling of investment, according to IRENA’s calculations, from about $224 billion (£133.8bn) in 2013 to $460 billion (£274.7bn) per year alongside substantial subsidies.

Though falling renewable technology costs will contribute, much of the net savings would come from the reduced global expenses caused by the environmental and health impacts of fossil fuel consumption, IRENA will say.

The exact figures will depend on the value assigned to cuts in carbon emissions. 

“Now it’s a question of political will, and how ambitiously governments want to move on this,” Adnan Amin, director general of IRENA, told the Financial Times.

In a separate report published earlier this week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that despite growth in recent years, the current investment gap between fossil fuels and renewable energy is still too wide. 

According to IEA’s analysis, investment in energy efficiency must increase to $550 billion (£328 billion) per year by 2035, while renewables investment needs to get to $900 billion (£537 billion).

Further reading:

IEA: $48tn energy investment needed to meet demand by 2035

IEA: shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy ‘long overdue’

Fossil fuel subsidies preventing transition to low-carbon economy

IPCC climate report means cleantech ‘an attractive proposition for any investor’

IPCC report proves fossil fuel investors are ‘wrecking our future’



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