Growth in renewable energy consumption is set to significantly outpace the growth seen in fossil fuels this year, according to a report. However, it also warns that non-fossil fuels lack the policy needed to progress fast globally.
The report – Industries in 2015 – is from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and notes that as governments around the world seek to limit global warming and emissions by implementing policies, renewables are likely to benefit.
The report states, “Cheap, relatively clean-burning gas is increasingly a competitor in the US for coal, traditionally the most cost-effective option for power generation. Elsewhere, too, dirty coal is going out of fashion as governments enforce tighter environmental rules.”
In particular the report notes that efforts by China, the world’s largest coal user, to clean up its energy sector will have an impact. China uses almost one-half of all the coal burnt each year but has committed to focussing on renewables and will hit its 100-gigawatt target for wind power generating capacity this year.
The EIU predicts that energy consumption of non-hydro renewables, such as wind and solar, will grow by around 13% in 2015, with hydropower also seeing an increase of 3%. This compares to coal and petroleum products growth of less than 2% each.
However, the report added, “Despite these greenish glimmerings, non-fossil fuels lack the overarching policy support they need to make faster progress globally. In 2009, the world tried and failed to hammer out a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol. Following a recent US-China accord on carbon emissions in which China signed up to an emissions peak by 2030, chanced have improved that the other developing nations will commit to stronger measures to avert global warming.
“Some form of new pact is indeed likely to be signed, perhaps incorporating voluntary, scalable targets for individual countries. Whether it will be equal to the task of keeping global warming within safe bounds is far more doubtful.”
World leader met in Lima, Peru, in December to discuss a global climate change agreement, with a draft being drawn up. Late this year they will once again convene, this time in Paris, with the hope of a agreeing on a binding universal treaty.
Photo: Alexander Boden via Flickr
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