‘Renewables Are Cheapest Energy Option’ When Fossil Fuel Subsidies Are Removed, Says REN21

‘Renewables Are Cheapest Energy Option’ When Fossil Fuel Subsidies Are Removed, Says REN21

This expansion happened in a year when the global economy and energy use both grew, but without a matching rise in emissions of carbon dioxide—the main greenhouse gas targeted in efforts to restrain global warming.

The report by REN21, a global renewable energy policy network, says the result is an example of sustainable development. Despite the worldʼs annual 1.5 percent increase in energy consumption in recent years and 3 percent GDP growth last year, 2014ʼs CO2 emissions were unchanged from 2013ʼs total of 32.3 billion tonnes.

The reportʼs authors say this decoupling of economic and CO2 growth is due to Chinaʼs increased use of renewables and to efforts by OECD countries to promote more sustainable growth, including by increased energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.

“Renewable energy and improved energy efficiency are key to limiting global warming to 2°C and avoiding dangerous climate change,” says Arthouros Zervos, who chairs REN21.

policies

Distorting subsidies

Solar, wind and other technologies, including large hydro-electric schemes, used in 164 countries added another 135 Gigawatts last year to bring the worldʼs total installed renewable energy power capacity to 1,712 GW. This was 8.5 percent up on 2013, and more than double the 800 GW of capacity recorded in 2004. One GW can power between 750,000 and one million typical U.S. homes.

The authors say the sectorʼs growth could be even greater were it not for more than US$550 bn paid out in annual subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy. They say the subsidies keep the prices for energy from these fuels artificially low, encouraging wasteful use and hindering competition.

Christine Lins, executive secretary of REN21, says: “Creating a level playing field would strengthen the development and use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Removing fossil fuel and hidden nuclear subsidies globally would make it evident that renewables are the cheapest energy option.”

electglobal

By the end of 2014, renewables comprised an estimated 27.7 percent of the worldʼs power generating capacity—enough to supply an estimated 22.8 percent of global electricity demand.

Source: EcoWatch

Date: June 2015

This expansion happened in a year when the global economy and energy use both grew, but without a matching rise in emissions of carbon dioxide—the main greenhouse gas targeted in efforts to restrain global warming.

The report by REN21, a global renewable energy policy network, says the result is an example of sustainable development. Despite the worldʼs annual 1.5 percent increase in energy consumption in recent years and 3 percent GDP growth last year, 2014ʼs CO2 emissions were unchanged from 2013ʼs total of 32.3 billion tonnes.

The reportʼs authors say this decoupling of economic and CO2 growth is due to Chinaʼs increased use of renewables and to efforts by OECD countries to promote more sustainable growth, including by increased energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.

“Renewable energy and improved energy efficiency are key to limiting global warming to 2°C and avoiding dangerous climate change,” says Arthouros Zervos, who chairs REN21.

policies

Distorting subsidies

Solar, wind and other technologies, including large hydro-electric schemes, used in 164 countries added another 135 Gigawatts last year to bring the worldʼs total installed renewable energy power capacity to 1,712 GW. This was 8.5 percent up on 2013, and more than double the 800 GW of capacity recorded in 2004. One GW can power between 750,000 and one million typical U.S. homes.

The authors say the sectorʼs growth could be even greater were it not for more than US$550 bn paid out in annual subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy. They say the subsidies keep the prices for energy from these fuels artificially low, encouraging wasteful use and hindering competition.

Christine Lins, executive secretary of REN21, says: “Creating a level playing field would strengthen the development and use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Removing fossil fuel and hidden nuclear subsidies globally would make it evident that renewables are the cheapest energy option.”

electglobal

By the end of 2014, renewables comprised an estimated 27.7 percent of the worldʼs power generating capacity—enough to supply an estimated 22.8 percent of global electricity demand.

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