REN21 Global Futures Report Points to Transformation Policies for Renewable Energy

REN2121 January 2013: The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), in cooperation with the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP), has released its annual "REN21 Global Futures Report (GFR)," which presents a range of expert perspectives on possible renewable energy futures.

The report is based on interviews with more than 170 leading experts and 50 published energy scenarios. It contains chapters examining the future of renewable energy in the context of: total energy share by sector; integration between utilities, buildings, industry, and transportation; business models and investment; urban planning; national and regional policy; and technology, cost and market growth.

The report finds a wide range of expert projections of the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2050, with low estimates below 20% to high estimates upwards of 50-95%. Experts also expressed a wide variance in projections in the average annual investment in renewables in coming decades, ranging between US$300 billion to US$1 trillion, upwards from US$260 billion in 2011.

The conclusion of the GFR notes that some policy-makers are skeptical that incremental policies can create a "bridge" to transformational changes in the energy system. The report, however, adds that many experts believed that such a bridge could take many forms, such as policies that emphasize financial risk-return metrics and risk-reducing energy portfolio approaches. Other experts pointed to the potential for policies to produce transformational change by rethinking the definition of cost-competitiveness and subsidies across all energy sectors. [REN21 GFR Website] [Publication: REN21 Global Futures Report REN21 (GFR)]