International Energy Agency report says renewables will be key in meeting climate goals

The International Energy Agency has named renewables as one of the key ingredients to meeting climate mitigation goals, and called on governments to set policies accordingly, in a new report released on Tuesday.

The Energy Technology Perspectives 2015 report says that renewable energy, alongside energy efficiency, will account for nearly 75 per cent of all emissions abatement in the global effort to limit warming to 2°C – the number science agrees will limit irreversible, dangerous climate change.

In particular, it says, energy technology innovation will be central to meeting climate goals, while also supporting economic and energy security objectives.

Wind and solar, alone, says the report, would potentially provide 22 per cent of annual electricity sector emissions reduction in 2050 under the 2°C scenario. (Nuclear, it says, would account for only 8 per cent of reductions.)

“Ultimately, deploying proven, cost-effective technologies is what will make the energy system transformation possible,” the IEA report says.

“Establishing policy and market frameworks that support innovation and build investor confidence over the long term is a first-order task to deliver.”

Coal generation, meanwhile, would need to decline. 

“Given the long technical lifetime of power generation technologies, avoiding lock-in of carbon-intensive technologies is critical,” the report says.

“From the coal power plants currently operating or under construction, some 1000GW of coal capacity could still operate in 2050 and emit around 3.5GtCO2 annually – a volume more than double the allotted power sector emissions of 1.5GtCO2 in the 2DS.

“This illustrates that early retirement of coal capacity or retrofits with CCS are unavoidable.”

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson