Increasing energy system investment by 30% in favour of renewables and energy-efficient technology could also create 11 million jobs by 2050, “completely offsetting” job losses in the fossil-fuel industry. That's the conclusion of the latest long-term renewable energy outlook by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).
Renewables such as wind and solar power must account for at least two-thirds of total energy used by 2050 to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, said Irena director-general Adnan Z Amin.
“Renewable energy and energy efficiency together form the cornerstone of the world’s solution to energy-related CO2 emissions, and can provide over 90% of the energy-related CO2 emission reductions required to keep the global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius,” said Amin.
“Transformation will not only support climate objectives, it will support positive social and economic outcomes all over the world, lifting millions out of energy poverty, increasing energy independence and stimulating sustainable job growth.”
Investment in low-carbon technologies could “shift the global development paradigm from one of scarcity, inequality and competition to one of shared prosperity – in our lifetimes,” he added.
The director-general previously told Professional Engineering that floating wind turbines could be a “game-changer” for the renewable technology sector, potentially reducing already competitive prices by 50-60%.
Current government plans fall short of emission reduction needs, said Irena. At today’s trajectory, the world would exhaust its energy-related “carbon budget” for 2oC in under 20 years, despite continued strong growth in renewables capacity. In 2017, global renewable generation capacity increased by 167 GW to reach 2,179 GW – a yearly increase of 8.3%.
Increased electrification of transport and supply of heat will also play a key part in increasing renewables, said the organisation.
To read the report, visit the Irena website.
Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.