Background on SRREN report

Page - May 9, 2011
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources (SRREN)

About the SSREN report

The Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources (SSREN) is an analysis of the literature available on sources of renewable energy and their scientific, technological, environmental, economic and social impact on mitigating climate change. Produced by 120 researchers working with the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the report focuses on six renewable technologies: Bioenergy, Direct Solar Energy, Geothermal Energy, Hydropower, Ocean Energy and Wind Energy. The report consists of a 900-page document, supported by a 30-page summary for policy makers.

What are the main outcomes?

Identifying Drivers and Solutions for a Low Carbon Economy

  • Energy access is fundamental for social and economic development as well as welfare and equity needs.
  • Sustainable energy development needs secure services with low environmental impacts.
  • GHG emissions from traditional energy sources are a major cause of climate change.

Renewable energy Technologies and Markets

  • Renewable energy now accounts for 12.9 per cent of global energy supply (2008).
  • Renewable energy development is increasing rapidly.
  • The potential of renewables is greater than market demand by a factor of at least 20
  • Renewable energy is becoming increasingly cost competitive.
  • Renewable technologies become cost competitive within the next year or are already cost competitive with conventional energy systems e.g.
    • Solar photovoltaic will reach grid parity within the next three years in many industrialized countries
    • Wind power is already cost competitive with new coal power plants in good wind locations

Integrating renewable energy into present and future energy systems

  • Renewable energy is already being integrated into existing grids.
  • Energy systems will need to evolve to accommodate higher shares of renewable energy.

Sustainable development

  • Renewable energy has a pivotal role to play in sustainable economic development.
  • Renewable energy will increase access to energy and provide greater energy security.

Mitigation potential and costs

  • Renewable energy has huge potential to mitigate GHG emissions: between 2010 and 2050 up to 560 Gigatonnes CO2 can be saved.
  • Most scenarios predict a substantial increase in renewable energy over the next decades.
  • Renewable energy will expand without efforts to address climate change.
  • Renewable energy growth will be a global phenomenon.

Scenario analysis

  • More than 160 energy scenarios were reviewed to explore the possible deployment rate of renewable energies by 2050, as well as the social and environmental impacts.
  • Four global energy scenarios were analyzed in-depth – the IEA World Energy Outlook 2009, as a baseline scenario, and three climate-mitigation scenarios – one of them is the Energy [R]evolution 2010 scenario published by Greenpeace International, the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and the German Space Agency (DLR).
  • Even the most ambitious renewable energy scenario used only 2.5 per cent of the globally available renewable energy potential by 2050.
  • Renewable energy could supply as much as 77 per cent of the world’s energy demand by 2050, (360 Exajoules per year), according to the most ambitious scenario.
  • Even without new renewable policies, the market share of renewables is likely to increase considerably as costs fall and demand for energy grows.

Policy and Implementation

  • The growth and variety of renewable energy policies is helping to drive growth.
  • Future renewable energy growth will require additional policies to attract investment.