Cost of renewable energy 10 times cheaper than "business as usual" Fossil fuelled future, says breakthrough report

Savings of US $180 billion per year predicted in first global analysis of renewables versus fossil fuels

Press release - July 6, 2007
AMSTERDAM/BRUSSELS, India — Investing in a renewable electricity future will save 10 times the fuel costs of a "business as usual" fossil-fuelled scenario, saving $180 billion USD annually and cut CO 2 emissions in half by 2030, according to a joint report by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) released today. (1)

In the first global analysis of its kind, "Future Investment - A sustainable Investment Plan for the power sector to save the Climate", demonstrates a powerful economic argument for a shift in global investments towards renewable energy (including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and bio energy), within the next 23 years, and away from dangerous coal and nuclear power. The report gives the financial rationale for Greenpeace´s "Energy [R]evolution" a blueprint for how to cut global CO 2 emissions by 50% by 2050, while maintaining global economic growth (2).

The Energy [R]evolution needs an extra global annual investment of $22 billion in clean and renewable power plants on top of current expenditure. The fuel cost savings in the scenario, of up to $202 billion per year, means this will pay for itself ten times over. Meanwhile, converting the massive subsidies of $250 million a year that coal and gas receive to clean, safe renewable energy will cover the costs of the energy [r]evolution and much more.

The Energy Revolution report for India was in April this year. It provides a practical blueprint for how to stabilize our CO 2 emissions to a 1000 Million Tonnes by 2050, while providing a secure and affordable energy supply and critically, maintaining steady economic development. The report has drawn out an energy road-map for India, which if implemented would ensure that 50% of India's total energy needs are met through energy efficiency while the balance is met from Renewable Energy Sources, with a small balance from conventional energy sources.  

K. Srinivas, Climate and Energy Expert, Greenpeace, said "In India the Energy [R]evolution can be done with just an investment of USD 60 Billion over a period of between 2004-2030; this could be easily financed either through carbon trading set up within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol or through the reduction of subsidies currently given to coal and coal transportation in the country". (3)

"In sharp contrast, a "business as usual" approach casts a dark cloud over our future. Its globally 10,000 new fossil fuel power plants, would increase global CO2 emissions by over 50%, and more than double fuel costs; there is no way of putting a price on the disastrous results this will have for environment and humanity." An addition of 400 Giga Watt of electricity from Coal Fired Power Plants as envisaged by the Indian Government by 2030, this would increase our CO2 emissions from the current levels of 1300 Million tonnes to 3500 Million Tonnes", making us one of top three emitters with immeasurable climate impacts" added Srinivas.

"The renewable industry is willing and able to deliver the power plants the world needs, we simply need the right climate and energy policy. Decisions made in the next few years, will continue to have an impact in 2050. Only if a renewable energy path is taken, can we avoid the worst excesses of climate change!" said Oliver Schäfer, EREC policy director.

The report stresses the urgent need for decisive action now. In the next decade, many existing power plants in OECD countries will need replacing, and emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil are rapidly building new energy infrastructure.

For further information, contact

K. Srinivas, Climate and Energy Expert, Greenpeace +91 98451-12130
Ruchira Talukdar, Greenpeace Communications - +91-9900264127
Oliver Schäfer, EREC Policy Director + 32 496 65 2837

Notes to Editor

A copy of the "Futu[r]e Investment - A sustainable Investment for the power sector to save the climate" report can be downloaded at:

1. The Energy [R]evolution Scenario is a real alternative to the IEA´s world energy outlook and the only practical blueprint for how to cut global energy related CO2 emission by 50% by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change, while maintaining global economic growth. You can download it at

2. With no change in energy policy, utilities will invest in more than 10,000 new fossil fuel power plants until 2030 worldwide. To supply those coal and gas fired power plants with fuel will add up between today and 2030 to US$18,6 trillion, compared to US$13,1 trillion in the Energy [R]evolution Scenario. This means fuel costs in the Energy [R]evolution Scenario are already 30% lower in the year 2030, by 2050; they are more than 70% lower.

3. While in most parts of the world, investment coasts for a power sector of 50% renewable energies (the Energy [R]evolution scenario) until 2030 will be higher than a fossil fuel based economy, in some parts of the world like Latin or North America, the investment costs of the E [R] scenario are even lower, reducing the global extra investment.