Energy Blue Print
Archive 2010

Moving from principles to action for energy supply that mitigates against climate change requires a long-term perspective. Energy infrastructure takes time to build up; new energy technologies take time to develop. Policy shifts often also need many years to take effect. In most world regions the transformation from fossil to renewable energies will require additional investment and higher supply costs over about twenty years

future growth rates

annual market potential for renewable power Annual market growth rates for renewable electricity in the Reference and Energy [R]evolution scenarios are very different, with the latter’s projections based on recent experience in the market. The photovoltaic industry, for example, had an average annual growth rate of 35% between 1998 and 2008 (EPIA 2009), whilst the wind industry experienced a 30% annual growth rate over the same time period (GWEO 2009). Advanced technology roadmaps produced for the photovoltaic, concentrating solar power and wind industries further indicate that these growth rates can be maintained over the next decade, and then decline to between 20% and 10% from 2020 to 2030 and below 10% after that. Both Energy [R]evolution scenarios in fact assume lower annual growth rates for all renewable power technologies, in the range of about 20% up to 2025 and further declining to 10% or lower afterwards. Only concentrating solar power and ocean energy has higher annual growth rate projections.

In order to gain a better understanding of what different technologies can deliver, however, it is necessary to examine more closely how future production capacities can be achieved from the current baseline. The wind industry, for example, has a current annual production capacity of about 39,000 MW. If this output were not expanded, total capacity would reach about 1000 GW by the year 2050. This includes the need for “repowering” of older wind turbines after 20 years. But according to this scenario the share of wind electricity in global production by 2050 would need to grow from today’s 1% to 5.4% under the Reference scenario and to 22.3% and 24.7% under the two Energy [R]evolution pathways. A relatively modest expansion from today’s 39 GW production capacity, however, to about 74 GW (1010 GW, advanced) by 2020 and 178 GW (229 GW, advanced) in 2030 would lead to a total installed capacity of 1700 GW (2.200GW, advanced) in 2030, providing between 15% of world electricity in the basic version and 19% in the advanced case.

Table 7.7 provides an overview of the annual market volume of manufacturing capacity required to implement the quantity of renewable energy generation within the three scenarios. The good news is that the Energy [R]evolution demand does not even come close to the limit of the renewable industries’ own projections. However, the scenario does assume that at the same time strong energy efficiency measures are taken in order to save resources and develop a more cost optimised energy supply.