Press releases

A renewable energy system around the globe by 2050

Published: 03/02/2011

London/Utrecht, 03 February 2011 - A fully sustainable and renewable global energy system is possible by 2050. The Energy Report that was published today by Ecofys and WWF, is the first to demonstrate the feasibility of such ambitions across the whole planet. “We can do this by using and improving the technologies that are already at hand,” says Manon Janssen, CEO of Ecofys. “It is a business opportunity, as much as it is a technological challenge.”

For several reasons, the world will need an adapted energy system to accommodate its growing population. Climate change, depletion of natural resources and a growing dependence on only a few energy suppliers are a threat to our current system. Renewable sources such as solar energy, wind, hydro and bio-energy are necessary for a sustainable balance.

The Ecofys Energy Scenario – which is the basis for The Energy Report – asked the fundamental question: “Is a fully sustainable global energy system possible by 2050?” Ecofys, with over 25 years of experience in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency, investigated technical, social and economical developments in all energy carriers, all regions and all sectors of the global energy system.

First, the scenario forecasts a future level of energy-consuming activities (e.g. tonnes of steel used), based on a growing population and a tripling of the world’s economy. These services would be delivered with a minimum of energy and material use.

Second, the scenario ranks the sources to provide the energy for these activities based on sustainability. Energy from the sun, wind, water and heat from the earth’s crust are prioritised and will contribute to a further electrification of our society. Only once these options are exhausted is bio-energy deployed.

Renewable energy proves to be abundant. By utilising existing technologies alone and applying stringent sustainability criteria (e.g. on bio-energy sources), 95% of all energy can be renewable by 2050. Only certain manufacturing processes (e.g. steel, cement) will need specific properties of fossil fuels that cannot be substituted by renewable fuels yet.

An important condition in the scenario is the development towards a sustainable standard of living around the world, based on increasing equity between different regions. Upfront financing will be required, but in the long term, benefits will outweigh costs. “That does not mean it will be easy,” says Manon Janssen. “Present policies and measures are definitely not sufficient. But we must realise that we need to act and that acting now will secure benefits later. We believe that businesses have a major role to play in making it happen.”

Note to the editors

About Ecofys - www.ecofys.com
Established in 1984 with the mission of achieving a sustainable energy supply for everyone, Ecofys has become a leader in energy saving, sustainable energy solutions and climate policies. The unique synergy between our fields of competence is the key to this success. We create smart, effective, practical and sustainable solutions for and with our clients.

About WWF - www.panda.org
WWF is one of the world's largest and most experienced independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in more than 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.

For further information, please contact:
Mariëlle Vosbeek
Press Office
Ecofys
Kanaalweg 15-G
3526 KL Utrecht
T: +31 (0)30 662-3402
E: press@ecofys.com