Action Pillars for Bridging the Renewable Energy Gap
The Landscape of Renewable Energy
In the ever-evolving domain of global energy, renewable sources are gaining prominence. From a mere 14% of the total primary energy supply (TPES) in 2016, the ambition is to soar to 65% by 2050. If the IRENA REmap Case becomes the standard, renewable energy use will skyrocket – a leap from 81 exajoules (EJ) in 2016 to a whopping 350 EJ come 2050. Even with the population and economic boom in the background, TPES would need to dive slightly beneath 2016 marks. While the world witnessed a 1.1% annual surge in primary energy demand from 2010 to 2016, the REmap vision propels it to reverse gears, declining at 0.2% per year till 2050.
Major Paradigm Shifts in the REmap Case
- Boost in Energy Efficiency: Thanks to the expansion in renewable electrification, particularly in the realms of transport and heat, energy efficiency gets a major fillip. Leveraging renewable electricity shrinks the consumption of inefficient fuels.
- Electrifying Transformation: The complexion of the electricity blend undergoes a major makeover. Carbon’s footprint in electricity gets slashed by 90%. As a consequence, power sector generation is poised to burgeon over two-fold, soaring to more than 55,000 terawatt-hours (TWh), a significant leap from the 24,000 TWh benchmark of 2016. This metamorphosis entails a broad-based roll-out of renewable energy, complemented by highly adaptable power systems, ensuring the seamless melding of variable renewable energy (VRE). By 2050, renewables would dominate the power sector with a staggering 86% share, compared to the 2016 figure of 24%. Such a sweeping change mandates fresh strategic thinking in power system design, market functionalities, regulatory paradigms, and public policy narratives.
A Glimpse of TPES from 2016 to 2050
The diagrammatic representation illustrates the oscillations in TPES and the shares of renewable versus non-renewable sources between 2016 and 2050. The contrasting scenarios of the REmap Case versus the Reference Case become evident:
- 2016 Benchmark: Renewable energies had a discernible but still minor share.
- 2050 Reference Case: With prevailing policies, TPES would witness a 24% upswing by 2050.
- 2050 REmap Case: With an accelerated focus on renewables, electrification, and energy efficiency, TPES could recede to a level marginally below the present-day figures.
Transitioning to renewable energy isn’t a choice anymore; it’s a necessity. And the journey from 14% to 65% isn’t just about numbers; it’s about reimagining the future of energy on our planet. The three pillars—energy efficiency, transformation of the electricity mix, and strategic planning and policy—will determine the course of this journey. The path is challenging but the end goal—a sustainable energy future—is worth every effort.