Renew On Line (UK) 61

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 161 May-June2006
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


The Energy Review

Climate Policy arrives

Tidal and wave power

Micro CHP Results

Policy developments

Where the money goes.

UK round up

Climate Threats

Global News

EU News

News around the world

Nuclear News

9. Global News

Climate Change

“The question is no longer whether we will need to address this problem, but when we will need to address the problem”, according to Kenneth Caldeira, an author of a recent study published in The Journal of Climate, and a climate expert at the Carnegie Institution’s department of global ecology, based at Stanford University in California. He added “We can either address it now, before we severely and irreversibly damage our climate, or we can wait until irreversible damage manifests itself strongly. If all we do is try to adapt, things will get worse and worse.”

G20: slow moves

Following on from G8 summit in Gleneagles last summer, there was a two-day ‘G20’ meeting of energy and environment ministers from 20 nations in London in Oct., with the focus on curbing climate change through technology rather than on Kyoto-type binding international agreements- given that it was felt that China and India, two key participants, were unlikely to be willing to sign up to Kyoto phase 2. Tony Blair told the gathering that ‘the blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge, but all economies know that the only sensible long term way of developing is to do it on a sustainable basis’. But some progress was made.

The G20 Dialogue Partners agreed to work together on:

  • * Deployment of clean technologies, such as renewable energy technology and carbon capture and storage, to put global emissions on a path to ‘slow, peak and decline’;
  • * Incentives for large scale private sector investment in low carbon techs, working with the World Bank;
  • * A new model for co-operation between developed and developing countries, as put forward by China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico at Gleneagles
  • * Reinforcing action on adapting to climate change.

The UK, as President of both the EU and the G8, also co-hosted an International Conference on energy efficiency in Nov. This led to a joint Defra-EU initiative on ‘Europe and an Energy Efficient World- Acting and Learning Together’.


While most welcomed these moves, not everyone felt that enough was being done. Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Norman Baker. “It is all very well for the government to trumpet the merits of technology in reducing carbon emissions, but it simply isn’t enough; we need robust, measurable targets, not just vague aspirations”.

Friends of the Earth’s Director Tony Juniper said: ‘Blair and Bush say new technologies will help to meet the climate change challenge. But there are existing technologies that we could be using now which would cut fossil fuel demand, while also producing economic benefits and tackling climate change. More needs to be done to promote these quick wins.’

FoE wants G8 countries to agree to start phasing out energy inefficient technologies, such as incandescent light bulbs, and to reduce the power needed for electrical products on standby settings. They should also provide help to poorer countries to do the same. But FoE warned that the G8 efficiency and technology initiatives must not undermine the Kyoto Protocol process, the latest phase of which was the rather inconclusive Ministerial meeting in Montreal in Dec. for the Parties to the UN Climate Change accord (see Reviews).

FoE also criticised the potential role envisaged for the World Bank in the G8 initiative as new research from FOE-US claims that the World Bank is failing to meet existing targets for increasing finance for renewable energy projects, although, to be fair, it is providing significant support: the World Bank subsequently committed US$212m to new renewables projects, giving a 15-year total commitment of $2.5 bn.

‘Kyoto will cut renewables’

The use of renewables will fall globally in gross terms under the Kyoto Protocol, compared with a penetration rate without the global agreement on climate change, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, since the emphasis will increasingly be on nuclear and carbon sequestration. Given the US governments antipathy to Kyoto, and pro nuclear bias, it’s not clear whether it sees this as a good or bad thing!

The DOE’s ‘International Energy Outlook 2005’ from its Energy Information Administration, says that ‘The projected penetration of renewable fuels in the energy markets of participating Annex I countries is lower in the Kyoto Protocol case than in the reference case’ noting that ‘Electricity generation from nuclear power is 1.9% higher in the Kyoto Protocol case than in the reference case in 2010 and 12.5% higher in 2025; and total energy use is 1.8% lower in 2010 and 1.7% lower in 2025. As a result, even though generation from non-fossil fuels makes up a larger share of total energy consumption in the Kyoto Protocol case than in the reference case, renewable generation is lower’. It adds ‘The penetration of the sequestration technology also limits the potential for renewables development’.

$30bn on renewables

Global investment in renewable energy was $30 bn in 2004, accounting for 20-25 % of all investment in the power industry, and with solar power the fastest growing energy technology, according to “Renewables 2005 Global Status Report” produced by REN21 and distributed by Worldwatch.

It noted that China has a goal of obtaining 10% of its power from renewables by 2020, and it was already a world leader in renewable electricity capacity, with 37 gigawatts, followed by Germany, the USA, Spain and Japan. Overall there is now 160 GW of renewable electricity capacity around the world- 4% of total global generation. It’s made up of 61GW of small hydro, 48GW of wind, 39GW of biomass, plus geothermal 8.9 GW, solar PV offgrid 2.2GW, PV on grid 1.8 GW, solar thermal 0.4 GW, Ocean/Tidal 0.3 GW. In addition there are the following heat suppliers: Biomass 220 GWth, Solar 77GWth, Geothermal direct heating 13 GWth, heat pumps 15 GWth. Overall that adds up to 480GW of heat & power capacity. In addition there’s 720GW of existing large hydro, which if included gives a total of 17% of global primary energy.

* The report was produced by REN21 Renewable Policy Network (see our Groups section) and the German Government and can be accessed at: Also see our Reviews. There is also a useful overview article by Eric Martinot, its lead author, in Renewable Energy World (Nov-Dec 05):

Access it at

1TW of wind by 2020

A report by BTM Consult ApS, on the international wind power industry, suggests that by 2020 globally there could be 1 Terrawatt (1 million megawatts) of wind capacity (note- total global energy supply capacity is ~13TW)

2015 Forecast (based on ‘Business as Usual,’ but with higher oil & gas prices):

  • • Annual installation will increase from 2004’s figure of 8,152 MW to 32,720 MW in 2015
  • • Cumulative capacity will increase from 2004’s figure of 48,000 MW to 271,512 MW in 2015
  • • The average growth in annual installation for the whole period is 13.5% p.a. America and Asia will grow fastest.
  • • The average growth in cumulative installation for the whole period is 17.1% p.a.
  • • A total investmentup to 2015 of US$ 220-250 bn
  • Scenario for 2025 (with an ‘Environment & security of Supply’ focused policy):
  • • Wind power will in 2025 have reached a global penetration of 8.6 %, from an aggregated installation of more than 1million MW wind power capacity
  • • The annual installation of new capacity by end of the scenario reach 115,000MW per year- about 14 times today’s installation rate (2004).
  • • America, Asia and Europe will be of equal size in terms of installed wind power capacity.


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