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Global Futures Report 2013 - Figure 1

15 The world gets about 17–18% of its energy from renewables, including about 9% from “traditional biomass” and about 8% from “modern renewables.”a, b The “traditional” share has been relatively stable for many years, while the “modern” share has grown rap- idly since the late 1990s. During the 1990s, projections of renew- able energy that were considered most credible, for example by the International Energy Agency (IEA), foresaw shares of modern renewables reaching no more than 5–10% into the far future, given the policies and technologies existing at the time. As a result of the market, policy, and technology developments of the past 15 years, those early projections have already been reached.1 In 2011, about 30 countries were getting 20% or more of their total energy from renewables, and some as high as 50%.c (The “total energy” metric counts electricity, heating/cooling, and transport.) Countries in this category include Austria, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Uganda, and Uruguay. The European Union (EU) as a whole and the United States both stood at 12%. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and several other countries were above 10%, and Japan was at 6%. Furthermore, in 2011, about half of all new electric power capacity added worldwide was renewable—as much capacity as fossil and nuclear combined. In interviews, industry experts emphasized that historical thinking and projections about renewable energy remaining a “fringe” techno- logy no longer make sense.2 During the late 1990s and early 2000s, as renewable energy started to grow more rapidly than many had predicted, new sce- narios emerged that showed much higher long-term shares of renewables. Notable among these was a “Sustained Growth” scenario by the Shell oil company that showed 50% of global energy from renewables by 2050, a figure that shocked many at the time. The IEA also released a report, Energy to 2050: Scenarios for a Sustainable Future, that outlined a “Sustainable Development” scenario with a 35% share from renewables.3 By the mid-2000s, a larger number of scenarios emerged showing 30–50% shares. Prominent among these was the first (2006) edition of the IEA Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP), which gave a set of “Accelerated Technology” scenarios for 2050. In these sce- narios, an intermediate case showed a 24% share, and the highest case showed a 30% share. A few years earlier, the German Advisory Council on Global Change (2004) had published its “Exemplary Path” scenario that projected a 50% share by 2050. And in 2007, the first edition of the Energy [R]evolution scenario by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) likewise projected a 50% share by 2050.4 The most recent scenarios, published in 2010–2012, could be viewed in three main groups: “conservative,” “moderate,” and “high renewables.”5 See Figure 1 for the wide variation between groups. (See Annex 2 for a list of the recent global, regional, and national scenarios covered in this report, including full citations correspond- ing to scenario abbreviations used throughout the text, and see the online supplement, “Scenario Profiles Report,” for summaries of these scenarios.) Conservative scenarios in the 15–20% range can be found pub- lished by oil companies, some industry groups, the IEA, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). For example, BP’s Energy Outlook 2030 (2012) and ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy: A View 01 Source: See Annex 2 for full scenario names and citations. a) These figures are final energy shares; see Endnote 1 for full explanation of the differences between final and primary energy shares and sources of data. Energy shares in this report are primary energy unless noted. “Traditional biomass” is commonly defined as unprocessed solid biomass, including agricul- tural residues, animal dung, forest products, and gathered fuel wood, that is typically combusted in stoves, furnaces, or open fires for cooking, heating, and agricultural/industrial processing in rural areas. “Modern renewables” includes all other renewables such as hydro, biomass power and heat, wind, solar, and geothermal. b) Many endnotes provide further explanations or clarifications not possible in the text. All data about the current status of renewable energy, typically statistics for 2011, come from the REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report unless noted. c) “Total energy” means either primary or final share depending on source; see Endnote 2. Throughout this report, “energy share” means total energy counting electricity, heating/cooling, and transport. 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Greenpeace (2012) IEA ETP (2012) "2DS" IEA WEO (2012)"New Policies" ExxonMobil (2012) GEA (2012) "Efficiency" (highest) ShareofTotalGlobalEnergy(Percent) 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 High renewables Moderate Conservative Figure 1: Conservative, Moderate, and High-Renewables Scenarios to 2050

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