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Global Futures Report 2013 - Preface

7 Preface What is our current thinking about the future of renewable energy? What is the range of credible possibilities for that future? As sug- gested by the cover, this report is a “mosaic” of insight into these questions. Most significantly, the report does not provide one pre- ferred vision or position, but rather portrays a range of possibilities and thinking on the subject—compiled into a simple overview. The report is intended as a tool for education and discussion, and as an objective framework for thinking about the future. To answer these questions, the report author and researchers com- piled information from a wide variety of sources. These included: (1) interviews with some 170 industry experts, technology experts, executives, researchers, visionaries, policymakers, finance experts, and utility managers in 15 countries; (2) interviews with local city officials and stakeholders in more than 20 cities; (3) discussion workshops in three developing countries; (4) more than 50 recently published scenarios by credible international organizations, energy companies, and research institutes, covering global, regional, and national long-term futures to 2020–2050; (5) all existing govern- ment policy targets for future shares or amounts of renewable energy to 2020–2050, including regional, national, state, provincial, and municipal targets; (6) long-term action plans by local/city gov- ernments; (7) corporate annual reports and other publications and communications by major energy companies; and (8) a variety of published articles and references, including the REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report. This report is not intended to be scientific. It does not convey objec- tive surveys or statistical samples. And it does not offer recommen- dations. It also is not intended as journalism, although it does make extensive use of interviews. Rather, the report is intended to provide an overall mosaic of the range of contemporary thinking. For those unfamiliar with some of the energy terminology and concepts found in this report, an online supplement is available, “Glossary and Basic Energy Concepts.” Full references for published sources used, along with a list of selected readings on renewable energy technologies, economics, and policy, are available in the online supplement, “Bibliography and Topical Readings.” Brevity was a key consideration in writing the report. Therefore, the complexities and details of many subjects cannot be covered. Many explanatory notes and references to other publications are contained in the endnotes. Many other excellent publications cover renewable energy; of particular note are four recent works, together comprising more than 4,000 pages of information: IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy (2011), GEA Global Energy Assessment (2012), and IEA Energy Technology Perspectives (2012) and World Energy Outlook (2012). This report presents data in four main ways: 1. Opinions from people interviewed are presented as coming from “industry experts,” “finance experts,” “visionaries,” and other such generic titles. All interviewees were granted confidentiality to allow a frank exchange of views. The point of the interviews was not to ascribe credibility to the specific opinions offered, which would require attribution, but rather to collect as comprehensive a picture as possible, and as varied as possible, into one overall description. As such, the sources of the individual inputs are less important than the overall mosaic of information conveyed. Responsibility for the credibility and content of the report rests solely with the author. (See Annex 1 for details and a complete list of interviewee names and affiliations.) 2. Scenario results are presented with reference to the organiza- tion authoring the scenario. A full list of scenarios referenced, along with 2–4 page “profile” summaries of each scenario, are provided in the online supplemental report, “Scenario Profiles Report.” (See Annex 2 for a list of all scenarios used in this report. See Annex 3 for more discussion of scenarios and variables influencing renewables futures.) 3. Additional views of utility companies, oil and gas companies, and automakers are included with quotes from specific companies based on public sources such as corporate reports. (Interviews with a large number of these companies were not possible.) 4. Views of developing country experts and companies are some- times provided in generic form with reference just to country name, reflecting input from discussion workshops and other published materials. Interviews were conducted in only a limited number of developing countries: China, India, Morocco, and South Africa. Source information was compiled into a series of 30 “discussion topics” that break down renewable energy futures into specific areas of subject matter. These topics are cross-referenced in endnotes throughout the report, and provide additional information, discus- sion/debate points, and references for the interested reader. These topics are available in the online supplement, “Topical Discussion Report.“ (See further links to topics in Annex 4.) This report portrays a number of “Great Debates” throughout the text. Such “debates” emerged from expert interviews and published material, when opinions diverged significantly and pointed to areas of controversy. In addition to text boxes, 30 such debates are sum- marized in Annex 4 and are cross-referenced with topics in the online supplement, “Topical Discussion Report.” All information presented in this report is attributable to sources other than the author himself, although of course the personal views of the author, and especially his optimism for the future of renewable energy, will inevitably color the results. However, the author took care to be objective, and to separate his own views, which are presented uniquely in the “Epilogue: Speaking Personally” at the end of this report. Eric Martinot Report Author Tokyo, Japan January 2013

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