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Global Futures Report 2013

9 At the national level, at least 30 countries around the world already have shares of renewable energy above 20%. Some 120 countries have various types of policy targets for long-term shares of renew- able energy, including a binding 20% target for the European Union by 2020. Some countries have long-term policy targets that will put them squarely in the “high renewables” domain by 2030 or 2050, such as Denmark (100%) and Germany (60%). Outside of Europe, a diverse group of at least 20 other countries target energy shares in the 2020–2030 time frame that range from 10% to 50%, includ- ing Algeria, China, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam. National renewable energy markets are projected to grow strongly in the coming decade and beyond, as shown by current policies and targets, and by scenario and expert projections. Snapshots of markets and policies in Europe, the United States, Japan, China, and India show many emerging and possible developments. For exam- ple, Europe’s policy targets, national policies, and EU-level directives are projected to accelerate heating and transport from renewables through 2020, as well as continued growth in renewable electricity. In the United States, state-level policies imply continued markets even with national policy uncertainty. China’s wind power market has become a world leader, and projections show the continuation of trends, along with growing markets for solar hot water and solar photovoltaic (PV). India has ambitious targets for solar power, both grid-tied and off-grid, along with aggressive projections for wind power and rural use of biomass. Projected markets in a much greater number of developing coun- tries on a bigger scale will create a diverse geographic base for renewables. Beyond existing “BRICS” leaders Brazil, China, and India, experts believed that expansion will accelerate through 2020, particularly in leading developing countries such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, and Thailand. Beyond 2020, renew- ables markets will become even broader-based in a larger number of countries, as developing countries take increasing leadership. Unique opportunities for renewable energy exist in future develop- ment, including new electric power infrastructure, diesel generator replacement, new settlements, new power-market rules, regional cooperation frameworks, local manufacturing, and rural (off-grid) energy services. With the dramatic growth of renewable energy markets over the past decade, along with manufacturing economies of scale, have come dramatic technology improvements and cost reductions. Recent growth rates reflect a “take-off” phase that has seen many renewable energy technologies become mainstream investments and undergo dramatic advances in performance, cost, and scale. Hydropower, geothermal, and biomass power and heat are the most mature, and most projections show continued growth that reflects their mature status. Among other renewables, onshore wind power is closest to com- mercial maturity, with many examples of unsubsidized wind power already competitive with conventional energy (in specific locations), and many projections of further technology and cost evolution. Offshore wind power is more expensive than onshore, but has large (although uncertain) potential for cost reductions, not just for turbines, but also for logistics and long-term operations and main- tenance costs. Solar PV has seen dramatic cost reductions in recent years. Projections show continued cost reductions, many possible techno- logy advances, and full competitiveness with retail electricity prices without subsidies—so-called “grid parity”—occurring in many jurisdictions soon (and already, according to some), and in many more places around the world by 2020. Solar thermal power (CSP) still has a large cost-reduction potential, with future opportunities for bulk power supply, for dedicated applications such as industrial heat supply and desalination, and for power grid balancing using multi-hour and multi-day embedded heat storage. While debates about the sustainability of so-called “first genera- tion” biofuels continue, many projections show large future markets for “advanced” biofuels from agricultural and forestry wastes, and from crops grown on marginal or otherwise-unproductive lands. A wide variety of new approaches to using biomass is also projected, such as growing international commodity markets for wood pellets and bio-heating oil, greater use of biogas in a variety of applications, new types of “biorefineries” in agriculture and forestry, and greater use of biomass in heat supply. This report suggests that future policies will evolve over time and will remain an essential part of renewable energy futures. Experts pointed to a range of future policies to support renewable heating and cooling in buildings. They also pointed to new policies for electric power systems integration, including market rules for balancing services, demand response, net metering, consolidation of grid balancing regions, transmission planning and access, and others. Experts also pointed to many other policies for transport, industry, and rural energy that will be key to future integration of renewables. And finance experts pointed to policies that adopt risk-return per- spectives in supporting energy investments, rather than traditional cost-benefit perspectives. “Transformational change” is implied by many of the scenarios and expert opinions presented in this report. Experts made clear that such change is not just about technology and infrastructure, but about models of social, institutional, business, and policy change. Transformational change is implied by future needs for technical and institutional restructuring of power systems, by much-less- homogeneous transport systems with a multitude of fuel types and vehicle types powered by renewables, and by new building design and construction practices and renewables-integrated building materials. Ultimately, transformation means more than just renew- ables fitting into existing energy systems, but rather all energy tech- nologies evolving together, with different roles, into transformed energy systems.

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