By Dave Elliott
Renewable energy is being taken increasingly seriously as a major energy option, if not the major energy option. ‘The share of renewable energy in global primary energy could increase from the current 17% to between 30% to 75%, and in some regions exceed 90%, by 2050.’ So said the Global Energy Assessment (GEA) produced by an international team led by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. See www.iiasa.ac.at/Admin/INF/PR/2012/2012-06-19.html.
The GEA develops a series of possible low-carbon pathways, including one with maximum demand saving achieved through a focus on energy efficiency. In that, residual nuclear power is phased out in most of the world and totally by 2050. The GEA sees ‘nuclear energy as a choice, not a requirement,’ adding that ‘it is possible to meet all GEA goals even in the case of a nuclear phase-out’. However it accepts that nuclear ‘can play an important role in the supply-side portfolio of some transition pathways’. But the main emphasis in all scenarios is on renewables and efficiency.