July 27, 2010: IEA Report Says Energy Technology Revolution Is Now Underway

July 27, 2010

WASHINGTON - A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) finds early indications that an energy technology revolution is now underway. Titled “Energy Technology Perspectives 2010,” it reports that global investment in renewable power generation reached an all-time high of $112 billion in 2008, then remained broadly stable in 2009 despite the economic downturn. Developed countries have also accelerated their energy efficiency gains, while funding for low-carbon energy research increased by one-third between 2005 and 2008.

The IEA report notes that this “energy revolution” will require policy support, as fossil fuels will continue to provide most of the world’s energy needs under current policies. With continued use of fossil fuels, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions could nearly double by 2050. To change this trajectory, the so-called revolution will need to emphasize energy efficiency, which the report calls the most important “fuel” of the future. To halve energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, renewable power would have to grow rapidly to provide half of the world’s electricity. The report also calls for expanding other low-carbon energy sources, including nuclear power and carbon capture and storage. The IEA concludes such a shift would cost $45 trillion more than the baseline scenario over the next 40 years, but it also notes that such spending will have positive returns on investment, along with other economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Publication date: 07/26/2010