The United States can increase the use of renewable energy in its energy mix from 7.5 per cent in 2010 to 27 per cent by 2030, according to a new report released this week.
Renewable Energy Prospects: United States of America, prepared by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), also says the US can increase its use of renewable energy in power generation from 14 per cent to almost 50 per cent by 2030, making it the world’s second largest renewable energy user after China.
“As the second largest energy consumer in the world, the US must continue to play a leading role in the global transition to a sustainable energy future,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA. “The recent agreement between the US and China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a groundbreaking step, but this report aims even higher, showing that more can be done at limited cost.”
With current policies in place, the share of renewable energy in the US energy mix will only reach 10 per cent by 2030. REmap 2030 estimates that an annual investment of USD 86 billion between now and 2030 is required to reach the 27 per cent renewables mark – an increase of USD 38 billion anually beyond a business-as-usual scenario. But, the higher renewable share will result in an annual savings of USD 30 to 140 billion by 2030 when accounting for factors like human health and reduced emissions.
“REmap 2030 shows that the US could install significantly higher amounts of renewables – and that it can do so affordably,” said Mr. Amin. “Even in a country with cheap shale gas like the US, renewable energy is still cost competitive and reduces air pollution, enhances energy security, benefits the economy, and plays a leading role in fighting climate change.”
The report is part of IRENA’s renewable energy roadmap, REmap 2030, which provides a plan to double the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix by 2030 and determines the potential for the US and other countries to scale up renewable energy in the energy system, including power, industry, buildings, and the transport sector.
“This report adds to the growing chorus of studies that show the increasing cost competitiness and potential of renewable energy in the US,” said Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre. “Importantly, it shows the potential of renewables isn’t just limited to the power sector, but also has tremendouspotential in the buildings, industry and transport sectors.”
Next week, efforts to scale up global renewable energy expanision continue as government leaders from more than 150 countries and representatives from 110 international organisations gather in Abu Dhabi for IRENA’s fifth Assembly.