The role of renewable energy in climate stabilization: results from the EMF27 scenarios

The role of renewable energy in climate stabilization: results from the EMF27 scenarios / Luderer, G., Krey, V., Calvin, K., Merrick, J., Mima, S., Pietzcker, R., Van Vliet, j. & Wada, K.. Climatic Change, vol.  123, n° 3/4 : Special Issue on “The EMF27 Study on Global Technology and Climate Policy Strategies”, 2014, pp. 427-441.

This paper uses the EMF27 scenarios to explore the role of renewable energy (RE) in climate change mitigation. Currently RE supplies almost 20 % of global electricity demand. Almost all EMF27 mitigation scenarios show a strong increase in renewable power production, with a substantial ramp-up of wind and solar power deployment. In many scenarios, renewables are the most important long-term mitigation option for power supply. Wind energy is competitive even without climate policy, whereas the prospects of solar photovoltaics (PV) are highly contingent on the ambitiousness of climate policy. Bioenergy is an important and versatile energy carrier; however–with the exception of low temperature heat–there is less scope for renewables other than biomass for non-electric energy supply. Despite the important role of wind and solar power in climate change mitigation scenarios with full technology availability, limiting their deployment has a relatively small effect on mitigation costs, if nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS)–which can serve as substitutes in low-carbon power supply–are available. Limited bioenergy availability in combination with limited wind and solar power by contrast, results in a more substantial increase in mitigation costs. While a number of robust insights emerge, the results on renewable energy deployment levels vary considerably across the models. An in-depth analysis of a subset of EMF27 reveals substantial differences in modeling approaches and parameter assumptions. To a certain degree, differences in model results can be attributed to different assumptions about technology costs, resource potentials and systems integration.

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