IEA urges decisive police action for shifting to wind energy and solar power

Technology can transform energy system to boost clear energy, with the support of decisive policy action, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Monday.

"A host of new technologies is ready to transform the energy system, offering the potential to drastically reduce carbon emissions, enhance energy security and generate a huge investment return," the IEA suggested.

On the launch of its flagship energy technology publication, the Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 (ETP2012), the organization pointed out that "with right policies, shift to clean energy can more than pay for itself."

"While our efforts to bring about a clean energy transformation are falling further behind, I want to stress the golden opportunity before us: If significant policy action is taken, we can still achieve the huge potential for these technologies to reduce CO2 emissions and boost energy security," said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.

The report presents an investment plan that more than pays for itself through fuel savings which would be tripled by 2025.

"An additional USD 36 trillion of investment would be required to overhaul the world’s current energy system by the middle of the century, but this would be offset by USD 100 trillion in savings through reduced use of fossil fuels," the agency said.

The IEA also presents a 2-degree-Celsius Scenario in its new study which lists the energy technology choices that can ensure an 80-percent chance of limiting long-term global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.

"The plan leads to a sustainable energy system featuring diverse sources, low-carbon electricity and an expanded infrastructure," the IEA survey said.

The report also explains how higher steam temperatures can cut coal-fired power plants’ emissions by 30 percent even as natural gas increasingly complements so-called variable renewable sources, primarily wind power and solar energy (concentrated solar power and photovoltaic), providing the flexibility that energy systems would need to balance generation and demand fluctuations.

The report makes clear that low-carbon fuels and technologies depend on immediate infrastructure change to build in the flexibility the new approaches require.

"…when will governments wake up to the dangers of complacency and adopt the bold policies that radically transform our energy system? To do anything less is to deny our societies the welfare they deserve," Hoeven said.

Founded in response to the 1970s oil crisis, the IEA’s initial role was to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets.

Now the 28-member organization has expanded itself to the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing reliable and unbiased research, statistics, analysis and recommendations.