A new report released today by IRENA indicates that the United States could affordably increase its renewable energy share from 7.5% in 2010 to 27% by 2030. Renewable Energy Prospects: United States of America also finds that with progressive policies implemented, the US could increase its use of renewable energy in power generation from 14% to almost 50% by 2030, positioning it as 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, IRENA’s Director-General. “The recent agreement between the US and China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a ground-breaking step, but the report aims even higher, showing that more can be done at limited cost.”
As of now, the share of renewable energy in the US energy mix will only reach 10% by 2030. An annual investment of USD 86 billion between now and 2030 is required to reach the 27% renewables mark – an increase of USD 38 billion annually, according to the report. The higher renewable investment would be offset by gains in human health and reduced emissions, with an estimated annual savings of USD 30 to 140 billion by 2030.
The report is part of 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.
“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.”
Next week, efforts to increase momentum toward global renewable energy expansion continues as government leaders from more than 140 countries and representatives from 110 international organisations gather in Abu Dhabi for IRENA’s fifth Assembly.