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RENEWABLES CAN SOLVE GLOBAL ENERGY CRISIS BUT THERE REMAIN RISKS
Monday 06 June 2011
Author: Russell Group
 

Underwriter RSA has released a joint report with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which sets out what it would take to provide the world’s entire energy needs via renewable sources by 2050.

The underwriter has teamed up with the environmental organisation for a series of detailed research reports with latest on the renewable energy markets and the prospects for the future.

With the recent announcement of the UK's Fourth Carbon Budget, the rising importance of renewable energy as an employer and an uncertain future for the nuclear industry following the tragic events in Japan, renewable energy has never been more in the spotlight and the report highlights the potential and the issues which are putting the brakes on its development.

The report sets out the case for a renewable energy future and a challenging vision for meeting 100% of the world’s energy needs by 2050.

“While the environmental, economic and social benefits of renewable energy are clear the path to broader adoption is challenging and requires considerable collaboration with, and commitment from, governments around the world,” said Mark Potter Head of Renewable energy for RSA. “Renewable energy is crucial if we are to meet our future energy needs while mitigating the impact of climate change.

“Over the last 30 years we have been key supporters of renewable energy from the first wind turbines in the 1970s to the pioneers of the future. As the industry continues to evolve both in terms of technological innovation and geographic diversity, insurers will need to play a key role in insuring a carbon free future.”

Nick Molho, Head of Energy Policy at WWF-UK, said: “Renewable energy can undoubtedly provide an overwhelming proportion of our global energy needs but it also makes sense for a number of economic and environmental reasons.

“By making energy efficiency and renewable energy key priorities of our future energy system, the world economy could save up to $4 trillion a year through reduced energy consumption and reduced fuel costs.

“This doesn’t even take into account the added value of job creation, reduced health costs, avoided impacts of climate change and the absence of having to manage high level radioactive waste that moving towards an energy efficient economy powered by renewables would provide.”

Mr Potter added: “These energy sources do to come without an element of risk. There is the question of the continued development of new technologies within the renewable energy sector and efficiencies and greater power is sought. These need to be fully understood by the underwriters if we are to accurately rate the risks. There is also the question of the often inhospitable areas of the world where some of these initiatives are sited and underwriters need to develop the expertise and knowledge base to make these risks attractive.