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The Energy Technology Options Conferellce opened

with a presentation from Professor Thomas Johansson on


the prospects for renewable energy in a global context. It
Renewable Fuels and
was based upon a study commissioned by the United
Nations Solar Energy Group for Environment and Electricity for a
Development, which he chairs. This study has since been
published in a large book entitled Renewable Energy: Growing World
Sources for Fuels and Electricity; it contains reports by
specialists on a long list of renewable technologies (see
Table of Contents at the end of this paper). The presellt
Economy: Defining
paper consists of excerpts from Chapter 1 of that book,
reprinted here with permission of the publishers. (The and Achieving the
book may be obtained from Island Press, Box 7, Dept.
UN, Covelo, Colifomia, USA 95428, or by telephone: In Potential
the US 1-800-828-1302; From outside the US 707 983
6432; FAX 707 983 6414. ISBN 1-55963-139-2
(hardcover, US$85), ISBN 1-55963-138-4 (paperback,
US$45).) THOMAS B. JOHANSSON,
HENRY KELLY,
La conference sur Ies options technologiques en matiere AMULYA K.N. REDDY and
d' energie Sfest auverte par un expose du Professeur ROBERT H. WILLIAMS
Thomas Johansson sur Ies perspectives d'utilisation
d'energies renouvelables dans un contexte mondial. EIle
se Jande sur une etude commandee par l'organisation
United Nations Solar Energy Group for Environment
and Development, dont il est Ie president. Cette etude a Major Findings
ite publiee depuis, dans un volume important intitule
Renewable Energy: Sources for Fuel and Electricity; If the world economy expands to meet the
il contient des rapports de spedalistes reiatifs a une aspirations of countries around the globe,
longue liste de technologies renouvelables (voir la table
energy demand is likely to increase even if
des matieres a la fin de 1'article). Le present article est
compose d'extraits du chapitre 1 de ce livre, que nous
strenuous efforts are made to increase the
reproduisons iei avec la permission de l'editeur. On peut efficiency of energy use. Given adequate
se procurer ce livre aupres de Island Press, Box 7, Dept. support, renewable energy technologies can
UN, Covelo, Califomia, USA 95428, au par telephone: meet much of the growing demand at prices
USA 1-800-828-1302; en dehors des USA 707983 6432; lower than those usually forecast for conven-
Facsimile 707 983 6414. ISBN 1-55963-139-2 (relie, tional energy. By the middle of the 21st cen-
U5$85) ISBN 1-55963-138-4 (livre de poche, US$45). tury, renewable sources of energy could
account for three-fifths of the world's electric-
ity market (see Figure 1) and two-fifths of the
market for fuels used directly (see Figure 2).
Thomas Johansson is professor of Energy Systems
Moreover, making a transition to a renew-
Analysis in the Department of Environment and ables-intensive energy economy would pro-
Energy Systems at the University of Lund in vide environmental and other benefits not
Sweden. Henry Kelly is senior associate at the Office measured in standard economic accounts (see
of Technology Assessment of the US Congress. Box A). For example, by 2050 global carbon
Arnulya K.N. Reddy is founding director and presi- dioxide (CO,) emissions would be reduced to
dent of the International Energy Initiative in Banga- 75% of their 1985 levels provided that energy
lore, India. Robert H. Williams is senior research efficiency and renewables are both pursued
scientist at the Center for Energy and Environ- aggressively (see Figures 3a and 3b). And
mental Studies, Princeton University. because renewable energy is expected to be

Energy Studies Review VoL 4, No.3, 1992 Printed in Canada 201


40,000 300-..

30,000
~ 200

~
20,000

1100
10,000

o
1985 2025 2050
1985 2025 2050
Year Year

• Coal II Oil
_Coal Gill Oil 0 Gas [J Nuclear
B Hydro lS§ Biomass [J IrIte,miltem rerIewables arId geothermal
Figure 2: Direct Fuel-Use for the Renewables-Inten-
sive Global Energy Scenario
Figure 1: Electricity Generation for the Renew-
ables-Intensive Global Energy Scenario In the global energy demand scenario adopted for this
study, the use offuels for purposes other than electricity
Renev.Jables can play major roles in the global energy generation will grow by less than one-third, much less
economy in the decades ahead. In the global energy than the generation of electricity (compare this figure
demand scenario adopted for this study, global with figure 1). The renewables contribution to fuels
electrictty production would more than double by 2025, used directly could reach nearly onefourth by 2025 and
and more than triple by 2050. The share of renewable two-fifths by 2050, with most of the contribution
energy generation would increase from 20% in 1985 coming from biomass-derived fuels - methanol,
(mostly hydroelectric power) to about 60% in 2025, ethanol, hydrogen, and biogas. Methanol and hydrogen
with roughly comparable contributions from may well prove to be the biojuels of choice, because they
hydropower, intermittent renev.Jables (wind and direct are the energy carriers most easily used in the juel cells
solar power), and biomass. TIle contribution of intermit- that would be used for transportation.
tent renewables could be as high as 30% by the middle
of the next century.
tems have benefited from developments in
A high rate of penetration by intermittent renewables
electronics, biotechnology, materials sciences,
without electrical storage would be facilitated by
emphasis on advanced natural gas-fired gas turbine and in other energy areas. For example,
power generating systems. Such power generating sys- advances in jet engines for military and civilian
tems - characterized by low capital cost, high thermo- aircraft applications, and in coal gasification
dynamic efficiency, and the flexibility to vary electrical for reducing air pollution from coal combus-
output quickly in response to changes in the autput ofintermit- tion, have made it possible to produce electric-
tent power-generating systems - would make it poss- ity competitively using gas turbines derived
ible to "back up" the intermittent renewables at low from jet engines and fired with gasified
cost, with little, if any, need for electrical storage. For biomass.! And fuel cells developed originally
the scenario developed here, the share of natural gas in for the space program have opened the door to
power generation nearly doubles by 2025, from its 12% the use of hydrogen as a non-polluting fuel for
share in 1985.

1/ In this study, the term "biomass" refers to any


competitive with conventional energy, such
plant matter used directly as fuel or converted into
benefits could be achieved at no additional fluid fuels or electricity. Sources of biomass are
cost. diverse and include the wastes of agricultural and
This auspicious outlook for renewables forest-product operations as well as wood, sugar-
reflects impressive technical gains made dur- cane, and other plants grown specifically as energy
ing the past decade. Renewable energy sys- crops.

202
Box A: Benefits of Renewable Energy not Captured in Standard Economic Accounts

Social and economic development: Production dioxide released when biomass is, burned equals
of renewable energy, particularly. biomass, can the amount absorbed from the atmosphere by
provide economic development and employment plants as they are grown for biomass fuel.
opportunities, especially in rural areas, that
otherwise have limited opport1.mities for econ- Fuel supply diversity: There would be substan-
mnic growth. Renewable energy can thus help tial interregional energy trade in a renewables--
reduce poverty in rural areas and reduce pres- intensive energy future, involving a diversity of
sures for urban migration, energy carriers and suppliers. Energy importers
would be able to choose from among more pro-
Land restoration: Growing biomass for energy on ducers and fuel types than they do today and
degraded lands can provide the incentives and thus would be less vulnerable to monopoly price
financing needed to restore lands rendered nearly manipulation or unexpected disruptions of sup-
useless by previous agricultural or forestry prac- plies. Such competition would make wide swings
tices. Although lands farmed for energy would in energy prices less likely, leading eventually to
not be restored to their original condition, the stabilization of the world oil price. The growth in
recovery of these lands for biomass plantations world energy trade would also provide new
would support rural development, prevent ero- opportunities for energy suppliers. Especially
sion, and provide a better habitat for wildlife promising are the prospects for trade in alcohol
than at present. fuels such as methanol derived from biomass,
natural gas (not a renewable fuel but an import-
Reduced air pollution: Renewable energy tech- ant complement to renewables), and, later, hy-
nologies, such as methanol or hydrogen for fuel-- drogen.
cell vehicles, produce virtually none of the
emissions associated with urban air pollution and Reducing the risks of nuclear weapons prolifer-
acid deposition, without the need for costly addi- ation: Competitive renewable resources could
tional controls. reduce incentives to build a large world infra-
structure in support of nuclear energy, thus a-
Abatement of global warming: Renewable voiding major increases in the production, trans-
energy use does not produce carbon dioxide and portation, and storage of plutonium and other
other greenhouse emissions that contribute to nuclear materials that could be diverted to
global warming. Even the use of biomass fuels nuclear weapons production.
will not contribute to global warming: the carbon

transportation. Indeed, many of the most tate cost reduction. The small scale of the
promising options described in our book are equipment also makes the time required from
the result of advances made in areas not direct- initial design to operation short, so that needed
ly related to renewable energy, and were improvements can be identified by field testing
scarcely considered a decade ago. and quickly incorporated into modified
Moreover, because the size of most renew- designs. In this way, many generations of
able· energy equipment is small, renewable technology can be introduced in short periods.
energy technologies can advance at a faster
pace than conventional technologies. While Key Elements ofa Renwables-Intensive Energy
large energy facilities require extensive con- Future
struction in the field, where labor is costly and
productivity gains difficult to achieve, most An energy future making intensive use of
renewable energy equipment can be con- renewable resources is likely to have the fol-
structed in factories, where it is easier to apply lowing key characteristics:
modern manufacturing techniques that facili- . There would be a diversity of energy sources,

203
8000 Ind '" industrialized countries
Ind '" mdustriallzed cour1\f;es
Dev", developing countries

~
Dev = developing countries
'"'
1,
World
~ 6,000
0
0

5'0
~
0
B
0 2,000
~
~

0
1985 2025 2050
1985 2025 2050
Year
Year

IBl' 0
• Coal II Oil o Gas
• Coal Oil Gas

Figure 3a: Emissions of CO2 for the Renewables- Figure 3b: Per Capita Emissions of CO, for the
Intensive Global Energy Scenario, by World Region Renewables-Intensive Global Energy Scenario.. by
World Region
Global CO, emissions from the burning of fossil fuels
associated with the renewables-intensive global energy Global CO2 emissions per capita associated with the
scenario would be reduced 12% by 2025 and 26% by renewables-intensive global energy scenario would be
2050. reduced nearly in half by 2025 and by more than
three-fifths by 2050.
During this period, the CO, emissions from the
industrialized countries (including former centrally Despite the rising relative contribution of developing
planned Europe) would be reduced nearly in half by countries to total global CO, emissions (see figure 3a),
2025 and nearly two-thirds by 2050. The industrialized per capita emissions of developing countries in 2050
country share of total worldwide emissions would would still be only one-third of those for industrialized
dedim from about three-fourths in 1985 to about countries.
two-fifths in 2025 to about one-third in 2050.
resources as hydropower and biomass, which
the relative abundance of which would vary are limited by environmental or land use
from region to region. Electricity could be constraints.
provided by various combinations of Biomass would be widely used. Biomass
hydroelectric power, intermittent renewable would be grown sustainably and converted
power sources (wind, solar-thermal electric, efficiently to electricity and liquid and
and photovoltaic power), biomass power, gaseous fuels using modern technology, in
and geothermal power. Fuels could be contrast to the present situation, where
provided by methanol, ethanol, hydrogen, biomass is used inefficiently and sometimes
and methane (biogas) derived from biomass, contributes to deforestation.
supplemented by hydrogen derived . Intermittent renewables would provide as
electrolytically from intermittent renewables. much as one-third of total electricity re-
Emphasis would be given to the efficient use quirements cost-effectively in most regions,
of both renewable and conventional energy without the need for new electrical storage
supplies, in all sectors. Emphasis on efficient technologies.
energy use facilitates the introduction of . Natural gas would play a major role in
energy carriers such as methanol and supporting the growth of a renewable energy
hydrogen. It also makes it possible to extract industry. Natural gas-fired turbines, which
more useful energy from such renewable have low capital costs and can quickly adjust

204
their electrical output, can provide excellent features of the scenario are presented in Fig-
back-up for intermittent renewables on ures 1 to 4. Separate detailed scenarios were
electric power grids. Natural gas would also constructed for 11 world regions (see
help launch a biomass-based methanol Johansson et ai, 1993, Appendix).'
industry; methanol might well be introduced In constructing the scenario, it was assumed
using natural gas feedstocks before the shift that renewable energy technologies will cap-
to methanol derived from biomass occurs. ture markets whenever (1) a plausible case can
A renewables-intensive energy future would be made that renewable energy is no more
introduce new choices and competition in expensive on a life-cycle cost basis than con-
energy markets. Growing trade in renewable ventional alternatives,' and (2) the use of re-
fuels and natural gas would diversify the mix newable technologies at the levels indicated
of suppliers and the products traded (see will not create significant environmental, land
Figure 4), which would increase competition use, or other problems. The economic analysis
and reduce the likelihood of rapid price did not take into account any credits for the
fluctuations and supply disruptions. It could external benefits of renewables listed in Box A.
also lead eventually to a stabilization of
world energy prices. In addition, new Energy Demand
opportunities for energy suppliers would be
created. Especially promising are prospects The market for renewable energy depends in
for trade in alcohol fuels, such as methanol part on the future demand for energy services:
derived from biomass. Land-rich countries in heating and cooling, lighting; transportation,
sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America could and so on. This demand, in tum, depends on
become major alcohol fuel exporters. economic and population growth and on the
Most electricity produced from renewable efficiency of energy use. Future energy supply
sources would be fed into large electrical requirements can be estimated by taking such
grids and marketed by electric utilities. considerations into account. For the construc-
Liquid and gaseous fuels would be marketed tion of the renewables-intensive energy sce-
much as oil and natural gas are today. Large nario, future levels of demand for electricity
oil companies could become the principal and for solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels were
marketers; some might also become assumed to be the same as those projected in a
producers, perhaps in joint ventures with scenario by the Response Strategies Working
agricultural or forest-product industry firms. Group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Cli-
The levels of renewable energy development mate Change.
indicated by this scenario represent a tiny The Working Group developed several
fraction of the technical potential for projections of energy demand. The one
renewable energy. Higher levels might be
pursued, for example, if society should seek 2/ See "An Agenda for Action" in Chapter 1 of
greater reductions in CO2 emissions. Johansson et al (1992) pp. 43-63.
3/ The regions are Africa; Latin America, South
Constructing a Renewables-Intensive and East Asia, Centrally Planned Asia, Japan, Aus-
Global Energy Scenario tralia/New Zealand, United States, Canada, OECD
Europe, former Centrally Planned Europe, and the
Our findings are based on a renewables- Middle East.
intensive global energy scenario which we
4/ AssumptiOns about the cost and performance of
developed in order to identify the potential
future renewable energy equipment are based on
markets for renewable technologies in the detailed analyses of technologies in Chapters 2-22
years 2025 and 2050, assuming that market of Johansson et al. For a list of these chapters, see
barriers to these technologies are removed by the Table of Contents reprinted at the end of this
comprehensive national policies.' Some global paper.

205
1M = imports
EX = exports

10

o Oil Gas Oil MeOH Gas Oil '"


MeOH Gas

1985 2025 2050

~ Canada ~ Former centrally planned Europe

~ Africa ~ South and East Asia


~ Latin America ~ Centrally planned Asia

III Middle East ~ OEeD except Canada

Figure 4: Interregional Flows of Fuels for the Renewables-Intensive Global Energy Scenario
The importance of world energy commerce for the renewables-intensive global energy scenario is illustrated here.
This figure shows that in the second quarter of the next century there would be comparable interregional flows of
oil, natural gas, and methanol- and that hydrogen derived from renewable energy sources begins to playa role in
energy commerce. This diversified supply mix is in sharp contrast to the situation today, where oil dominates
international commerce in liquid and gaseous fuels.
Most methanol exports would originate in sub-Saharan Africa and in Latin America, where there are vast degraded
areas suitable for revegetation that will not be needed for cropland. Growing biomass on such lands for methanol or
hydrogen production would provide a powerful economic driver for restoring these lands. Solar-electric hydrogen
exports would come from regions in North Africa and the Middle East that have good insolation.

adopted for the renewables-intensive scenario policies scenario are consistent with the objec-
is characterized by "high economic growth" tives of the renewables-intensive scenario.
and "accelerated policies" (see Figure 5). The The high economic growth, accelerated-
accelerated policies case was designed to de- policies scenario projects a doubling of world
monstrate the effect of policies that would populatiC'n and an eight-fold increase in gross
stimulate the adoption of energy-efficient world economic product between 1985 and
technologies, without restricting economic 2050. Economic growth rates are assumed to be
growth. Because renewable teclmologies are higher for developing countries than for those
unlikely to succeed unless they are part of a already industrialized. Energy demand grows
program designed to minimize the overall cost more slowly than economic output, because of
of providing energy services, the energy-effici- the accelerated adoption of energy-efficient
ency assumptions underlying the accelerated teclmologies, but demand growth outpaces

206
Direct fuel use Electricity consumption

HE
500 r 50,000
~

" 400
Q; 40,000 coL.
""
'iJ
"'- 300
~
30,000 L.
Q)
-" Q
~
OJ 200 20,000
0

'iii" 100 10,000


~
0
1985 2025 2050 1985 2025 2050
Year Year

• Solid • Liquid 0 Gas HE


AP
= high emissions
= accelerated policies

Figure 5: Alternative Global Energy Scenarios Developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change
The two altemative scenarios for the direct use of fuels (left) and electricity consumption (right! shown here were
developed by the Response Strategies Working Group (RSWG) of the Intergovemmental Panel on Climate Change
([PCC), as a contribution to that group's assessment of strategies for responding to the prospect of climatic change
arising from the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Both scenarios are characterized by high economic
growth. The lower energJj dernand scenario provides the basis for developing the renewables-intensive global energy
supply scenario in the present study. For details see the appendix to chapter 1 in Johansson et aI, 1993.

efficiency improvements - especially in rapid- Energy Resources


ly growing developing countries. World
demand for fuel (excluding fuel for generating Construction of a global energy supply sce-
electricity) is projected to increase 30% nario must be consistent with energy resource
between 1985 and 2050 and demand for elec- endowments and various practical constraints
tricity 265% (see figure 5). on the recovery of these resources.
The Working Group's assumptions about
energy efficiency gains are ambitious; nonethe- 5/ For example, per capita energy use in OECD
less cost-effective efficiency improvements Europe is presently about 20% less than in Eastern
greater than those in the scenario are technical- Europe and the former Soviet Union. In the accelerated-
policies scenario, per capita energy demand
ly feasible, and new policies can help speed
declines in OECD Europe and increases 60% by
their adoption. Structural shifts to less energy- 2050 in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet
intensive economic activities may also reduce Union. In light of the rapid economic and political
the energy needs of modem economies below changes now under way, it is doubtful that these
those projected" two regions will take such divergent paths.

207
RENEWABLE ENERGY biomass supply would come from forests
that are now routinely harvested for lumber,
In the renewables-intensive energy scenario, paper, or fuel wood. Production from these
global consumption of renewable resources forests can be made fully sustainable -
reaches a level equivalent to 318 exajoules per although some of these forests are not well
year of fossil fuels by 2050 - a rate compar- managed today.
able to total present world energy consump- Although wind resources are enormous, the
tion. Though large, this rate of production use of wind equipment will be substantially
involves using less than 0.01% of the 3.8 mil- constrained in some regions by land-use
lion exajoules of solar energy reaching the restrictions - particularly where population
earth's· surface each year. The total electric densities are high. In the scenario, substantial
energy produced from intermittent renewable development of wind power takes place in
sources (some 34 exajoules per year (EJ/yr)) the Great Plains of the United States (where
would be less than 0.003% of the sunlight that most of the country's wind resources are
falls on land and less than 0.1% of the energy found), while in Europe the level of
available in the winds. Moreover, the electric development is limited because of "severe
energy that would be recovered from hydro- land-use constraints" (Chapter 4).
power resources, some 17 EJ/yr by 2050, is The amounts of wind, solar-thermal, and
small relative to the 130 to 160 EJ/yr that are photovoltaic power that can be economically
theoretically recoverable (Chapter 2).6 The integrated into electric generating systems
amount of energy targeted for recovery from are very sensitive to patterns of electricity
biomass, 206 exajoules per year by 2050, is also demand as well as weather conditions. The
small compared with the rate (3,800 EJ/yr) at marginal value of these so-called intermittent
which plants convert solar energy to biomass electricity sources typically declines as their
(Chapter 14). share of the total electric market increases.
The production levels considered are there- Analysis of these interactions suggests that
fore not likely to be constrained by resource intermittent electric generators can provide
availability. A number of other practical con- 25 to 35% of the total electricity supply in
siderations, however, do limit the renewable most parts of the world (Chapter 23). Some
resources that can be used. The scenario was regions would emphasize wind, while others
constructed subject to the following restric- would find photovoltaic or solar-thermal
tions: electric systems more attractive. On average,
Biomass must be produced sustainably/ with Europe is a comparatively poor location for
none harvested from virgin forests. Some intermittent power generation, so that the
62% of the biomass supply would come from penetration of intermittent renewabies there
plantations established on degraded lands or, is limited to 14% in 2025 and 18% in 2050.
in industrialized countries, on excess Although the exploitable hydroelectric
agricultural lands. Another 32% would come potential is large, especially in developing
from residues of agricultural or forestry countries (Chapter 2), and hydropower is an
operations. Some residues must be left excellent complement to intermittent electric
behind to maintain soil quality or for sources, the development of hydropower will
economic reasons; three-fourths of the energy be constrained by environmental and social
in urban refuse and lumber and pulpwood concerns - particularly for projects that
residues, one-half of residues from ongoing would flood large areas. Because of these
logging operations, one-fourth of the dung
produced by livestock, one-fourth of the 6/ Chapter references refer to Johansson et al
residues from cereals, and about two-thirds (1993). See the Table of Contents at the end of this
of the residues from sugar cane are recovered paper.
in the scenario. The remaining 6% of the 7/ See Johansson et a1 (1993), p. 13 and Chapter 14.

208
constraints, it is assumed that only a fraction gions' gas resources will remain in 2050. In
of potential sites would be exploited, with aggregate, gas production outside the Middle
most growth occurring in developing East would increase slowly, from 62 EJ/yr in
countries. Worldwide, only one-fourth of the 1985 to 75 EJ in 2050. But in the Middle East,
technical potential, as estimated by the World where gas resources are enormous and largely
Energy Conference, would be exploited in unexploited, production would expand more
the scenario by 2050. Total hydroelectric than 12-fold, to 33 EJ/ yr in 2050. Globally,
production in the United States, Canada, and about half the conventional gas resources
OECD Europe would increase by only one- would remain in 2050.
third between 1985 and 2050, and some of the The renewables-intensive scenario was
increase would result from efficiency gains developed for future fuel prices that are sig-
achieved by retrofitting existing installations. nificantly lower than those used in most long-
term energy forecasts. It is expected that in the
CONVENTIONAL FUELS decades ahead the world oil price would rise
only modestly and the price of natural gas
By making efficient use of energy and expand- would approach the oil price (which implies
ing the use of renewable teclmologies, the that the gas price paid by electric utilities
world can expect to have adequate supplies of would roughly double). There are two primary
fossil fuels well into the 21st century. How- reasons for expecting relatively modest energy
ever, :in some instances regional declines in price increases: first, overall demand for fuels
fossil fuel production can be expected because would grow comparatively slowly between
of resource constraints. 1985 and 2050 because of assumed increases in
Oil production outside the Middle East the efficiency of energy use; and second, re-
would decline slowly under the renewables- newable fuels could probably be produced at
intensive scenario, so that one-third of the esti- costs that would make them competitive with
mated ultimately recoverable conventional petroleum at oil prices not much higher than at
resources will remain in the ground in 2050. As present.
a result, non-Middle Eastern oil production
would drop from 103 EJ/yr in 1985 to 31 EJ/yr Public Policy Issues
in 2050. To meet the demand for liquid fuels
that cannot be met by renewables, oil produc- A renewables-intensive global energy future is
tion is assumed to increase in the Middle East, technically feasible, and the prospects are
from 24 EJ/yr in 1985 to 34 EJ/yr in 2050. Total excellent that a wide range of new renewable
world conventional oil resources would energy teclmologies will become fully competi-
decline from about 9,900 EJ in 1988 to 4,300 EJ tive with conventional sources of energy
in 2050. during the next several decades. Yet the transi-
Although remaining conventional natural tion to renewables will not occur at the pace
gas resources are comparable to those for con- envisaged if existing market conditions remain
ventional oil, gas is presently produced global- unchanged. Private companies are unlikely to
ly at just half the rate for oil. With adequate make the investments necessary to develop
investment in pipelines and other infrastruc- renewable teclmologies because the benefits
ture components, gas could be a major energy are distant and not easily captured by individ-
source for many years. In the decades ahead, ual firms. Moreover, private firms will not
substantial increases in gas production are invest in large volumes of commercially avail-
feasible for all regions of the world except for able renewable energy teclmologies because
the United States and OECD Europe. For the renewable energy costs will usually not be
United States and OECD Europe, where significantly lower than the costs of conven-
resources are more limited, production would tional energy. And finally, the private sector
decline slowly, so that one-third of these re- will not invest in commercially available

209
technologies to the extent justified by the development and demonstration of renew-
external benefits (e.g., a stabilized world oil able energy technologies should be increased
price or reduced greenhouse-gas emissions) to reflect the critical roles renewable energy
that would arise from their widespread de- technologies can play in meeting energy,
ployment. If these problems are not addressed, developmental, and environmental
renewable energy will enter the market rela- objectives. This should be carried out in close
tively slowly. cooperation with the private sector.
Fortunately, the poliCies needed to achieve Government regulations of electric utilities
the twin goals of increasing efficiency and should be carefully reviewed to ensure that
expanding markets for renewable energy are investments in new generating equipment
fully consistent with programs needed to en- are consistent with a renewables-intensive
courage innovation and productivity growth future and that utilities are involved in
throughout the economy. Given the right pol- programs to demonstrate new renewable
icy environment, energy industries will adopt energy technologies in their service terri-
innovations, driven by the same competitive tories.
pressures that have revitalized other major Policies designed to encourage the devel-
manufacturing businesses around the world. opment of a biofuels industry must be closely
Electric utilities will have to shift from being coordinated with both national agricultural
protected monopolies enjoying economies- development programs and efforts to restore
of-scale in large generating plants to being degraded lands.
competitive managers of investment portfolios National institutions should be created or
that combine a diverse set of technologies, strengthened to implement renewable energy
ranging from advanced generation, transmis- programs.
sion, distribution, and storage equipment to International development funds available
efficient energy-using devices on customers' for the energy sector should be directed
premises. Automobile and truck manufactur- increasingly to renewables.
ers, and the businesses that supply fuels for . A strong international institution should be
these vehicles, will need to develop entirely created to assist and coordinate national and
new products. A range of new fuel and vehicle regional programs for increased use of
types, including fuel-cell vehicles powered by renewables, to support the assessment of
alcohol or hydrogen, are likely to play major energy options, and to support centers of
roles in transportation in the next century. excellence in specialized areas of renewable
Capturing the potential for renewabIes energy research.
requires new policy iritiatives. The following There are many ways such policies could
policy iritiatives are proposed to encourage be implemented. The preferred policy instru-
innovation and investment in renewable tech- ments will vary with the level of the iritiative
nologies: (local, national, or international) and with the
. Subsidies that artificially reduce the price of region. On a regional level, the preferred
fuels that compete with renewables should options will reflect differences in endowments
be removed; if existing subsidies cannot be of renewable resources, stages of economic
removed for political reasons, renewable development, and cultural characteristics.
energy technologies should be given The integrating theme for all such iritia-
equivalent incentives. tives, however, should be an energy policy
Taxes, regulations, and other policy instru- atmed at promoting sustainable development.
ments should ensure that consumer decisions It will not be possible to prOVide the energy
are based on the full cost of energy, including needed to bring a decent standard of living to
environmental and other external costs not the world's poor or to sustain the economic
reflected in market prices. well-being of the industrialized countries in
. Government support for research on and enVironmentally acceptable ways, if the pres-

210
ent energy course continues. The path to a able energy can make in addressing this chal-
sustainable society requires more efficient lenge. It provides a strong case that carefully
energy use and a shift to a variety of renewable crafted policies can provide a powerful impe-
energy sources. tus to the development and widespread use of
While not all renewables are inherently renewable energy technologies and can lead
clean, there is such a diversity of choices that a ultimately to a world that meets critical socio-
sMtto renewables carried out in the context of economic, developmental and environmental
sustainable development could provide a far objectives.
cleaner energy system than would be feasible
by tightening controls on conventional energy. References
The central challenge to policymakers in
the decades ahead is to frame economic poli- Johansson, Thomas B., Henry Kelly, Amulya
cies that simultaneously satisfy both socio- K.N. Reddy & Robert H. Williams (Editors)
economic developmental and environmental (1993) Renewable Energy: Sources for Fuels and
challenges. The analysis in our book demon- Electricity (Washington, DC & Covelo,
strates the enormous contribution that renew- California: Island Press) pp. 1160.

As a service to readers interested in the details of renewable technologies, the Table of Contents of the
above book is reproduced below.

Renewable Energy Sources for Fuels and Electricity

1 Renewable Fuels and Electricity for a Growing World Economy: Defining and Achieving
the Potential
Thomas B. Johansson, Henry Kelly, Amulya KN. Reddy and Robert H. Williams

Z Hydropower and Its Constraints


Jose Roberto Moreira and Alan Douglas Poole

3 Wind Energy: Technology and Economics


Alfred J. Cavallo, Susan M. Hock and Don R. Smith

4 Wind Energy: Resources, Systems and Regional Strategies


Michael J. Grubb and Niels 1. Meyer

5 Solar-thermal Electric Technology


Pascal De Laquill III, David Kearney, Michael Geyer and Richard Diver

6 Introduction to Photovoltaic Technology


Henry Kelly

7 Crystalline- and Polycrystalline-silicon Solar Cells


Martin A. Green

8 Photovoltaic Concentrator Technology


Eldon C. Boes and Antonio Luque

211
9 Amorphous Silicon Photovoltaic Systems
David E. Carlson and Sigurd Wagner

10 Polycrystalline Thin-film Photovoltaics


Ken Zweibel and Allen M. Barnett

11 Utility Field Experience with Photovoltaic Systems


Kay Firor, Roberto Vigotti and Joseph J. Iannucci

12 Ocean Energy Systems


James E. Cavanagh, John H. Clarke and Roger Price

13 Geothermal Energy
Civis G. Palmerini

14 Biomass for Energy. Supply Prospects


David O. Hall, Frank Rosillo-Calle, Robert H. Williams and Jeremy Woods

15 Bioenergy. Direct Applications in Cooking


Gautam S. Dutt and N.H. Ravindranath

16 Open-top Wood Gasifiers


H.S. Mukunda, S. Dasappa and U. Shrinivasa

17 Advanced Gasification-based Biomass Power Generation


Robert H. Williams and Eric D. Larson

18 Biogas Electricity-the Pura Village Case Study


P. Rajabapaiah, S. Jayakumar and Amulya K.N. Reddy

19 Anaerobic Digestion for Energy Production and Environmental Protection


Gatze Lettinga and Adrian C. van Haandel

20 The Brazilian Fuel-alcohol Program


Jose Goldemberg, Lourival C. Monaco and Isaias C. Macedo

21 Ethanol and Methanol from Cellulosic Biomass


Charles E. Wyman, Richard L. Bain, Norman D. Hinman and Don. J. Stevens

22 Solar Hydrogen
Joan M. Ogden and Joachim Nitsch

23 Utility Strategies for Using Renewables


Henry Kelly and Carl J. Weinberg

212