Regional potential of renewable energy sources and their role in the future energy system
09 / 1999 - 03 / 2004
The renewable energy sources solar, wind and biomass energy have an enormous resource potential. Nowadays, they have not been fully developed to a commercial stage and they play a minor role in total world-wide energy supply. However, renewable energy is available in large resources, which can be exploited with a much lower environmental impact than fossil fuels. Renewable energy technology has shown an enormous progress in the last decade and the development is continuing. In the long term, renewable energy is seen as the major energy production source in many studies, by e.g. the World Bank, IPCC, IEA, UN, Shell and the WEC. However, figures about the availability of these resources and about their development potential as presented in these studies are based on 'educated guesses' only. The UN Committee on New and Renewable Sources of Energy and on Energy for Development recommends in a recent study 'a global initiative to set up a combined program to achieve detailed mapping of the potential of renewable energy sources'. Aim: This research will focus on the long-term system-dynamic assessment of renewable energy in the future global energy supply. The first part consists of assessing the potential of renewable energy sources and conversion technologies. For each renewable energy source, a general methodology for the assessment will be developed on the basis of existing potential studies. Next, this will be translated into model structures and implemented in TIMER, which is a global energy model developed at RIVM. Finally, scenario experiments will be performed with the improved model, focusing on the potential of renewable energy within the total energy supply system.