Handbook on Energy and Climate Change
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Handbook on Energy and Climate Change

Edited by Roger Fouquet

This timely Handbook reviews many key issues in the economics of energy and climate change, raising new questions and offering solutions that might help to minimize the threat of energy-induced climate change.
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Chapter 10: A renewable energy future?

Michael Jefferson


By 2008 the world’s dependence on the fossil fuels for its primary energy supply remained at 85 per cent, despite at least 20 years of appeals and purported action to reduce this dependence greatly as a matter of urgency. Also by 2008 renewable energy sources accounted for 12.9 per cent of primary energy supply. However, traditional biomass accounted for most of this, at 10.2 per cent. Of the remaining 2.7 percentage points, hydropower accounted for 2.3 per cent. This left all other forms of renewable energy accounting for just 0.4 per cent – of which wind energy accounted for 0.2 per cent; geothermal 0.1 per cent; direct solar energy also 0.1 per cent; and ocean energy 0.002 per cent. The contribution of renewable energy sources to world electricity supply in 2008 was more encouraging. Renewable energy contributed 19 per cent of supply, made up of: hydro electricity 16 per cent; 3 per cent other renewable sources. Traditional biomass contributed 17 per cent of the world’s demand for heating; modern biomass 8 per cent; solar thermal and geothermal each about 1 per cent, to make a total contribution of 27 per cent. Biofuels contributed 2 per cent of the world’s total road transport fuel supply.

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