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95% renewable electricity by 2050 possible, says Greenpeace

A major new report from environmental group Greenpeace says that existing technologies can provide 95% renewable electricity by 2050 without affecting economic growth.

The Energy [R]evolution also claims that this can be achieved while phasing out nuclear power and creating 12 million jobs by 2030 – a third more in the global power sector than if a ‘business as usual approach’ is continued.

The scenario modelled in the report proposes an investment system that shares costs fairly and would provide energy to two billion currently without access to a reliable supply.

Global CO2 emissions under the plan would peak in 2015 and then start falling, by 2050 emissions would be 80% lower than 1990 levels.

The Energy [R]evolution relies on a decentralised energy system, producing power and heat close to point of use to minimise energy wastage from conversion and distribution.

A supergrid, however, would be needed to transport large amounts of offshore wind and concentrating solar power to where it is needed.

Greenpeace proposes phasing out all subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power and setting mandatory targets for renewable energy and combined heat and power generation. Renewable generators would also be granted priority access to the grid.

Feed-in tariffs would be used to guarantee returns for investors and cap-and-trade emissions trading would be used to make the energy sector bear the brunt of energy production costs.

All energy-consuming appliances, buildings and vehicles would be subject to strict efficiency standards and better labelling would be required to inform consumers about the environmental performance of products.