Worldwatch Report #187: Sustainable Energy Roadmaps: Guiding the Global Shift to Domestic Renewables

by Alexander Ochs and Shakuntala Makhijan

ISBN: 978-187-8071-699 
Publication Date: March 2012
46 pages

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Worldwide, over 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity and another 1 billion have unreliable access, with enormous consequences for their everyday lives. In addition, many countries spend a high share of their GDP on fossil fuel imports, making them dependent on foreign energy supplies and vulnerable to price fluctuations. The burning of fossil fuels pollutes local environments, endangers the health of citizens, and exacerbates global climate change.

Fortunately, alternatives to our currently unsustainable energy system exist. Although progress has been slow on reaching a global agreement to address human-caused climate change, recent years have seen vast improvements in energy efficiency as well as unprecedented growth in renewable energy. Communities around the world are demonstrating the possibility of moving toward energy systems that are environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.

Worldwatch Institute’s Sustainable Energy Roadmaps provide decision makers with a comprehensive toolkit for transitioning to sustainable energy. Tailored to a region’s unique circumstances, they examine opportunities for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and grid technologies; explore technical barriers and opportunities; and analyze socioeconomic impacts, including job creation. The roadmaps can be applied in a wide variety of locations and at multiple levels of political organization,offeringa long-term vision for energy development as well as specific policy, governance, and financial steps that are critical to making the shift to sustainable energy a reality.

Among other issues, the report explores...

  • The unsustainability of the current energy system, and opportunities for improvements in energy efficiency and grid technologies;
  • The potential and limitations for renewable energy development, including issues of supply variability, grid integration, and distributed generation;
  • The socioeconomic impacts of the sustainable energy transition, including effects on job creation and energy pricing;
  • The existing legal, administrative, and financial frameworks for renewable energy development and investments;
  • A case study of how a preliminary Sustainable Energy Roadmap approach was applied to solar and wind energy development in the Dominican Republic.

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Read more about Worldwatch's Sustainable Energy Roadmaps.

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