Renewable energies

Energy Report 2011 banner
© Wild Wonders of Europe / Inaki Relanzon / WWF
Renewable energy is energy generated from natural sources: water, wind, solar, biomass or geothermal. WWF's work supports successful renewable and sustainable energy policies, projects and cooperation.
	© Bigger Picture
Heliosthana, a virtual island showing the way to a sustainable energy future.
© Bigger Picture
Heliosthana, a virtual island showing the way to a sustainable energy future.

Natural alternatives

As long a nature has the capacity to replenish them, renewable energy sources will always be available. And if applied correctly, they are essentially non-polluting.
Renewables play a key role in replacing the world's dependence on non-renewable, fossil-based energy sources, such as coal, oil and natural gas.

According to WWF's Climate Vision for 2050, if the right technologies are put in place, low-impact renewable energy sources could provide 70% of energy supplied globally.

Sourcing 100% of our energy from renewable sources is possible.

To achieve this, WWF supports:

  • Long-term, stable support policies
    Even though fossil fuels have benefitted hugely from government support throughout the last century, some renewable energy sources such as hydro, onshore wind and geothermal energy are very close to, and often even cheaper, than fossil or nuclear fuels. To realize this huge potential, we need to further develop new technologies and ambitious support schemes.
  • Grid development and renovation
    To make the most of our decentralized energy production, to cope with variable renewable energy sources, and to tap renewable energy sources where they are most available, our electricity grids need a serious overhaul. Changes to ageing grid and storage infrastructure will come at a cost and will need bold political and private sector backing, but the benefits will far outweigh the cost of inaction.
  • Large-scale, innovative projects
    Some promising technologies, such as concentrating solar power or offshore wind energy, are still more expensive than conventional fuels, but they have tremendous potential. Large-scale solar power projects in deserts and offshore wind parks at sea can bring costs down and deliver large quantities of renewable energy to people, while at the same time help curb global warming
  • Technology cooperation and support for developing countries
    While some countries like the US, EU, China and India are investing heavily in renewable energy, countries in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia have seen very little renewable energy development. Substantial amounts of additional funding needs to be provided by richer nations to poorer nations under mechanisms such as the Kyoto Protocol and UNFCCC agreements.
  • Integration of renewable energy and nature conservation
    The expansion of renewables will make a substantial contribution to reducing the environmental burdens associated with conventional energy supplies - it will reduce the use of  fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change. Renewable energy, however, should be developed with great care and should not threaten other nature conservation and biodiversity objectives.

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