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How do we become 100 percent renewable?

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Energy production is a major source of global carbon dioxide emissions. Switching to renewable energy sources would result in significant reductions in emissions. A new report concludes that even though the necessary technology and infrastructure is available to increase the use of renewable energy, ineffective approaches and disapproving attitudes are still holding us back.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed that the most severe effects of global warming can be avoided if action is taken now. Air pollution is one of the largest challenges for cities across the world. Converting to renewable energy is highly effective in limiting additional temperature increases and improving air quality.

There are successful strategies and some countries have already adopted a large proportion of renewables in their energy mix, for example Costa Rica, Norway and Sweden. There isn’t a single country without some kind of renewable energy source available. So why is renewable energy not used to a higher degree – what is holding us back?

“Replacing fossil fuel energy sources with renewables is beneficial and cost-effective. But for a switch to renewables to occur faster, we need to find ways to change the perception of renewable energy. Technological solutions, such as energy storage, are also important ways to integrate renewables in the energy used for heating and transport,” advises Dr Tanja Groth, lead Energy Economist at Sweco UK.

Sweco’s Urban Insight Report The Limits to Renewable Energy analyses solutions needed to ensure that renewable energy sources fully can replace traditional energy systems for electricity, heating and transport. A whole systems approach to integrating renewable energy is needed, rather than relying on a sector-specific approach.

Urban Insight is based on a series of insight reports written by Sweco experts on various aspects of urban development from a citizen perspective. Read the report here.

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