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Synergies between renewable energy and energy efficiency: a working paper by IRENA

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This report starts with an overview of the latest insights from IRENA, with a focus on the role of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the decarbonization of the global energy system by 2050. It pays particular attention to the five largest energy-using countries of the G20, namely the People’s Republic of China, Germany, India, Japan and the United States, but it narrows its focus to 2030. Three primary cases are examined from 2010 (the base year of the analysis) to 2030: (1) a business-as-usual case (the Reference Case, which examines change predicted under current national plans), (2) an accelerated renewable uptake case and (3) a case that combines accelerated renewables with enhanced efficiency. Five conclusions are drawn from the analysis:

  • RE/EE measures can potentially achieve 90% of the carbon reductions required to limit global temperature rise to a maximum of 2°C above pre-industrial levels with a 66% probability, in line with the Paris Agreement goals;
  • All countries can benefit from important synergies between renewable energy and energy efficiency;
  • The cost-competitiveness of technologies varies by country, but the deployment of RE/EE technologies together results in overall savings to the energy system across all countries.
  • All countries have significant untapped and economically attractive RE/EE deployment potential, beyond that foreseen in national plans.
  • A greater understanding is needed of which countries and regions require which additional technologies to meet global climate and sustainability targets.