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INFORSE Sustainable Energy Vision 2050. Denmark (2014)
A proposal to achieve a sustainable energy system following environmental and social imperatives.
The INFORSE Sustainable Energy Vision shows how it is possible to achieve 100 % Renewable energy supply in the world, in EU and different countries.

News: 2014 March
New Visions for Denmark

Update: 2011
- Vision Denmark - 2030 !

- Vision EU 2040

See Overview of all Visions

Material input at CSD9 - 2000:
Input from the International Network for Sustainable Energy (INFORSE) for the UN Secretary General report on energy for CSD9.

Based on Version of 8/11 2000

The current world energy system is far beyond the environmental limits of human development. The current level of energy-related pollution cannot be sustained without serious damage of the worlds climate and nature. Our energy use is also depleting the natural resources at a rate that makes it impossible for our children, not to speak about grandchildren, to use the same consumption-pattern as we do, simply because some of the resources will be consumed. In spite of our unsustainable consumption rate, the current energy system does not provide basic energy needs as light and healthy cooking facilities to 1/4 of the world's population.

The coming 50 years will be crucial for the change of the worlds energy system to a system that does not harm the worlds environment and that fulfils everybody's energy needs. We have better technologies than ever before to use energy efficiently, and to use the worlds renewable energy resources without harming the environment. If firm policies are established, nationally and internationally, it is possible to reach a sustainable development of the worlds energy system in the coming 5 decades. Also, it is possible to do it without large economic sacrifices since development reduces prices of new technologies and increases economic benefits. Thus, we can in 50 years be well on our way to a world where energy services, necessary for a just and human centred development, are provided in a sustainable way using renewable energy.

In INFORSE, we are developing a scenario and a vision of how to achieve a sustainable development of the energy system within 50 years. As part of this we limit man-made greenhouse gas emissions in the 21st century to a sustainable level, and we provide adequate energy services for all. Compared with the ecologically driven scenarios presented in the World Energy Assessment, we propose a faster greenhouse gas reduction, in particular for the first decades to come. This will require higher investments, but also faster price reductions of high-efficiency and renewable-energy technologies as these technologies climb down learning-curves. It will also reduce the demand for fossil fuels, thus reducing the frequency and severeness of future oil crisis.

The overall aim of our work is to urge governments, international organisations, companies and others to go for massive reductions of greenhouse gas emissions within 50 years (until 2050) and to phase out nuclear power. This is a development. Fulfilment of the goal is only dependant on our political will and decisions. It requires a shift of policies and research and development funds towards energy efficiency and renewable energy use. It also requires an unparalleled international co-operation to develop and disseminate the new technologies.

The Environmental Imperative.
If we can keep global warming below 1C within the coming century, and we can return the rate of warming to below 0.1C per decade within the next two-three decades, we should be able to reduce the speed of climate change to a level that the nature can adapt to. To do this, we have to limit greenhouse gas reductions drastically. If we limit global CO2 to 225 Gt of Carbon within the within the 21st century, it should be possible to keep the atmospheric CO2 content below 350 ppmv., and to keep climate change within a range that nature can adapt to in general.
We should also minimise other dangers of energy supply, including the hazards of nuclear power plants and their waste. Thus, nuclear power should be phased out.

The Social Imperative.
To give equal access to energy services for all, and to fuel the developing countries economies, we must change the current unjust consumption pattern, where 1/4 of the population consumes more than 60% of the energy and 1/4 lacks basic energy needs. This will require rapid reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions in the industrialised countries, and in the beginning, a growth in the developing countries emissions.
In addition to an equal distribution of resources and emissions, a special emphasis must be directed towards the 1/4 of the global population that lacks basic energy needs. There is a need for a worldwide campaign to give basic energy services to all: affordable and clean light, cooking and heating in the homes as well as for public service and business.

Sharp GHG Reductions, -a realistic development?
Several scenarios have shown how it would possible to cover 50% or more of the world?s energy demand with renewable energy by 2050, reducing CO2 emissions and providing adequate energy services to all at the same time. Even the large oil company Shell has published a scenario in 1994 (Shell94), showing how 50% of the energy consumption could be covered by renewable energy by 2050. Because of a large expected growth of energy-service demand and less development of energy efficiency, global CO2 emissions will grow by 50% with increasing fossil fuel use, according to this Shell scenario. In the WEC-IIASA Ecologically Driven, New Renewable Energy Scenario (IIASA95), renewable energy use is foreseen to grow to about 60% of world energy supply by 2050, while global CO2 emissions will be reduced to 80% of the present level. The scenario also includes a redistribution of energy supply towards the developing countries and fulfilment of basic energy services for all.
From independent researchers, several proposals exist with faster CO2 reductions. Prof. Bent Sørensen et al. published in 1998: A Global Renewable Energy Scenario (RUC98) on how to supply the world with 100% renewable energy by 2050, and accordingly a 100% reduction of energy-related CO2 emissions. A development following that scenario would be in line with the limitation of global CO2 emissions to 225 Gt of Carbon in the 21st century.

Regarding the economy of changes to renewable-energy and energy-efficient energy use, a massive introduction of new technologies will lead to massive reductions of costs for the new technologies. For specific renewable-energy and energy-efficiency technologies it has been estimated that they would be able to compete with fossil fuels within 25 years under average conditions, if developed vigorously (e.g. large-scale windpower could be cost-effective within 10 years, photovoltaic in 15-25 years, biomass for cogeneration of heat and electricity in 10-20 years, efficient appliances and lighting in 0-5 years; all compared with fossil fuels without environmental costs) (INFORSE2000, IEA2000, and other sources). For certain applications and under favorable conditions, each of the technologies are already cost-effective today. The investments necessary for these developments will be paid back with the availability of cheaper renewable-energy supply and energy-efficiency technologies in the future. In general, these developments will be cost-effective for the society.

The redistribution of energy supply towards the developing countries could give unparalleled economic developments of these countries, for the benefits of their population, and for the whole world.

When the development is technical possible, environmentally desirable and economical beneficial, the question that remains is how to make it political possible, how to make it happen?

How Do We Make it Happen?br>
To start the changes, there is a huge need to change energy investments for production of renewable-energy and energy-efficiency equipment in large scale, including local production of simple renewable energy equipment in developing countries. As part of this, energy research and development (R&D) should be focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency. The current energy R&D funding is primarily used for development of nuclear energy and fossil fuels, and this funding must be changed to finance entirely the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

To attract investments for production of the new technologies, there is a need of mass markets and of long-term markets. It is up to political decisions to create these markets. With the increasing markets, renewable energy will be increasingly cost-effective, and the need for public support will decrease. To create markets for renewable energy, targets and portfolios must be defined at local, national, regional and global level. To create markets for energy efficiency, labelling, progressive energy efficiency standards and other measures should be introduced.

Currently some renewable-energy technologies have difficulties in competing with traditional energy sources, of which some are subsidised. To cope with this, environmental harmful subsidies must be phased out as soon as possible. In addition, the environmental benefits of renewable energy compared with fossil and nuclear energy must be reflected in the pricing.

The targets for renewable energy can be reached by different means. A successful way is fixed price arrangements for renewable-energy production with high enough prices to attract investments. Another way is via targets for individual consumers including companies. Consumers can then decide to produce their own renewable energy, to purchase renewable energy, or to purchase renewable energy certificates that proofs the production of the requested amount of renewable energy.

The new technologies are by nature decentralised, and their introduction is dependant on local participation in decision-making regarding their installation and in their use. There is much more need for local involvement and local decision-making in the application of the new technologies than in the traditional, centralised energy systems.

Who Will Organise the Changes?

While the push for changes from the world climate negotiations are currently far too small for a fundamental shift of the world energy system, a dynamic development takes place in a number of countries, replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy in several sectors.

To achieve the necessary changes, the motivated nations, groups of nations, companies, towns, local groups, and individuals must act - not letting the resistance/reluctance of others hindering them of taking their own action. They should set their own targets for renewable-energy portfolios and for energy efficiency. Those doing it first will have the biggest benefits by being involved in the related technology development, and their industries will be in the front.

Also on the international level, there is a need for organisations that will take the lead in the changes. The international organisations should be in charge of technical co-operation, co-ordination of policies, technology transfer and the programs to supply essential energy services for those lacking it today.

International Network for Sustainable Energy
Gunnar Boye Olesen, email:


IEA2000: (See:

IIASA95: Global Energy Perspectives to 2050 and Beyond. International Institute of Applied System Analysis and World Energy Council. Laxenburg, Austria, 1995.

INFORSE2000: Wind Power for Western Europe, - an INFORSE Proposal for 2000-2020, INFORSE-Europe, Denmark, 2000. (See:

RUC98: A Global Renewable Energy Scenario, Bent Sørensen and Peter Meibom, Roskilde University Center, Institute 2, Energy & Environment Group, 1998. (See:

Shell94: (See

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