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January 20, 2009 / Mridul

Report: International Energy Agency Deliberately Undermined Potential of Renewable Energy

A group of scientists and politicians has accused the International Energy Agency of publishing false data about the growth potential of renewable energy. The Energy Watch Group claims the IEA “consistently underestimated the amount of electricity generated by wind power while advising various governments.” The group holds the IEA’s close ties to the oil, gas and nuclear sectors responsible for its “ignorance and contempt” towards renewables.

The International Energy Agency is an intergovernmental organization which publishes reports about future trends of energy generation and use which help governments across the world to chalk out energy production plans. The Energy Watch group says that the IEA reports glorify fossil fuels deeming them irreplaceable by renewable energy sources.

The group compared the production projections of wind energy that the IEA presented in the past decade to the the actual growth in wind energy generation.

In 1998, the IEA predicted that global wind electricity generation would total 47.4GW by 2020. This figure was reached in December 2004. In 2002, the IEA revised its estimate to 104GW wind by 2020 – a capacity that had been exceeded by last summer.

In 2007, net additions of wind power across the world were more than four-fold the average IEA estimate from its 1995-2004 predictions.

The IEA report predicts a five-fold increase in wind energy from 2006-2015 but then assumes an abrupt & unexplained downturn in production. A Swiss parliament member also notes that IEA derives most of its employees from the oil industry and raised questions about its intent regarding the energy outlook reports.

One has to question the wind energy growth numbers that IEA puts in its reports. Investments in renewable energy have grown tremendously around the world. The European Union has been very open about its huge investment plans in renewable energy keeping with the emissions reduction targets and the clean energy targets it has set for 2010 and 2020. China has become the largest investor in clean energy, pumping in billions of dollars in building some of the biggest wind and solar energy plants in the world.

Even during this period of economic recession, industrialized nations, like BritainUnited StatesSouth Korea and Japan, plan to invest billions in creating jobs by setting up clean energy projects. In addition, under the new climate treaty more nations would be required to cut carbon emissions and to a greater extent than under the Kyoto Protocol. More importantly, there is a possibility that the United States would also ratify the treaty which would mean more investments in renewable energy.

It seems that the IEA has left out some very important variables while preparing the energy outlook reports in the past few years. A global intent to invest in clean energy projects, EU’s strict renewable energy and emission reduction targets and mandatory targets under the new climate treaty – all these factors would drive investments in renewable energy projects around the world and it seems that the IEA has overlooked these factors – deliberately or erroneously. But it is very important that such an international body whose reports are followed by governments around the world must stay neutral and not be baised in favor of a particular sector or industry.

This article was first posted on Red, Green and Blue

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