Paper Outlines Future for Renewable Energy

The International Solar Energy Society (ISES) has produced a white paper that shows where world governments are investing their efforts in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The ISES White Paper provides a rationale for effective governmental renewable energy policies worldwide, as well as sufficient information to accelerate effective government policies. It is the thesis of the ISES White Paper that a worldwide effort to generate the renewable energy transition must emerge at the top of national and international agendas, starting now.

Freiburg, Germany – November 19, 2003 [] In the history of human energy use, the ISES White Paper records that sustainable resources were the sole world supply, even in nascent industrial development well into the 1800s, and that the world will necessarily again have to turn to sustainable resources before the present century is over. The fossil fuel period is therefore an era, not an age, and highly limited in time in comparison with the evolution, past and future, of civilizations and societies. Accordingly, it is critical for governments to view what remains of the fossil fuel era as a transition. The renewable energy transition will accelerate as governments discover how much better the renewable energy policies and applications are for economies than the present time – and resource – limited policies and outmoded and unreliable centralized systems for power production and distribution. The ISES White Paper proceeds to outline the technologies, policy instruments, market forces and socio-economic measures that governments at all levels can apply, to enjoy the benefits a sustainable, renewable energy-based economy can bring. The transition thus becomes not a burden to be shouldered but rather an opportunity to be embraced. It specifically addresses bioenergy, geothermal energy, wind power, solar energy, and the built environment. Throughout, it highlights new elements driving public policy towards a renewable energy transition, while clearly and understandably presenting the characteristics, status of development and relative potential of various technologies. It examines national and local factors supporting the development of renewable energy technologies, especially in terms of issues like job creation, greenhouse gas emission reduction, and economic stimuli. In addition to a general overview of policies and incentives, it clearly presents exemplary practices based on concrete examples, with a special focus on cities, utilities and the relationship between local, regional and national policy. The ISES White Paper, which will be widely disseminated through the international network of offices and members of ISES and partner organizations, will underpin a global movement towards the application of innovative policy instruments to realize a controlled, universal transition to a globally sustainable and environmentally-friendly energy economy. The author of the ISES White Paper, acting for ISES was Dr. Donald W. Aitken, who has served the renewable energy field in a number of prominent roles, including that of Vice-President and Secretary of ISES and twice President of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). Formerly Senior Staff Scientist for Renewable Energy with the 100,000-member Union of Concerned Scientists, he now independently consults with U.S. and international governments on the topic of energy and renewable energy policy, as well as the sustainable built environment.


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