United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Science & Technology

Statement of Prof. Joachim LUTHER
on behalf of the
Scientific and Technologic Communities
May 3, afternoon session, room 4
Mr. Chairman,
at the beginning let me underline that we agree perfectly with the comment
of the Brazilian delegate: Renewable energies ? if correctly applied ? are
ecologically benign and constitute sustainable energy sources in the strict
sense of the word.
In the following, I will concentrate on the cost aspects of renewable
energies. In part ? but not in all cases ? the costs of renewable energies are
higher than the costs of energy from non-sustainable sources. However,
this is not a law of nature. As markets grow, costs will decrease. For many
renewable energy technologies we see market growth rates of 30% per year
(or even higher). At the same time, we determine promising learning
curves, i.e. considerable price reductions.
Further strong cost reductions will be guaranteed through science and
As regards components of the energy system, this will happen
through (i) higher efficiencies in energy conversion, (ii) lower material
consumption (especially material sciences will play an important role), (iii)
optimised manufacturing technologies and (iv) perfectly new sustainable
energy conversion paths.
In the overall energy systems area, the development of intelligent
grids will be of crucial importance. Intelligent grids and distributed energy
generation will (i) help levelling out statistical fluctuations from solar and
wind energy and will (ii) adjust the load pattern ? especially by means of
load management ? to the energy generation characteristics of the supply
Optimising the science and technology system ? including the educational
sector - in all countries will help to set up local manufacture of components
of renewable energy systems. Eventually local production will help to
make technology implementation easier in most cases.