REN21 Newsletter – December 2018

A year comes to an end, a moment to look back on a year of transition and make wishes for the future!

For REN21, this has been an exciting year with some major highlights: we started work on a new report series, the Renewables in Cities Global Status Report; the REN21 Community convened in November at the REN21 Academy for peer-to-peer learning and creating; the General Assembly agreed on the next three-year strategy. We have also launched thematic reports on Renewable Energy Policies in a Time of a Transition with IRENA and IEA and on Decarbonising Transport in G20 in cooperation with Agora Verkehrswende and GIZ. A new regional report, the SADC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Regional Status Report, produced in cooperation with SACREEE and UNIDO, was just released. And obviously, we have launched another outstanding Renewables Global Status Report which builds on the power of many.

2018 has also been a year of transition, not only in the REN21 Secretariat, but also for our reporting on the status of renewable energy. In view of the alarming climate change situation, there is a serious need for a reality check on the role renewable energy play and can play in responding to urgent climate and sustainable development issues.  Major energy players note the great advancement of renewables in the power sector while simultaneously agreeing that it is insufficient. They also point to the lack of developments in key, end-use sectors such as heating and transport. The transition in the power sector clearly shows that there is no more need to prove that renewables are a key solution for the energy system and are fundamental in addressing climate change. However, a deeper, accelerated transformation is needed.

This requires a change in thinking: we need to evolve towards greater integration, across sectors and between policy levels. This means that we have to leave our comfort zone: we cannot remain in silos. The fight should be for sustainable energy, before we fight for energy efficiency or renewables.  We all need to fight for renewables, before fighting for a specific renewable energy technology.

Energy is everywhere.  We all need to bridge renewable supply and demand despite our different ways of thinking and despite the need to develop a joint language to implement integrated planning, policies and action. The renewable energy community also needs to decide how to include more players in the global energy debate, whether it be fighting for a social, just-transition, or facing detractors of the sustainable energy transformation.

All this is challenging and may make people uncomfortable, but it is also exciting! It is exciting, as there is fact-based evidence about the opportunities renewables offer. It is exciting, as there are many inspiring examples of countries, regions, cities, companies and citizens that are making the transformation happen. It is exciting, as there are stories to tell that paint a future that many want to see. And this is key if we want to build on the power of many, to create the necessary political pressure for disruptive change, for building political leadership, policies and regulatory frameworks.

I am grateful to be where I am; part of REN21, a global renewable energy multi-stakeholder policy network. Our collaborative, multi-stakeholder, reporting culture generates the fabulous conditions that allow us to bridge the renewable community with those communities of decision-makers outside the renewable energy sphere but who are relevant for the global renewable energy uptake.

My wish for 2019: that the sustainable energy community will work together over the course of the year with the objective of speaking with one, strong voice at COP25 to make sure that decision-makers cannot ignore the realities that energy efficiency and renewable energy play and need to play!

And finally, I would like to end this year by thanking my team at the REN21 Secretariat for their energy and engagement in this time of transition.  And in particular, Arthours Zervos, REN21 Chair and the REN21 Bureau for their trust and support during my first ‘year’ as REN21 Executive Secretary.

I wish you all the best for the end of the year and many happy returns for 2019. May it be filled with many opportunities to accelerate renewables uptake!


News from the REN21 Secretariat

Vital Power of Many

The 2018 REN21 Academy took place in Berlin 19-21 November. Over 160 members from the REN21 Community, representing 80 different countries met to discuss how to accelerate the energy transformation.  The collective engagement of the participants made the event a real success; people were curious, enthusiastic and openly shared knowledge and insights.

Over three days, participants collectively addressed themes such as renewable heat, transport, energy system 2.0; topics all chosen as entry points for creating integrated energy solutions to enable the energy transformation. Participants shared perspectives, asked tough questions, innovated together and were guided by a programme that had been co-developed in advance with the participants. REN21 will build on this community spirit to help inform its work over the next three-year work programme.

Mark your calendars for 2020, when the next REN21 Academy will be held. Until then, watch the video, see the photos, review the programme and download the presentations. A report documenting the outcomes of the REN21 Academy will be available in early 2019.

Faces of the REN21 Community  

Want to know who makes up the REN21 Community? Check out REN21’s new Instagram account. Here you will find photos of our Community, taken over the course of the REN21 Academy. We will continue to populate this page with new photos and images. Follow us and discover what people are thinking about renewables, REN21 and the REN21 Community.

Help us Develop our Next Instagram Campaign

Share political, rhetorical and funny cartoons on renewables and climate change for our next Instagram campaign. They can be in any language and from any where.  Just make sure to send us an accompanying translation in English.

Send your cartoons to us here at the Secretariat and keep your eyes peeled!

[email protected]  

REN21 was active again at the climate talks, held this year in Katowice, Poland.  REN21 was asked to present at various events, including those hosted by the OECD, IEA, GEIDCO, SLoCaT, European Bioenergy Council and UN DESA. We participated in a press conferences on solar cookers and on transport and cooperated with the World Future Council and IASS on a joint, official side event “Delivering Renewables at Scale: A must to meet the Paris Agreement”. REN21 also signed an MOU with the Solar Impulse Foundation, which has the aim of identifying 1000 solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way and awarding them the Solar Impulse Efficient Solution Label. If you would like to be a technology reviewer for this process, then please subscribe here.

Decarbonising Transport in the G20

CO2 emissions from transport are still rising. If immediate action is not taken, more radical measures will be unavoidable in the future. This is the conclusion from the newly released joint report by the Berlin-based, think-tank Agora Verkehrswende, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and REN21.

Towards Decarbonising Transport – A 2018 Stocktake on Sectoral Ambition in the G20 provides a summary for each G20 nation, including data on COemission trends in the national transport sector, climate policy targets and measures for lowering emissions. The data makes clear that only three countries from the G20 have set targets for reducing emissions in the transport sector: Germany, France and Japan. You can download the report here.

Building and Bridging the Energy Transition

The Transport and Climate Change Global Status Report  (TCC-GSR) is now out!  The report intends to help ensure that low-carbon transport is a central strategy in climate action activities. It is a resource for policy-makers to raise ambition on climate mitigation and adaptation in sustainable transport plans and programmes.

The TCC-GSR describes recent trends in transport demand emissions, illustrates recent policy targets and measures across several transport sub-sectors, and sets a baseline from which to demonstrate the potential of transport to make a proportional contribution to the 1.5-degree scenario.

REN21 was special advisor to this new SLoCaT publication. The TCC-GSR builds on the structure and process that has made the Renewables Global Status Report series the industry standard on the status of renewables.  REN21 and SLoCaT will continue to work together to ensure that renewables are integrated in the decarbonisation of the transport sector.

Renewables Rising in Southern Africa

Want to know about the latest renewable energy and energy efficiency developments in Southern Africa?  Consult the newly released SADC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Report, produced in cooperation SACREEE, the SADC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Center, based in Namibia.

Building on the 2015 edition, the report looks at national and regional policy, market and investment developments.  While the region has seen progress in the power sector, uptake of renewables in the transport and heating sectors lag significantly, mirroring trends seen elsewhere in the world.

Asia in Focus

Its official! The 2019 International Renewable Energy Conference (IREC) will be held in Seoul, South Korea.

On 5 November, REN21 and the Korean Ministry of Technology, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) formalised their partnership for the 8th IREC.  Titled KIREC – Seoul 2019, this will be the first IREC where both a national government and a city government (Municipality of Seoul) are cooperating to develop the IREC programme. This partnership reflects the growing importance of cities in the renewable energy transition and their role in vertical policy integration.

The event will take place 23-26 October 2019.  More information about the event, registration etc., will be made available in our next newsletter (March 2019).  In the meantime, mark your calendars and practice saying “yeoboseyo” (“hello” in Korean).

Tracking Developments in Asia

Development of a new regional status report is underway! The Asia and the Pacific Renewable Energy Status Report will look at renewable energy developments across the Asian continent. Covering 18 countries ranging from Georgia in the West to Tonga in the East, the report will look at sub-regional developments. A set of common indicators will allow readers to compare developments across sub-regions. The report will be a key input to KIREC – Seoul 2019 so will be available October 2019.

If you are interested in providing data or reviewing text, please complete this Expression of Interest.

Renewables in Cities Global Status Report

REN21 is developing a Renewables in Cities Global Status Report series. It will provide a platform to collaboratively map out the current developments and trends of renewable energy in cities and to make the role that cities play in advancing the energy transition visible to policy makers and other stakeholders. This publication intends to inform and collectively shape the debate on cities in the energy transition. It is also a starting point to linking cities, in a more holistic way, to the energy debate.

This publication builds on the success and lessons learned in producing the Renewables Global Status Report series. Join the data collection to collectively advance the energy transition in cities. To learn more about this work, click here or email us.

Ready, Set, Review!

The first set of chapters of the Renewables 2019 Global Status Report will soon be ready for review. Reviewers will be asked to comment on the following:
–Energy Efficiency chapter
–Systems Integration & Enabling Technologies chapter
–Policy Landscape chapter and data tables
–Distributed Renewables for Energy Access (DREA) chapter
–DREA dataset, in collaboration with IRENA

The peer  review will take place 8-20 January 2019. Please save the date!  Should you wish to contribute and are NEW to this process, then please complete the following Expression of Interest form so we can include you in the process.




REN21 and the Holiday Season 

The REN21 Secretariat will be closed 24-26 December in celebration of the Christmas holidays. As staff will be with their families at various times over the holiday period, please direct any questions (24 Dec. 2018 – 6 Jan. 2019) to [email protected]. Thank you!