As I write these lines, I am on my way back from the launch of this year’s Global Status Report in China. Over the past decade, China has established itself as the global renewable energy champion: double-digit economic growth rates, rapidly increasing energy demand and the establishment of ambitious targets for renewable energy. Increased air quality problems due to the expansion of the coal industry over the same time period drove an even faster deployment of renewable energy sources. Today, China has the largest expansion of wind, solar and hydropower in the world; it will continue to drive the renewable energy revolution in the years to come with new targets for renewable energy in the 13th 5 year plan, currently under preparation and to be announced in early March 2016.
REN21’s Renewables 2015 Global Status Report was launched 18 June at the Vienna Energy Forum. News from this year’s report is again encouraging: Renewable energy continued to grow in 2014 against the backdrop of increasing global energy consumption, particularly in developing countries, and a dramatic decline in oil prices during the second half of the year. As of early 2015, 164 countries have renewable energy targets in place, 59 of all newly built power plants in the world in 2014 were renewables-based with renewables representing 27.7 % of the world’s power generating capacity and enough to supply 22.8% of global electricity demand. The last decade has seen remarkable energy uptake in the power section where new renewable power generation capacities have increased more than eightfold. The share of modern renewables in global heat demand is still modest at 8% of the share of final energy consumption. Renewable energy also accounted for an estimated 3.5% of global energy demand for road transport in 2013, up from 2% in 2007.
Despite rising energy use, for the first time in four decades, global carbon emissions associated with energy consumption remained stable in 2014 while the global economy grew. This stabilisation has been attributed to increased penetration of renewable energy in China as well as the OECD countries and to improvements in energy efficiency. It and constitutes great news ahead of COP21 highlighting the importance of renewables as central pillar in combating climate change.
However, even with these successes, the share of renewable energy in final consumption at the end of 2013 was at 19.1%, a moderate increase compared to 18% in 2010. Given the commitment with SE4ALL to double the share of renewables from 2010 until 2030, a lot still needs to happen and the share of renewables needs to grow in the heating and transport sectors in particular.
This year’s GSR, marking its 10th edition, was well received by the press. In less than two weeks more than 600 press articles in 37 countries and in 14 languages reported about the progress of renewable energy worldwide; outreach events on all continents are planned or have already taken place. For further reading, I cordially invite you to check out our GSR e-reader on the new REN21 website!
Summer greetings from Paris,
News from the REN21 Secretariat
Annual Reporting on Renewables: Ten years of excellence
On 18 June, 2015, the Renewables 2015 Global Status Report (GSR2015) was launched at the Vienna Energy Forum. Results from the report were presented at various panels, an opening session and at an official side event. Response to GSR 2015 has been widespread: 10 days after the launch it has been cited in over 600 on-line journals and newspapers—including China Daily, Deutsche Welle and the Washington Post—in 37 countries and in 14 different languages.
This year’s report contains expanded sections on energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy as well as a special feature on renewables and climate change adaptation. You can find the full report as well as the accompanying Key Findings in English, French, Spanish and Chinese. Infographicsas well as a complete PowerPoint presentation are also available for download. Also Check out REN21’s Renewables Interactive Map for country specific data underlying the various trends highlighted in the GSR.
Production for the GSR 2016 has already begun! Please join the process as a country/regional, technology or topical contributor or reviewer. Contributors and reviewers are given special acknowledgement in the Global Status Report and listed as REN21 collaborators on the REN21 Renewables Interactive Map. We invite you to express your interest in contributing to the GSR 2016 as well as to submit any suggestions for additions or improvements to the final report or to the overall production process.
New REN21 Website and Renewables Interactive Map Launched
Every well running machine sometimes needs to be checked by a mechanic. This is why we have recently released the newly designed REN21 website that showcases the activities of REN21.
As part of the ongoing data collaborations of REN21 the Renewables Interactive map can now also be accessed from IRENA’s REsource portal.
The Map provides the means to compile and share detailed information on the status of renewable energy policies, technologies and investment trends across the world. Information on the Map is sourced directly from REN21’s annual Renewables Global Status Report and the vast network of contributors, representing the timeliest information about renewable energy.
REN21 has presented the new portal to a diverse range of practitioners during the 2015 workshop of the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group (CKB) in the UN City in Copenhagen. REN21 is actively supporting the CKB which is an emerging alliance of leading global, regional and national knowledge brokers specialising in climate and development.
Register Now for SAIREC 2015
Registration is now open for the South African International Renewable Energy Conference. Held 4-7 October in Cape Town, South Africa, this international conference provides a global platform for government, private sector and civil society leaders to advance renewable energy. Over the course of three days, attendees can participate in a series of interactive sessions, side events, go on site visits and visit a diverse exhibition hall. Be sure to reserve your spot now and book your book hotel. More information can be found on at the conference website.
We are pleased to announce that the review draft of the SADC Renewable Energy and energy efficiency Report is ready for review. We invite your comments on the draft, which can be accessed on REN21+. Your expert input and comments are highly appreciated and will be acknowledged in the final report. The report contains five sections: 1) Regional Overview 2) Renewable Energy Market and Trends 3) energy efficiency 4) Policy and Target landscape 5) Investment. Reviewers are invited to review those sections most relevant to their area of expertise. This review process will close Tuesday, July 14 at 23:00 CEST No comment will be accepted after this time so don’t delay! If you have any questions please contact us.
News from the Network
New Off-grid Lighting Publication Now Available
Creating favourable conditions for modern solar lighting markets can provide a low-cost solution to reducing carbon emissions, indoor air pollution and health risks, while bringing electricity to an estimated 600 million people in Africa who lack access to the power grid, says a new report by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The report, entitled “Developing Effective Off-Grid Lighting Policy – Guidance Note for Governments in Africa”, recommends best practices and smart policies to enable the market uptake of off-grid lighting solutions. It was unveiled last month at the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) annual forum, which convenes private sector, governments, energy access practitioners, off-grid lighting experts, civil society and international donors to achieve the target of universal energy access by 2030.
The publication was jointly launched by UNEP, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), and the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). Download the full report here.
Is the Jobs Myth Finally Bust?
“Renewables will do close to nothing to contribute to overcoming unemployment.” It’s a line that used by the fossil fuel industry to support their argument that a transition to future powered entirely by renewable energy will result in massive job losses. But the fact is that renewables create (on average and based on the specific technologies) between three to six times more jobs for the same amount of energy produced than fossil fuels or nuclear. By no means do renewables aggravate the unemployment problem – they are a fundamental part of the solution. Everywhere.To read more about this click here.
The Global 100% Renewables Movement
It’s not always easy to find examples of what’s working in the fight against climate change, but one shining example is the growing global movement for 100% renewable energy. Since 2013, renewable energy has been winning the race against fossil resources: the world is now adding more capacity for renewable power each year than for coal, natural gas, and oil combined. The question is no longer if the world will transition to sustainable energy, but how long it will take.
Currently, this transition is being driven largely by local governments. Across the world an increasing number of cities, towns and regions show leadership in tackling environmental, economic and social crisis by shifting toward 100% renewable energy. However, sustained transformation will only happen if it is in line with just and democratic principles. Therefore partners of the Global 100% RE campaign have launched a new 100% renewable energy network for local governments to ensure a people-centred and decentralised approach. The initiative is based on guidelines that strengthen the understanding within local governments about what 100% renewable energy means and to improve knowledge on how to achieve it. More information can be found here.
Solutions Gateway Launched and Open to All Cities
The Solutions Gateway, an online resource platform on Low Carbon Solutions for Urban Development created for cities and towns, was launched in April at the ICLEI World Congress 2015 in Seoul, South Korea. It is now available to all local governments, free of charge.
This innovative platform, tailor-made for local governments, was developed to assist them in mainstreaming low emission development into urban plans, projects and processes. The Solutions Gateway contains low emission development solution packages for sectors such as waste, water, buildings, energy, transportation, land use, local government operations along with cross-sectorial themes, such as procurement. Content is based on proven technologies and practices, distilled into Solutions and Solution Packages which are drafted and peer-reviewed by experts of respective fields.
The Solutions Gateway offers an integrated approach to urban development challenge, including enabler and multiplier actions, to optimise the effectiveness of solutions. Case studies illustrate how approaches were implemented, showing good practice in action. The Solutions Gateway was developed through the Urban-LEDS project (“Promoting Low Emission Urban Development Strategies in Emerging Economy Countries”), funded by the European Commission, and jointly implemented by UN-Habitat and ICLEI. For more information, visit the site.
Mini-grids and Bioenergy for Rural Electrification
The clean energy mini-grid sector is crucial in providing clean energy access and alleviating poverty in developing countries. However implementation is hampered by a number of barriers such as lack of finance access and transparency about available support schemes. To address this issue, ARE on behalf of the Clean Energy Mini-Grids HIO set out to map public, philanthropic and commercial sources of funding, technical as well as other support available for the implementation of clean energy mini-grids. The results are reflected in a publication and as a webtool, where beneficiaries can filter the aspects relevant to their own needs.
Complementing the case for mini-grids is a recent study by FS-UNEP (in cooperation with IRENA and Siemens) that found that renewable energy had significant potential to reduce the cost of electricity in rural and island settings across the developing world. PANGEA and ARE also present the lessons learnt by their members on how to effectively implement innovative models that utilise bioenergy technologies for electrification purposes in their latest information paper. The paper looks at inclusive business models, value addition and provides policymakers with policy recommendations to encourage the uptake of biomass as part of decentralised energy production.
ISES Solar World Congress
The ISES Solar World Congress, held biennially since the 1950’s, embodies the spirit of international networking and exchange of ideas advanced by the Society. Its objective is to maintain communication between the research community, industrial and political players. From 8-12 November 2015 in Daegu, Korea, the International Solar Energy Society and the Korean Solar Energy Association will host the most important gathering of solar energy researchers, professionals, industry representatives and decision-makers from around the world.
At the ISES Solar World Congress 2015, participants from all over the world will attend and present their research, projects and work in all fields of renewable energy, network and learn from expert plenary and keynote speakers on a range of technical and cross-cutting issues. The event comes just before the COP21 in paris and will play a vital role bringing the voice of the renewable energy community to our world leaders.
Achieving the transformation to 100% renewable energy requires the strength of knowledgeable experts, emerging young professionals, a strong industry and support from financial institutions and government. The year 2015 marks a milestone year as the International Solar Energy Society celebrates 60 years of advancing the energy transformation. For registration guidelines click here.
Celebrate Global Wind Day: 15 June!
Global Wind Day is a worldwide event that occurs annually on 15 June. It is a day for discovering wind, its power and the possibilities it holds to reshape our energy systems, decarbonise our economies and boost jobs and growth.
Wind energy has become fully mainstream and is today one of the fastest growing industrial sectors in the world: almost USD 100 billion was invested in 2014. Onshore wind power is now cheaper than conventional energy sources in an expanding number of markets worldwide. Wind power doesn’t only make sense environmentally and socially but also economically.
This year’s Global Wind Day is organised in coordination with SolutionWind, a global awareness campaign to highlight the unique relevance of the wind industry ahead of COP21 climate negotiations in Paris, December 2015. Global Wind Day is coordinated by the Global Wind Energy Council and the European Wind Energy Association together with the national associations. For more information or to find an event near you, go to GWEC Global Wind Day page. For European events consult EWEA Global Wind Day page. Also follow us on Twitter and Facebook!
World Geothermal Congress: Melbourne April 2015
From 19-24 April 2015 the geothermal industry, country representatives and government representatives met in Melbourne to discuss geothermal trends, technologies, developments and future perspectives. Over 1,500 participants attended the congress, more than 1,300 technical papers from over 70 countries were presented in up to 12 concurrent sessions. Session themes included Reservoir modelling, Geology, Geophysics, Drilling, Environmental, Direct use, Business strategies, and International collaboration. Six short courses were held prior and after the congress and five field trips were conducted in Australia and New Zealand.
During the Closing Ceremony the global geothermal community presented the Melbourne Declaration asking for increased support from governments, financial institutions and political decision makers and emphasising the importance of human resource development, knowledge transfer, policy development and the respect of indigenous peoples.