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Newsletter - March 2017

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Dear Reader, 

2017 is in full swing here in the Northern Hemisphere with trees and flowers blooming. In parallel we are getting ready to launch the REN21 Renewables Global Futures Report: Great Debates towards 100 % renewable energy next week at the SEforALL Forum.

When REN21 was founded in 2004, the future of renewable energy looked very different than it does today. No one imagined then that in 2016 renewable energy would account for 86% of all new EU power installations; that China would become the renewable energy power house of the world; and that more than half of global renewable energy investments would happen in emerging economies and developing countries.

Riding on the momentum of the Paris Agreement, there is consensus that we have to radically re-consider how we produce and consume energy. Holding global average temperature rise well below 2°C, not to mention a much safer limit of 1.5°C, requires nothing short of a complete decarbonisation of the energy sector.

For more than a decade, REN21 has worked to “connect the dots” between the public and the private sector to drive the global energy transition. In keeping with this tradition, REN21 has canvassed a wide range of experts and stakeholders from around the world.  Experts were asked about their views on the feasibility of achieving a 100% renewable energy future and to discuss what they thought related macro-economic impacts might be. This new REN21 Renewables Global Futures Report: Great debates towards 100 % reneawble energy presents a spectrum of expert views and contains the most pressing subjects that need to be addressed in order to enable high-shares of of renewables on a global level.

Anyone who reads this report cannot help but have their own thinking affected by the multitude of viewpoints expressed. Stay tuned for the report launch on 4April to discover new, imaginative, and forward-looking ways to think about the global energy future.

Best regards,
Christine Lins
Executive Secretary of REN21


Renewables Global Futures Report: Release 4 April

4 April, 2017 REN21 will release its latest report on the feasibility and challenges of achieving a 100% renewable energy future. The report analyses the views of 114 renowned energy experts from every region of the world, interviewed over the course of 2016. The results are clustered under topics defined as “12 Great Debates.” 

The report is part of the Sustainable Energy for All Forum, 3-5 April, 2017 in New York. The Sustainable Energy for All Forum is a landmark gathering celebrating the global sustainable energy movement under this year’s theme, “Going Further, Faster – Together.”  If you can't join us in New York then register here for the GFR webinar, 4 April at 07:00 EST/13:00 CEST.

Mexico International Renewable Energy Conference: Update

Plans for the 2017 Mexico International Renewable Energy Conference (MEXIREC) are well-underway. The conference will be held as part of the Strategic Dialogue on Energy Futures; a multiple-event forum with the linking question “what should our energy future look like?”.  MEXIREC will be the central event and will run 11-14 September, 2017.  The programme agenda is structured around five thematic tracks:
  1. Policy and Finance
  2. Electricity Sector and Infrastructure
  3. Heating, Cooling and Transport
  4. Energy Access and Local Value Chain Creation
  5. Technology Innovations
High-level plenary sessions will open and close MEXIREC.  A welcoming cocktail, gala dinner and side events will also take place.  You can see the programme structure here.
In parallel we are now accepting applications for side events.  To apply, please complete the on-line form. The deadline for submission is 28 April, 2017.

Mark your Calendars!

The Peer Review Round II of the Renewables Global Status Report 2017 will begin soon!  

It will run Monday, 3 April to Friday, 14 April, 2017. The following chapters/sections will be available for review:
  • Global Overview
  • Market and Industry Trends (all sectors)
  • Sidebars
    • Jobs in Renewable Energy
    • Renewable Power Technology Cost Trends
  • Acknowledgements 
Please email us if you would like to review any of the above text. As always, we welcome your comments and appreciate the time you put aside to assist us on making the GSR the best it can be. 

Be a Part of the REN21 Team

REN21 is seeking a dynamic individual with a strong interest in renewable energy to fill the Community Management/Research Intern position. The successful candidate will work in a small team producing the Renewables Global Status Report, the flagship publication of REN21. This 6-month, paid internship is based in Paris and begins 21 August, 2017. For more details, click here. To apply, please send us your CV and cover letter outlining your suitability and interest in the position The deadline is Sunday, 9 April 2017.  Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

News from the Network

$50 Million in Private Investment for Renewable Energy Projects

Five new partners have joined UN Environment's Seed Assistance Facility, committing to invest US$50 million in clean power projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The Seed Capital Assistance Facility helps managers of private equity funds and development companies provide that necessary seed financing and enterprise assistance to early-stage clean energy project developers and entrepreneurs, filling the gap between the lack of bankable projects and available finance. The second phase of the Facility began last year and five new agreements have been signed with fund managers engaged in clean energy projects in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

To date, five funds that have partnered with the Facility for a total capitalisation of more than US$363 million, of which nearly US$35 million will go to seed investing. The Facility will provide US$15 million of additional support to help transfer this early-stage support to clean-energy entrepreneurs. The goal is to advance the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping the global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees Celsius. For more information about this initiative click here

Renewable Transformation Challenge

Do you have a great idea which contributes to the goal of 100% global renewable energy? Submit your proposal now for a chance to win €20,000!
Elsevier and ISES are proud to launch the Renewable Transformation Challenge in support of a world powered by 100% renewable energy, used efficiently and wisely, and made accessible for all. The winning proposal will demonstrate applicability, impact, sustainability and scalability in how they support the renewable energy transformation to achieve 100% renewables. 

Proposals can present an ongoing project, a product idea, an innovative technology, a policy initiative, programme, research, or analysis, or perhaps a complete solution targeting supply-side or demand-side programs, or both.  The competition is open to all individuals and not-for-profit and commercial organisations worldwide. Guidelines are available on the Challenge website. Submit your proposal by 30 April, 2017. 
The winner(s) will be announced at the ISES Solar World Congress (SWC2017) in Abu Dhabi held 29 Oct - 02 Nov 2017. Visit our website for more details.

Graz Declaration - The Role of Bioenergy in Europe after COP21

Europe has a responsibility to lead the way to a fossil-free society. Technologies, know-how, experience, capital, potential and positive examples are readily available. With a successful climate policy, Europe can urge other continents to follow, taking the lead to implement COP21 targets in time and race against uncontrolled global warming. Given this background, decision-makers should act accordingly.

On 18 January in Graz, Austria the bioenergy sector took action.  Major biomass associations (WBA, AEBIOM, ABA, AIEL, SLOBIOM, SERBIO, CROBIOM, FVH and BBE) united and signed the 'Declaration of Graz', a guideline for the development of bioenergy in Europe towards 2030. They did this during the 5th Central European Biomass Conference. The parameters of the Declaration include:
  • Halving the use of fossil fuels by 2030 
  • Phasing-out fossil generated electricity 
  • A doubling of the final energy use of biomass 
  • Increasing renewables 2.5-fold
The Declaration calls for:
  • General pricing on fossil COemissions to progressively reach 100 euro/ton CO2.
  • A Renewable heat strategy for district heat, industrial and residential heating 
  • A blending obligations for biofuels 
  • An integrated concept to mobilise biomass for energy 
  • Promoting integration of all renewables along with biomass for electricity generation
You can download the declaration here.

Mark Your Calendars for the Vienna Energy Forum 2017

  The upcoming Vienna Energy Forum will take place 9-12 May, 2017, in Vienna, Austria.  This year’s theme is Sustainable energy for the implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
The biennial forum’s mandate is to explore 21st century development challenges from a sustainable energy perspective.  The Forum will facilitate a multifaceted dialogue on how to further the global energy agenda and in particular, how to move from declarations of intention to real action on the ground.
The Vienna Energy Forum offers the opportunity to exchange information and knowledge on key energy issues to support policy-making and investment decisions, as well as to inform individual choices and behaviours.
Two days of special and side events (9-10 May) will be followed by a couple of days of high-level panels. These events will explore SDG7 on affordable and clean energy and its links to other SDGs, and the role of innovation in opening up new avenues for achieving SDG7 and related SDGs.
Sign up here to participate in a rich debate on one of the most relevant topics of the 21st century.
Making the Global 100% RE Campaign Permanent

Now in its fourth year the time has come to formalise the 100% Renewables Campaign. Building on the Global Platform for 100% RE a robust multi-stakeholder platform will be created.  It will coordinatie and support cooperation to accelerate the transformation to 100% RE. The new organisation will be inclusive and created from the bottom-up. It will demonstrate that the 100% RE movement is more than the sum of different initiatives and will be a powerful voice that advocates a common pathway.
This platform will work to encourage more jurisdictions to pledge 100% RE targets. It will also provide political support to help make these targets a reality.  The new secretariat will be based in Bonn, Germany and officially launched during the UNFCCC SB46 Meeting in May. If you are interested to learn more, please get in touch with us. 

Empowering Women in the Energy Sector 

The Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) supports women as key change agents to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 and SEforALL Objectives. For energy access to become a universal reality, ARE believes that it is crucial to address the structural causes of gender inequality. The organisation has identified three key recommendations on the policy and regulatory level to address women’s needs, constraints and opportunities, while further enabling their active role in the overall mission of achieving universal energy access by 2030:

1. Gender balance in decision-making
2. Target funding and business models to women
3. Gender mainstreaming to understand the practical needs of women

To download the paper, click here

Non-Alternative Facts on International Fuel Prices

Fuel prices shape our mobility patterns. Low fuel prices benefit motorised transport and encourage low energy efficiency technologies and wasteful behaviour. On the other hand, countries which price fuels at real production costs and apply fuel taxes can foster the transition towards more sustainable mobility by discouraging the use of private cars and raising additional funds for alternative transport modes.  Examples include non-motorised transport and public transport. 
Sound pricing of fuels provides multiple environmental and economic benefits. However, many countries still subsidise gasoline and diesel instead of applying taxes. Changing the status quo is difficult efforts to reform fuel pricing policies face not only strong resistance but also suffer from a lack of knowledge and transparency.
The GIZ Sustainable Mobility team conducts an International Fuel Prices Survey biennially to share knowledge on fuel prices. 2016 data has been compiled and analyzed in a new publication "Non-alternative facts on international fuel prices 2016". It also provides policy recommendations for a robust fuel pricing policy. The publication can be downloaded here
UAE Launches $50m Grant Fund for Renewables in Caribbean

In January 2017, the United Arab Emirates government launched the US $50m grant UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund to accelerate the deployment of generation assets in the Caribbean.  
The Fund is designed to be flexible and, as per agreement with Caribbean national governments, can work with both public and private counterparts.  It will also contribute funds to large projects or finance smaller projects at 100%.  
Financing from the Fund is untied, and all technologies listed in the Statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) are eligible.  National governments have been invited to submit project shortlists for the first funding cycle which runs through June 2017 during which time due diligence reviews will start which will be the basis for a bilateral cooperation agreement that specifies project implementation details.  
The Fund aims to sign four to six agreements per year.  The Steering Committee of the Fund can be contacted directly. The fund builds on the UAE's existing and growing development assistance portfolio for renewable energy, notably including the US $50m grant UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund and the US $350m soft loan IRENA-Abu Dhabi Fund for Development Project Facility.
Methodological Challenges and Solutions for Reporting GHG Emissions

At the heart of the 1 Gigaton Coalition’s work is the creation of a methodology to measure and report GHG emissions reductions that come from internationally supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries.
As part of its activities, the 1 Gigaton Coalition will host a facilitated dialogue between participants to determine key methodological challenges and potential solutions. Pathways for harmonising a methodology for these projects will also be discussed and are crucial in encouraging further ambition in renewable energy and energy efficiency goals.
This event builds on the work from its first two reports. The 2016 report analysed a representative sample of initiatives.  The report concluded that if climate financing goals are realised, internationally-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects could save up to 1 GtOper year in 2020.
The event will be held in Bonn, Germany, 10 May, 2017. Perspectives and experiences from a range of experts will be presented. For more information, please contact us

Reporting Local Targets and Actions to Support the Energy Transition

Local and subnational governments are invited to demonstrate their support and leadership in the transition to a sustainable and renewable energy future by reporting their energy targets, actions and performance to the carbonn® Climate Registry (cCR).

Over 700 local and subnational governments, representing 9% of the global population, currently report to the cCR, the voluntary global reporting platform available to all local and regional governments. It was created to enhance transparency, credibility and recognition of local climate action. The cCR is a free service provided by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). Reporting to the cCR not only enhances opportunities for visibility, but also offers benchmarking and technical assistance opportunities. The cCR showcases local leaders globally. For example, in 2015 the City of Aspen, USA achieved 100% renewable electricity supply and in the City of Växjö, Sweden, district heating was 96% renewable due to the use of local biomass and geothermal energy. 

The cCR is the central reporting platform for cities, towns and regions engaged in the Global 100% RE Campaign. Their entry point is the Global 100% Renewable Energy Cities and Regions Network, a community of practice to facilitate peer-learning and accelerate progress.

Click here to register and set-up a profile in cCR. Tutorial videos are available. Any questions?  Please contact us

2017 World Hydropower Congress to Focus on Delivering Better Hydro

The 2017 World Hydropower Congress takes place in Africa for the first time.  From 9-11 May, the Congress will focus on delivering better hydro, and ultimately, better development for all. The three-day event, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will chart the course of hydropower development and operations over the coming decade, with the aim of ensuring reliable and resilient water and energy systems. 

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and the Paris Agreement will provide a powerful background for discussions between business leaders, policy makers, experts, researchers, NGOs, and civil society. The Congress will be an important milestone towards ensuring hydropower can make the greatest possible contributions towards the SDGs and other international commitments, while managing the challenges of a changing climate. 

Plenary and focus sessions will delve into specific aspects of improved hydro, from long-distance transmission and regional interconnections to water security and sustainability assessment. Over 100 high-level speakers will explore a range of perspectives and examine how initiatives of government, businesses, finance, civil society and academia can advance sustainable development.

The Congress is organised by the International Hydropower Association, with the support of the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the World Bank Group. The last congress took place in Beijing, China, in 2015. Click here to find out more and to register.   

World Small Wind Conference 2017 at This Year's Intersolar

WWEA and Intersolar Europe are pleased to invite the small wind community as well as the solar industry to participate in the World Small Wind Conference.  WSWC2017 will be held 1-2 June, 2017 in Munich, Germany and will be held parallel with the Intersolar Europe Exhibition 2017.

The conference theme is "Small Wind & Solar Hybrid Systems - Key to a self-sufficient energy future". The conference will explore the current status and future developments of the wind and solar hybrid technology.  It will look at new innovative business models that could exploit the market of self-supply electricity. More information can be found here.  

Catalysing Project Development in sub-Saharan Africa

To meet the twin challenge of reaching the SDGs and combatting climate change, a transformation of energy systems is needed; in particular, a much stronger role of private sector investment. Investors in many developing countries can find it difficult to identify valuable projects given the regulatory instability.  Project developers experience parallel difficulties in bringing their projects to a financial close.
The Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP), launched under the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP), works to narrow this gap through its Finance Catalyst service. This free service helps project developers structure business plans, select funding opportunities and pitch them successfully to financiers. Since its launch late 2016, the Finance Catalyst has processed more than 130 applications, of which 17 projects are now receiving support. For example, a 7.5 MW solar project in East Africa was recently re-introduced to an investor and found financial support.
The projects come from  range of sectors and include grid-connected solar, hybrid mini-grids, and waste-to-energy. The business models behind the projects can also vary greatly. Further information about the Finance Catalyst visit the RECP website. If you are interested in seeing the distribution of applications by country and business model to the Finance Catalyst or information on ElectriFI, click here.

New Report and Tool to Track Life-Cycle of Cooking Fuels

The combustion of traditional cooking fuels such as dung, charcoal and coal can have far-reaching impacts on air quality, health, and the environment. But understanding the effects of fuel combustion is just one piece of the larger picture when it comes to gauging the impact of a cooking fuel. 

A new report and interactive tool helps present a more complete picture of the potential impact of a cooking fuel, from its production, processing, and distribution, as well as its use. “Comparative Analysis of Fuels for Cooking: Life Cycle Environmental Impacts and Economic and Social Considerations” uses a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to present a snapshot of impacts resulting from production of 11 different cooking fuels.  Included are a range of biomass sourced from different sources such as wood, agricultural residue, and bamboo, as well as liquid, and gas options.

The report is complemented with an online tool called Fuel Analysis, Comparison & Integration Tool (FACIT).  The tool allows stakeholders to manually change parameters. Parameters such as fuel type, country, and indicators can be modified to compare trade-offs of different cooking fuels and to isolate the steps in fuel production that have the largest impacts.

The report was created by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, in partnership with Eastern Research Group.  It can be accessed here.  

Community Power Growing in Japan and World-Wide

Community power, renewable energy characterised by local ownership, decision making and distribution of economic and social benefit, has grown dramatically in Japan since the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
ISEP and Japan Community Power Association are tracking this growth in Japan. By the end of 2016, a total of 200 community energy owners were registered as legal entities.  The majority to them are roof-top distributed solar PV with a total capacity of 45MW. The total capacity of community wind power stands at 37MW.
Each community power project has its own distinct characteristics and faces a myriad of problems. Those experiences, knowledge and solutions are worth sharing at the global level and were done so at the 1st World Community Power Conference held in Fukushima, November 2016.

More than 600 people from over 30 countries participated and discussed the role that community power can play in the global shift towards 100% renewable energy. The participants agreed to the proposed “Fukushima Community Power Declaration”, a declaration that aims to be the starting point for a global reflection on community power. The next WCPC will be held in Mali in early 2018.

ECREEE Launches New Map Viewer

The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) has released a new version of the Map Viewer.  The Viewer, a flagship product of ECOWREX, is an open data platform for managing and sharing renewable energy and energy efficiency information on ECOWAS Member States.

The new Map Viewer has been revamped to following international ISO and Open Geospatial Consortium standards. New data sets populate the solar and wind power potential maps, energy access maps for non-electrified communities in West Africa, and hydro power resource potential of all river basins across the region. A metadata catalogue has been developed to provide standardised information on geospatial data.  This also makes the maps accessible via other international platforms, increasing the visibility of the GIS maps. Improved functionality allows users to explore, share and download the geospatial data easily.

REN21 and ECREEE have also established a partnership to ECOWREX with REN21's Renewables Interactive Map to make the best use of the most up-to-date data available on West Africa. All relevant ECOWAS country profiles on the REN21 portal are now directly linked to ECOWREX, providing the user with more robust information.

The Viewer was developed by ECREEE in partnership with UNIGE (Geneva), KNUST (Ghana) and NOVELTIS (France) through the ACP-EU Science and Technology Programme II (ACP S&T II). You can access ECOWREX Spatial Data Infrastructure here and the map viewer here

Twenty Countries now Part of the Biofuture Platform

Twenty countries came together during COP22 last November to launch the Biofuture Platform.  The Platform is an action-orientated, country-led, multi-stakeholder mechanism for policy dialogue and collaboration.  Its mission is to scale-up advanced, low-carbon bioeconomy solutions for the transport, industry and other sectors. 

Members of the Biofuture Platform comprise some of the leading countries driving markets and innovation in the areas of advanced biofuels and biomaterials. They have begun to craft a vision statement to signal to markets, investors, planners and policy makers the relevance of scaling-up advanced low carbon fuels to fight climate change and develop a thriving bioeconomy. They are supported in this work by international agencies, i.e. IRENA, IEA, UNCTAD and in collaboration with forward-leaning initiatives such as Mission Innovation, GBEP, and REN21.
Work has also begun on the State of the Low-Carbon Bioeconomy where member countries and multilateral partner organisations are being invited to contribute.  A series of policy debates are also being developed.  Topics include demand-creation policies, internalisation of environmental benefits, investment risk mitigation and accelerating R&D for the low carbon bioeconomy.
Countries participating in the Biofuture Platform are: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Netherlands, Morocco, Mozambique, Paraguay, Philippines, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America and Uruguay.

Presidency of Regional RE Centre now Headed by Lebanon

Lebanon assumed the presidency of the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Board of Trustees (BoT) during the 14th Board of Trustees meeting, 27-28 February, 2017 in Cairo, Egypt. The BoT presidency was transferred from Eng. Ayman Ismail, General Director of the Palestinian Energy and Environment Research Center (PEC), to Eng. Pierre El Khoury, General Director of the Lebanese Centre for Energy Concentration (LCEC).
During the meeting, RCREEE’s Executive Director Dr. Ahmed Badr thanked Eng. Ayman Ismael for his outstanding efforts, support and leadership in the past year. He noted that RCREEE is looking forward to the continued support and fruitful cooperation under the new leadership of Lebanon. Dr. Kamal Hassan Ali, Assistant Secretary-General, Head of the Economic Affairs sector at the League of Arab States, and Eng. Mohamed Mousa Omran, First Undersecretary for Research, Planning & Authorities, both attended the opening session of the meeting.
The BoT was attended by representatives from RCREEE member states, along with RCREEE executive committee and Secretariat, and implied the start of a new year of fruitful work. 

Upcoming Events


April 2017

SEforAll Forum: Going Further, Faster - Together
New York City/USA 3 - 5 April, 2017 | Event details

G7 Energy Ministerial Meeting
Rome/Italy 9 April, 2017 | Event details

May 2017

Vienna Energy Forum
Vienna/Austrai 9 - 12 May, 2017 | Event details

IEA Heat Pump Conference
Rotterdam/Netherlands 15 - 18 May, 2017 | Event details

June 2017

Asia Pacific Energy Forum
Malina/Philippines 5 - 9 June, 2017 
Event details

Eighth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM-8)
Beijing/China 6 - 8 June, 2017 | Event details

Ministerial Conference and teh 8th International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development

Astana/Kazakhstan 11 - 14 June, 2017 | Event details

WEMC Interational Conference Energy & Meteorology
Bari/Italy 27 - 29 June, 2017 | Event details


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