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Newsletter - June 2014

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Dear Reader,

REN21’s Renewables 2014 Global Status Report was launched 4 June at the First Annual Sustainable Energy for All Forum in New York. This was the first time the report was launched publicly (as opposed to virtually); the event was a great success with GSR statistics quoted in mainstream media such as the the Amsterdam Metro newspaper, which reported that 22% of the world’s electricity generation is produced from renewables. Checkout this edition of the REN21 newsletter for more salient facts and figures about this year’s GSR launch!

The GSR 2014 demonstrates again the impressive progress renewables have made during the last decade: Despite the fact that progress was most striking in the electricity sector, heat from modern biomass, solar, and geothermal sources accounts for a small but gradually rising share of final global heat demand, amounting to an estimated 10%. Furthermore, liquid biofuels met around 2.3% of total transport fuel demand and there are increasing initiatives to link electric transport systems with renewable energy, particularly at the city and regional levels.

Renewables power capacity excluding hydropower saw a sevenfold increase during the past decade - from 85 GW in 2004 to 560 GW in 2013; costs for most technologies have decreased significantly; and supporting policies have continued to spread throughout the world. Back in 2004, only about 48 countries had renewable energy targets in place compared to 144 countries as of early 2014. Developing and emerging economies have led the expansion in recent years and account for 95 of the countries with support policies, up from 15 in 2005. This is particularly good news as energy demand and the need for additional sustainable energy generation capacity are growing rapidly in these countries.

Renewable energy deployment has surpassed projections of many scenarios. Compared to a decade ago, renewables have proven their ability to be a mainstream energy source. Variable renewables are achieving high levels of penetration in several countries. For example, throughout 2013, wind power met 33.2% and 20.9% of electricity demand in Denmark and Spain, respectively; in Italy, solar PV met 7.8% of total annual electricity demand.

In 2013, there was an increasing focus on revisions to existing policies and targets, including retroactive changes, with some adjustments made to improve policy effectiveness and efficiency, and others aimed to curtail costs associated with supporting the development of renewables, despite the fact that renewables support only accounts for a small amount compared to the amount spent on fossil fuel subsidies - 544 billion USD according to the World Bank or 1.9 trillion USD according to a study from the IMF. Particularly in Europe, new policies are emerging to advance or manage the integration of high shares of renewable electricity into existing power systems, including support for energy storage, demand-side management, and smart grid technologies.

Today, renewables are mainstreamed and are the preferred energy source of the general public in many parts of the world. However, despite these impressive developments, it is clear that we need to move faster and more deliberately if we are serious about doubling the global share of renewables by 2030 and about ensuring access to clean and sustainable energy for all people by 2030.

Let’s recharge our batteries during the upcoming summer/winter break for an energised “rentrée” to advance the global energy transition with renewables!

Best wishes for a fulfilling summer/winter,
Christine Lins
Executive Secretary REN21

News from the REN21 Secretariat

GSR 2014 Launched!

The Renewables 2014 Global Status Report was made public on 4 June in New York at the UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum. The launch, held at the German House, saw over 130 people attending a high-level luncheon, where they listened to a presentation of the key findings and a panel commentary. A second afternoon event, held within the SE4ALL Forum, followed a similar presentation and panel discussion format. A preview of the GSR 2014 was delivered to IRENA Members on 1 June in Abu Dhabi as well as at the Opening of Intersolar on 2 June in Munich. Parallel to the New York launch, GSR presentations were given in Jönköping/Sweden at the World Bioenergy 2014 and in Dakar/Senegal at the Renewable Energy for Poverty Reduction (REPoR) Conference.
A multi-language news release issued under embargo ahead of the launch resulted in at least 23 stories carried by 17 major international and national news wire services including The Associated Press, InterPress News Service, Xinhua, Kyodo News and Deutsche Presse Agentur. As of mid-June over 580 on-line news articles have been written, covering 54 countries and  in 14 different languages.  The number of downloads of the GSR on the day of the launch was more than double than those of last year (3,800 downloads versus 1,800 in 2013); traffic on the REN21 Twitter and Facebook accounts and the REN21 Renewables Interactive map also increased significantly. 
The REN21 Secretariat would like to thank all of its network members for their help in making this such a successful report and for widely distributing the press release. The GSR is truly a collaborative effort!.

Getting Ready for 2015!

The production process for the GSR 2015 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 to express your interest in contributing to the GSR 2015 as well as to submit any suggestions for additions or improvements to the final report or to the production process.

News from the REN21 Network


Global Wind Day: Energy independence

Global Wind Day, celebrated annually on 15 June, put the spotlight on energy dependence. The six biggest fossil fuel importers in the world – the EU, China, the US, Japan, Korea and India - spend over $1,680 billion per year to import polluting coal, oil and gas.  “Recent events in Ukraine have shown us once again that reducing dependence on fossil fuel imports and replacing them with renewable energy has become an urgent matter. Not only does this make sense in terms of increased energy security but it also helps to avert catastrophic climate change; and the economics of wind has become very attractive”, said Steve Sawyer, GWEC secretary general.  

Importing coal, oil and gas is not only expensive, it also has a number of disadvantages, such as increased CO2 emissions and pollution; vulnerability to price fluctuations on the world market; supply disturbances and exposure to political decisions and pressure. Many energy-importing countries are desperately seeking to diversify their energy mix. The good news is that renewable energy can completely or partially replace imported energy, thereby enhancing their energy security. For more information, please contact: Lauha Fried, GWEC.

Catalyzing Renewable Energy Investment 

Over the past year the Global Environment Facility (GEF) supported 20 renewable projects and 11 projects with renewable energy components.  The projects support the transfer of various renewable energy technologies including small hydro, waste to energy generation, wind power, solar PV, and biomass to energy. Through these projects, the GEF sets up innovative policy regulations, financing and market mechanisms.
Results from the various project included greenhouse gas emission reductions reaching 127 million tonnes of CO2 eq. A GEF investment of $3.6 million, supporting the use of mini and micro hydropower-based mini-grids as part of a government-lead rural electrification strategy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is estimated to avoid 300 thousand tonnes (kt) CO2 eq. 
The project runs from June 2013-July 2014 and covers the following countries: Algeria, Argentina, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Chile, China, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela. The GEF grant to these 20 projects amounts to $63.7 million and has been supplemented by $468.6 million in co-financing. Click here for more information.

IPCC AR5 Scenarios Available 

IIASA has released the scenario database for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The IPCC AR5 scenario database comprises 31 models and 1,184 scenarios. In an attempt to be as inclusive as possible, an open call for scenarios was made to researchers worldwide. Per IPCC protocol, scenarios must have been already published in peer-reviewed literature; contain a minimum set of variables, including documentation; fully represent the energy system; and provide data out to at least 2030.

A majority of the scenarios come from model comparison projects such as Assessment of Climate Change Mitigation Pathways and Evaluation of the Robustness of Mitigation Cost Estimates (AMPERE), the Energy Modeling Forum 27 (EMF-27), Low Climate Impact Scenarios and the Implications of required tight emissions control strategies (LIMITS) and other projects. The database is open to the public. 

Release of Global Bioenergy Statistics: A first

Launched at the World Bioenergy 2014 conference in Jönköping, Sweden the “WBA Global Bioenergy Statistics 2014” report looks at all aspects of the bioenergy sectors: supply, conversion and end use. Data for global, continental and regional distribution of biomass since year 2000 are also provided. 
The report shows the growing significance of biomass in the global energy mix. In 2011, 18.3% of the global energy consumption was from renewable energy sources, with bioenergy contributing 14.1%, predominantly from solid biomass sources.  More than 90% of the biomass used is for heating with the remainder used in electricity and transport sector.

Asia and Africa lead in the use of biomass for direct heat. The Americas share in biofuel production is more than 70% while Europe leads in using biomass for heat and electricity in energy conversion plants. The report also includes information on specific sectors, including pellets, charcoal production, traditional biomass and pyrolysis oil. This report is the first in a series of annual bioenergy statistical reports to be published by WBA; feedback is welcome. Click here to download the full report.

REN Alliance: 100% Renewable Energy

A side-event ‘Sustainable Technology Integration Towards 100% Renewable Energy - Case Studies’ explored the reality of a 100% renewable energy supply by illustrating how renewable energy technologies are working together, what  the real costs of renewable energy are, and how achieving a 100% renewable energy supply before the end of this century is possible.   
The event was held 11 June at the Bonn Climate Change Conference with Michael Taylor, from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as guest speaker.  Building on this event, the REN Alliance is partnering with IRENA to hold a webinar on this topic to be held July 1. Interested participants can register here.

The REN Alliance partners include the International Hydropower Association (IHA), the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), the International Geothermal Association (IGA), the World Bioenergy Association (WBA) and the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA). For more information please visit the website.

Call for Proposals: ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility

The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) is pleased to announce that the EREF Second Call for Proposals is now open. This initiative supports the installation of renewable energy-powered mini-grids and the establishment of a complementary management, operation and maintenance system. The overall amount available under this call is one million Euros. Following on the successful implementation of the First Call for Proposals, ECREEE is now looking specifically at the promotion of mini-grids, a technical solution that can often be the most feasible option to provide electricity to isolated communities.
The First Call for Proposals saw 41 projects selected with 30 under implementation and having reached completion.  Interested applicants have until 10 August to submit an application. The EREF Second Call for Proposals is supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). You can access the EREF 2 Guidelines here. 

Participation in International Off-grid Events

Earlier this month, ARE supported the Off-Grid Power Forum at Intersolar Europe 2014 (4-6 June). Here suppliers talked to potential customers and users, experts and foreign government representatives about solar off-grid power markets, presented case studies and project experiences and offered technical solutions. The Forum, which took place at the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) booth, was well attended and participating companies reported direct business contacts.  

ARE also co-convened the High Impact Initiative (HIO) on Clean Energy Mini-grids.  The meeting was a contribution to the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum which took place 4-6 June in New York, as part of the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. The HIO will contribute to SE4ALL objectives of achieving universal energy access and the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. Information about ARE and its activities can be found here.

High-impact Opportunity

UNEP is part of the the Clean Energy Mini-grids High Impact Opportunity (HIO). This new HIO will use the international framework of SE4ALL to further enable, enhance and promote existing and upcoming efforts in the sector, with a view to increasing deployment and market transformation. A co-ordination group, including ARE, GIZ, EUEI-PDF, UNF, UNEP, UK DFID, REN21 and the SE4ALL GFT will guide the activities of the HIO during the first year of its operations, engaging a wider membership and coordinating startup activities.  UNEP's role is to co-ordinate a programme to demonstrate the potential clean energy hybrid mini-grids in remote areas of developing countries as an investment opportunity. The work will identify relevant locations, undertake extensive community engagement to fully understand the potential local markets, and then prepare business plans that indicate a commercially viable (and therefore sustainable) operation.   For more information about UNEP's role in this HIO, please contact Dean Cooper.

Upcoming Events

July 2014

Clean Energy Week (CEC)
Sydney, Australia, 22-25 July 2014 | Event details

August 2014

World Water Week
Stockholm, Sweden, 31 August – 5 September 2014 | Event details

September 2014

29th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EUPVSEC2014)
Amsterdam, Netherlands, 22-26 September 2014 | Event details

October 2014

Local Renewables Conference 2014
Freiburg and Lörrach, Germany, 22-24 October 2014 | Event details

November 2014

Windaba (GWEC)
Cape Town, South Africa, 3-5 November 2014 | Event details

RELACCX 2014: Renewable Energy Latin America & Caribbean Conference & Exhibition
Fajardo, Puerto Rico, 20- 21 November 2014 | Event details

December 2014

Lima, Peru,1-12 December 2014 | Event details

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