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Newsletter - March 2015

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Dear Reader,

I hope this latest REN21 Newsletter edition finds you well at the start of spring in the Northern hemisphere. The year began with a gathering of renewable energy experts in January at the IRENA Assembly/World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, which established itself as the “Davos for Renewables”.  Latest trends confirm sharp cost reductions and new record levels of annual installed capacities, all of which will be featured in the upcoming REN21 Renewables 2015 Global Status Report, to be launched at the Vienna Energy Forum mid-June. 

As documented in REN21’s 10 year publication, the past decade has the set the wheels of progress in motion for a global energy transition with renewables which, are accelerating in many parts of the world. The IEA’s recent announcement confirms that the ongoing shift to renewable energy and energy efficiency is directly effecting CO2 emissions. For the first time in 40 years, the world’s economy grew while CO2 emissions decreased, mainly due to renewable energy uptake in China and elsewhere. This news sends an encouraging signal: renewables deployment plays a key role in climate change abatement, an important fact in view of COP21 at the end of 2015 in Paris.

SAIREC, the South Africa International Renewable Energy Conference, co-organised by the Department of Energy of South Africa, SANEDI and REN21—to be convened 4-7 October 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa—will  be another occasion to highlight the global uptake of renewables and its various co-benefits: abating climate change, increasing security of energy supply, ensuring access for all and creating economic opportunities and jobs.
We are happy to share with you the latest news from the REN21 network and the Secretariat and remain at your disposal for any further questions.
Best regards,
Christine Lins
Executive Secretary of REN21

News from the REN21 Secretariat

Your Input Needed!

We are happy to announce that the Round II Review draft of the GSR 2015 is ready for your expert input. We invite your comments on the draft, which can be accessed on REN21+. The review draft includes the following:
--Distributed Renewable Energy in Developing Countries (Section)
--Feature : Using Renewables for Climate Change Adaptation (Section)
--Sidebars: Innovating Energy Systems: Power System Transformation; Distributed Renewable Energy in Developing Countries: Definition and Scope; Disruptive Distributed Renewable Energy Technologies; Women in Developing Countries and Renewable Energy Technologies
--Table: Distributed Renewable Energy in Developing Countries  

Feel free to focus on the sections most closely aligned with your specific knowledge and expertise. The review process will close Thursday 26 March, 23:00 Paris time. No comments will be accepted after that time. If you have any questions please contact us.

Renewables in South Africa  

The next International Renewable Energy Conference is in Cape Town, South Africa, 4-7 October.  Complementary to the 2 ½ day conference programme are a series of side events.  These events are an opportunity for organisations to showcase a particular project or work. Held in advance of the scheduled sessions, during breaks, or in the evening, these events allow participants to discuss in-depth a particular issue and afford an additional opportunity for networking.  Click here to apply for a side event. The deadline for submissions is 29 May, 2015.

Status of Renewables and Energy Efficiency in Southern Africa 

The REN21 Secretariat has begun the data collection process for its next regional report in sub-Saharan Africa. The SADC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report will map the current range of renewable energy development within the 15-country region, showcasing policy patterns and investment opportunities.  We welcome contributions from the renewable energy community! If you have any data or information on renewable energy or energy efficiency development in a particular SADC country, or for the region as whole, please let us know by completing our short Expression of Interest form. For any questions about the report process please contact us.

Call for Tender: UNECE Renewable Energy Status Report 

To facilitate the uptake of renewables in the ECE region, REN21 and UNECE have joined together to produce the UNECE Regional Renewable Energy Status Report. REN21 is looking for an authoring team to work with the Secretariat to produce this report.  For more information about the work and submitting a proposal please see the Terms of Reference, available here. The deadline date for the submission of proposals is: Friday, 3 April 2015, 17:00 (CET)

News from the REN21 Network

Solar World Congress 2015: Call for Participation
The International Solar Energy Society (ISES) and the Korean Solar Energy Society (KSES) are pleased to invite you to the ISES Solar World Congress 2015 in Daegu, Korea, 8 – 12 November 2015. Join us for this unique opportunity to present and share your work, connect with the international renewable energy community and learn about the latest in renewable energy developments world-wide.

Abstract proposal for conference papers are now being accepted.  All abstracts are blind-reviewed by at least three designated Scientific Committee members.  Accepted papers will be presented at the Congress, published with an individual DOI (a number used to uniquely identify an object such as an electronic document) in the conference proceedings and publicly accessible via a searchable online database. Submit your abstract on the SWC2015 websitedeadline for submissions is 30 March 2015.

ISES is committed to achieving the vision of 100% renewable energy for all, used efficiently and wisely. Achieving such a vision will require a transformation of our energy system, addressing technology developments, innovative financing, political will, and, most important, community acceptance of these transformative technologies. SWC 2015 will offer many examples of progress in all of these areas, and challenges that remain. Save the date for this exciting event. See you in Daegu!

Renewable Energy: The Best Option for People and the Planet

Access to energy is a universal issue â€” and one which has an impact on both people and nature. Improving access to clean, reliable and affordable energy will help with sustainable development, the creation of decent livelihoods and the provision of basic services for the poor — mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia where more than three billion people suffer from energy poverty. Overcoming energy poverty with clean and efficiently used renewables can enhance the economic development of the poorest, reduce deforestation and protect biodiversity. Providing clean and renewable energy services for the poor also avoids growth in GHG emissions. WWF explains how renewable energy’s positive social and economic impacts can go hand-in -hand with environmental benefits, improving health and livelihoods, providing reliable energy sources, and helping to alleviate poverty. Read more.

Saving Gigatons of CO2 Emissions: A new global initiative

The 1 Gigaton Coalition is a new global initiative.  It promotes efforts in the energy sector by helping countries measure and report their emissions' savings as a result of using renewable energy and employing energy efficiency; the initiative focuses principally on developing countries.

Most countries have a wide range of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and initiatives in place: however many of them do not measure or report the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions stemming from these activities. The 1 Gigaton Coalition will work with initiatives and organisations already involved in tracking and supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency activities to document progress to date.  The project will also promote and reinforce countries’ efforts to increase their access to sustainable energy services and help contribute to filling the emissions gap needed to limit global temperature rise to two degrees °C.

Data Contributors Needed!
The results of this work will be published in a 1 Gigaton Coalition Emissions Report. REN21 is supporting UNEP in this data collection process and is looking for information about energy efficiency in developing countries.  Do you have information to share? If so, become a data contributor. There are a number of topics for which you can help.  You can provide energy efficiency data for a specific developing country (or countries), or be a data contributor on policy trends and developments in energy efficiency. Why not become a peer reviewer to ensure that the report draft is a high quality publication? We need you input so please fill out an  Expression of Interest form, indicating how you could contribute to the 1 Gigaton Coalition Emissions Report.

The 1 Gigaton Coalition is a global voluntary initiative, with participation open to both developed and developing countries as well as to intergovernmental organisations, private sector, academia and civil society. Throughout 2015, the Coalition will hold a series of regional meetings and launch its first report in October of the same year. The initiative, led by the Government of Norway, was launched at COP20 in Lima, Peru by Norway’s Climate and Environment minister H.E. Tine Sundtoft and UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner.  To find out more on how to join the Coalition, please contact Zitouni Ould-Dada

'Advanced Biofuels' Factsheet now Available

This new factsheet—the seventh on advanced biofuels—details information on the advanced biofuels sector.  It is a continuation of WBA’s work on biofuels in the transport sector which was first presented in a WBA factsheet March 2013.  The factsheets detail technologies, feedstocks and products that make up the advanced biofuels as well as the current status of commercial production units. Building on this work, the WBA also contributed to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report ‘The Status of Biofuels Market: Regulatory, Trade and Development Perspectives’ in 2014/15.
WBA’s next fact sheet will be on thermochemical gasification.  It is currently under review and the final draft will be circulated among the members in March for comments before publication. Anticipated date of release is March/April 2015. To download the advanced biofuels factsheet or any of our previous fact sheets please consult our website.  

Consult the Best Practice Guide for Geothermal!

The Best Practice Guide for Geothermal Exploration' is for developers, investors and contractors to identify the most appropriate techniques to define geothermal resources. In the Guide you will find descriptions of geothermal plant types, the various development stages, data collection processes as well as exploration methods and strategies for different resources.  The guide was published January 2015 by the International Geothermal Association together with the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) and other partners. The guide can be downloaded here   

World Hydropower Congress Places the Future of Energy in the Spotlight

From 19–21 May 2015, the Yanqi Lake complex in Beijing, China, will host the 5th World Hydropower Congress. With global capacity for hydropower recently passing 1,000 GW, the Congress will look at the future development of hydropower, and the ways in which the sector can continue to address the challenges of climate change, energy and water security. Over the three days, the Congress will analyse the policy frameworks, technical challenges and changing investment landscapes that are shaping the environment for hydropower development around the world today.
Speakers from industry, as well as representatives from politics, finance, environment and technology, will meet to discuss and debate the strategy for the future of hydropower. Participants will explore case studies of good practice on a range of topics, and discuss how these best practices can be translated into viable solutions for use elsewhere. Discussions will focus on the sustainable development of new hydropower, as well as the optimal use of the world’s existing stock.  Click here for a full list of topics and speakers, as well as more detailed information regarding the Congress.

Transition to Modern District Energy Heating Systems Requires Unlocking a Sustainable Energy Future 

“District Energy in Cities: Unlocking the Potential of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy”, documents the results of a world-wide survey on low-carbon cities and the key factors underlying their success in scaling up energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as in meeting targets for zero or low greenhouse gas emissions.
District energy systems (DES) emerged as a best practice approach. A transition to modern district energy systems could provide 60 per cent of the required energy sector emissions reductions by 2050.  Primary energy consumption in heating and cooling would be lowered by 50 per cent, enabling cities and countries to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy or carbon neutral targets.
This UNEP publication is one of the first to provide concrete policy, finance and technology best practice guidance on addressing the heating and cooling sectors in cities through energy-efficiency improvements and the integration of renewable energy. The publication also consolidates data on the multiple benefits that cities and countries have achieved from a transition to modern DES. A reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions reduction as well as the use of local and renewable resources are listed as some of the additional benefits. Download the report here.

CKG Group Releases 2014 Workshop Report  

In October 2014 members of the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group (CKB Group) met in Brighton, UK to discuss, debate and demonstrate the latest innovations and experiences to support the streamlining of global knowledge brokering in the climate and development arenas.  How to expand and better integrate the burgeoning Community of Practice into climate and development spaces was also discussed. New tools were highlighted, including the joint REEEP-CT CN Climate Tagger.
Also discussed was the need for a new Climate Knowledge Grid to allow the automated integration of members’ data, knowledge and expertise, and to bridge gaps between different focal areas. The CKB Group coordination hub, hosted by REEEP in Vienna, will spearhead efforts to begin development of this Climate Knowledge Grid in 2015. To learn about the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group or to read the full report the workshop, click here. 

New Record in Worldwide Wind Installations: 50GW added in 2014 

According to preliminary figures gathered by WWEA, 2014 was another record year in wind power installations: More than 50 GW were added during 2014, bringing the total wind power capacity close to 370 GW. The market for new capacity was 40 % bigger than in 2013, and significantly larger than in the previous record year when in 2012 44.6 GW were installed. The top 12 countries alone installed 44.8 GW, with half of them setting new national records: China added 23.3 GW, reaching a total of 115 GW, Germany added 5.8 GW, and the US market recovering from the drop in 2013, reached 4.9 GW.

The newcomer of the year was Brazil with additional 2.8 GW. New national installation records were also achieved in Canada (1.9 GW) and Sweden (1 GW) with Denmark setting a new world with a wind power share of 39 % in its power supply. Worldwide, 370 GW of wind power now meet close to 5 % of the global electricity demand. To read more, click here.

Rethinking Corporate Global Strategies and Energy Policy

Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General of RES4MED, explains why the plunge in commodity prices should force a rethink in global energy polices and why utilities should overhaul their business propositions.

Upcoming Events


March 2015

Intercontinental Wind Power Congress 
Istanbul, Turkey, 30 March - 2 April 2015 | Event details


April 2015

ICLEI World Congress 
Seoul, Republic of Korea, 8-12 April 2015 | Event details

May 2015

2015 World Hydropower Congress
Beijing, China, 19-21 May 2015 | Event details

2nd SE4ALL Forum
New York, United States, 18-22- May 2015 | Event details

June 2015

Asia Clean Energy Forum (ADB)
Manila, Philippines, 15-19 June 2015 | Event details


European Sustainable Energy Week (European Commission)
Brussels, Belgium, 15-19 June 2015 | Event details


Vienna Energy Forum (UNIDO)
Vienna, Austria, 18-20 June 2015 | Event details

July 2015

Clean Energy Week (CEC)
Sydney, Australia, 22-25 July 2015 | Event details

September 2015

Brazil Windpower 2015
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1-3 September 2015 | Event details


31st European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Hamburg, Germany, 14-18 September 2015 | Event details


INTPOW Renewable Energy Conference 
Oslo, Norway, 22 September 2015 | Event details

October 2015

Capetown, South Africa, 4-7 October 2015 |
 Event details


World Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition (WWEA)
Jerusalem, Israel, 26-28 October 2015 | Event details

November 2015

ISES Congress
Daegu, Republic of Korea, 8-12 November 2015 | Event details

December 2015

Paris, France, 30 November-11 December 2015 | Event details

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