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Newsletter - March 2016

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Dear Reader, 

As spring finally settles here in the Northern Hemisphere, this year’s first quarterly REN21 newsletter provides an overview of a packed start of 2016. REN21 began the year with a brainstorming workshop titled “Regional Cooperation on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency”.  Co-hosted by REN21 and UNIDO, the workshop brought together regional data providers and topical renewable energy and energy efficiency experts.  Over three days these experts discussed on-going initiatives and future strategies to foster rapid deployment of renewables and energy efficiency. Participants also discussed the role of renewable energy in the transport and heating and cooling sectors and how, through their own work, they could help increase the share of renewables in these sectors.
Immediately after, REN21 moved premises. The UNEP offices have relocated and we have moved with them.  Our new mailing address is:  REN21 c/o UNEP, 1 rue Miollis, Building VII, 75015 Paris, France. Phone, fax and email addresses all remain the same.
After meeting many renewable energy colleagues at the “Davos for Renewables”—the annual IRENA Assembly and the World Future Energy Summit in January in Abu Dhabi—last week saw another high-level get-together of the renewable energy community.  Participants at the 2nd edition of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue in Berlin debated how to advance the energy transition with renewables and energy efficiency globally.
Personally, I was struck to see how much the debate focussed on the need to integrate power, heating and transport markets as well as the emphasis of many interventions for demand-response and energy efficiency.
In his opening statement, German Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier compared the ambition of the German “Energiewende project” to the US “Man to the moon”. He is right.  The Energiewende is definitely a challenging project, requesting a change of mind-set about the ways we consume and produce energy.  Experts in the room were in agreement that, unlike the “Man to the moon” project”, we know that the energy transition with renewables and energy efficiency is feasible and will happen, hopefully quickly enough to reach the 1.5C objective.
Last week’s IEA’s announcement that 2015 was the second year in a row where global emissions from the energy sector did not increase despite economic growth is an encouraging sign that we are moving in the right direction. We have the technological solutions to address this challenge.  We have no excuse not to commit to an energy transition that moves us towards 100 % renewable energy and energy efficiency, thereby ensuring energy access for all.
Happy spring/autumn,

Christine Lins
Executive Secretary
News from the REN21 Secretariat

GSR-Open for Review

Round II of the Renewables 2016 Global Status Report peer review process starts 1 April and will run until 10 April. This year’s GSR draws on information collected from 144 countries, representing 94% of the global population and 91% of global GDP. The Jobs Sidebar, Characteristics & Cost Sidebar and Table; Global Overview; and the technology sections are available for comment. Please mark your calendars accordingly!  If you have any specific questions about the process, do not hesitate to contact Rana Adib.


EAC Review

A review draft of the EAC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report will be available for comment 22 March - 3 April.  If you would like to participate in this review process, please contact Rana Adib

Internship Openings

REN21 is accepting applications for its autumn internships. Each internship starts 29 August and runs  six months; both are paid. A full description of the requirements and responsibilities, as well as instructions for applying, are available here. The application process closes 1 May.  Spread the word!

Data/Social Media Intern
  • Compile and analyse data for the REN21 Renewables Interactive Map
  • Support REN21 in its social media activities and track usage statistics
Community Management/Research Intern
  • Support REN21 in its community management activities
  • Carry out research and data analysis for the GSR


The REN21 family is growing! Three new members joined REN21 at the beginning of 2016: SLoCaT (sustainable transport); GOGLA (off-grid lighting) and ALER (renewable energy association for Portuguese speaking countries). REN21 now counts 57 organisations and governments as its members.

GSR 2015 Now Available in Korean 

REN21 is pleased to announce that the Renewables 2015 Global Status Report is now available in Korean. Our thanks go to Lee Sang-hoon for his work on this.

REmap: Roadmap for a Renewable Energy Future

This second edition of the International Renewable Energy Agency's global roadmap provides an in-depth perspective on the energy transition in 40 economies, representing 80% of global energy use. It offers concrete technology options and outlines solutions to accelerate renewable energy growth. The age of renewables is here. But without concerted action, they cannot reach their potential soon enough to meet international climate and development targets. For decision makers in the public and private sectors alike, this roadmap sends an alert — on the opportunities at hand and the costs of not taking them. The report finds that doubling renewables in the global energy mix by 2030 is not only feasible, but cheaper than not doing so. Economic savings would far exceed the costs. It would create more jobs, boost economic growth and save millions of lives annually through reduced air pollution. It would also, when coupled with greater energy efficiency, put the world on track to keep the rise of temperatures within 2°C, in line with the Paris Agreement. But to meet that goal, renewable energy deployment must happen six times faster than it is today. Download the full report here 
Honing Methodology for Quantifying Renewables and Energy Efficiency Emissions Savings 

Plans are underway for a 2016 report, which will update the figures from the first report, “Narrowing the Emissions Gap: Contributions from renewable energy and energy efficiency activities”, launched at COP21. The report will also examine the implications of the Paris agreement and the INDCs for the energy sector. In collaboration with key partners, the 1GtC plans to hold a series of consultations to review the methodology and address issues of common interest.  There will be a workshop in Bonn during the May UNFCCC session, and a series of consultations in the second half of 2016.
Both the Coalition's report and the Paris Agreement signalled the importance of quantifying countries’ contributions to reducing emissions through enacting renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes. The 2015 report analysed nearly 2000 bilateral energy projects and used data on renewable energy and energy efficiency collected by REN21 for the Coalition. The report estimated that bilateral renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives could reduce emissions by 1.7Gt CO2/year by 2020.

The 2015 report was officially launched by Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Borge Brende, UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner, UN Special Envoy for Climate Change Mary Robinson, Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources Vincent Biruta, and UK’s Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth.

For more information, please contact us or visit us online.

100% RE and Sustainable Development: Where is the link?

The question is no longer whether the world will transition to 100% renewable energy (RE) but rather how long the transition will take and how it can be carried out to maximise benefits today and for future generations.  In response to this question, 40 local government representatives and practitioners from 10 countries developed guidelines to help support cities and communities to transition to 100% RE thereby boosting sustainable development locally. They are available in this new report.

All over the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, jurisdictions are demonstrating that transitioning to 100% RE is a political decision and an ethical imperative. By pioneering this movement, local governments are incubators of regionally appropriate best practices and policies.  The report  summarises the outcomes of this discussion and provides insights on how local governments conceptualize 100% RE.

(Natural) Power to Morocco

Morocco is setting the pace in Africa with its drive and the speed of implementation of its renewable energy programme. It is currently the most ambitious country in the Middle East and North African region.  Along with South Africa, Morocco is it leading renewable energy development on the continent. You can read more about these developments here.

33 GW of New Hydropower Capacity Added in 2015

A new International Hydropower Association (IHA) briefing reveals that 33 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2015, including 2.5 GW of pumped storage.
“2016 Key Trends in Hydropower” reveals that at the end of 2015, the world’s total installed hydropower capacity reached 1,211 GW, including 145 GW of pumped storage. The briefing also highlights ten of the most significant trends for hydropower development, including China’s increasing global influence, a rise in activity in Africa, and the growing influence of climate aspects on hydropower project design and rehabilitation.

“The latest data shows that the hydropower sector is continuing its strong growth trend across the world,” said Richard Taylor, IHA chief executive. “The new Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate action have emphasised hydropower’s vital role in meeting the world’s energy, water and climate challenges. Through its ability to support clean energy systems and provide multiple water services, hydropower can be the key to realising the ambitious global targets outlined at COP21”.

“2016 Key Trends in Hydropower” is an annual briefing built on IHA’s ongoing monitoring of the sector and data from the association’s global hydropower database, which contains information on over 11,000 of the world’s hydropower stations.

GWEC Offers a Warm Welcome to New Individual Members!

At the beginning of the year, the Global Wind Energy Council launched a new category of members – for individuals – who wanted to demonstrate their role in supporting wind.  Check out who’s joined up so far, and read about their reasons for doing so.  Play your part too and sign up today.

EuroSun 2016:  Call for participation now open 

The conference theme for the 11th International Solar Energy Society (ISES) EuroSun 2016 conference is "Solar Energy for Buildings and Industry". Held 11-14 October, 2016 in Palma de Mallorca the event will feature topic sessions, keynote speakers, plenary sessions and open discussion forums. There are also a number of social events where participants will have the opportunity to network, to meet old friends and to make new contacts. 

Abstracts are currently being accepted for the event. Selected papers, presented at the EuroSun 2016, will be published in the ISES online open-access conference proceedings database. All papers published will be assigned a DOI. Authors of a selection of highest quality papers from each theme, as determined by the Theme Chairs, will be recommended to submit their papers to Solar Energy, the official ISES scientific journal.  All papers submitted to the Solar Energy journal undergo a rigorous review process. The Call for Participation is open until April 7, 2016.  Submit your abstracts online.

EuroSun 2016 is hosted by the University of the Balearic Islands and will take place in the Hotel Palas Atenea, Palma de Mallorca. 

Call for Papers:  WWEC2016 Tokyo

 WWEA and the WWEC2016 Tokyo Organizing Committee are pleased to invite the world wind community to submit papers and presentations for WWEC2016.  Headlined as "Concentrating efforts for wind power growth in Japan and worldwide”, the event runs 31 October – 1 November 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. If you are interested in submitting an abstract please do so before 30 April 2016. You can click here for more information or on the conference website.  
The 1st World Community Power Conference WCPC2016, “One year after Paris – five years after Fukushima: Community power for a renewable future!” will take place 3 November in Fukushima City.  The event, by invitation of the Mayor of Fukushima, is hosted by WWEA, ISEP Japan and the Japan Community Power Association and supported by various international organisations.  Submit abstracts before 31 May 2016.  Further information can be found here.

You Are Invited: 2nd Off-Grid Power Forum @ Intersolar Europe 2016


Based on last year’s success and the positive feedback received from industry and governments, Intersolar Europe is joining forces with ARE, BSW-Solar and OTTI to host the 2nd Off-Grid Power Forum. The Off-Grid Power Forum runs 21-24 June and serves as the meeting point for the global off-grid sector and the scientific community. In parallel, ARE invites you to meet ARE Board and team members to learn about interesting opportunities for business growth and matchmaking possibilities. There are open talks and company presentations as well as a wealth of information on the recent and upcoming developments in the decentralised renewable energy and rural electrification sector.  

There are also opportunities to present your projects and technologies at the Off-Grid Power Exhibition. You can:
•    exhibit at the Off-Grid Power Exhibition
•    make use of a presentation slot at the Off-Grid Power Forum
•    put your company in the spotlight with an exclusive sponsorship of the Off-Grid Power Networking Reception

Interested? Simply complete and return the registration form  and send it to Ling Ng by 15 April 2016.
ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility - EREF 2

ECREEE is pleased to announce the first edition of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF 2) booklet which provides a comprehensive summary of the clean mini-grids projects being implemented in the region through EREF.
The 2nd EREF call focused on mini-grids in peri-urban and rural areas.  Fifty-one proposals underwent a rigorous selection process with the five finalists implementing projects in Bukina Faso, Guniea, Niger, Cabo Verde and Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone. The newly released booklet presents these five clean mini-grids projects detailing each project’s objectives, main activities and expected results.  The soon-to-be announced third call of proposal (EREF 3) will again focus on clean energy mini-grids but with specific attention to those initiatives supporting and promoting productive uses of electricity (PUE).
For more details about this process and the winning projects, click here.

IGA in Bochum

We are pleased to announce that the Secretariat of the International Geothermal Association (IGA) will now carry out its operations from its headquarters in Bochum, Germany. On 17 February, 2016 Johannes Remmel, the Climate and Environmental Minister of the federal state of North Rhine Westphalia, officially kick-started Phase 2 of the IGA in Bochum. 

Phase 2 will see greater collaboration with industry partners and those international bodies working in the renewable energy sector. A communication platform on geothermal energy will be initiated and will include webinars, an increased social media component and other tools. This work will build on the re-branding exercise and strategy discussions that where initiated in 2015.  You can see photos of the ceremony here. Our thanks to EnergyAgency.NRW for taking them. 

Biomass: Contributing at least 150 EJ by 2035

WBA is pleased to announce the release of the factsheet “Global biomass potential towards 2035”. This comes at an opportune time as world leaders develop new renewable energy targets based on the Paris Agreement from COP21. For the Paris Agreement to succeed, an accelerated deployment of all renewable energy sources—including wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and bioenergy—needs to take place.

While the global supply of biomass was 56.2 EJ in 2012, WBA estimates that this can increase to 150 EJ by 2035 with 43% coming from agriculture (residues, by-products and energy crops), 52% from forests (wood fuel, forest residues and by-products of the forest industry) and 5% from waste streams.

Reaching 150 EJ by 2035 will require a wide range of government support policies that promote the sustainable production and efficient use of biomass for energy. Key criteria for agriculture in general and also for bioenergy deployment specifically are: improving the protection of agricultural land and soil quality; increasing yields; protecting biodiversity; and using water responsibly.  For more details, you can read the factsheet here.For more information, please contact us.

Preliminary SDG Index and Dashboard

In February 2016, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network published an SDSN Working Paper on a Preliminary Sustainable Development Goal Index and Dashboard, soliciting comments and suggestions through public consultation through 31 March 2016.

A preliminary country-level SDG index uses available data to measure SDG achievement across the 17 SDGs. The paper further proposes a SDG dashboard for OECD countries, which displays SDG data for each country and goal. This dashboard shall help stakeholders identify the most urgent priorities in each country and region, but also illustrates that even countries with a high overall SDG ranking might face challenges in implementing specific goals. You can find more information here.

Upcoming Events

April 2016

Middle East and North Africa Renewable Energy Conference (MENAREC)
Kuwait City, Kuwait, 4 April-6 April 2016 | Event details

Iceland Geothermal Conference
Reykjavik, Iceland, 26 April-29 Apri 2016 | Event details

May 2016

AWEA Wind Power Conference
New Orleans, USA 23 May-26 May 2016 | Event details

June 2016

Clean Energy Ministerial 7 (CEM7) 
San Francisco, California, 1–2 June 2016 
Event details

Asia Clean Energy Forum
Manila, Philippines, 6 June-10 June 2016 | Event details

European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Munich, Germany, 20 June-24 June 2016 | Event details

Munich, Germany, 21 June-22 June 2016 | Event details

G20 Energy Ministers Meeting
Beijing, China, 29–30 June 2016 Event details

August 2016

Brazil Windpower 2016 Conference and Exhibition
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 30 August-1 September 2016 | Event details



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