Category Archives: COP21

IRENA Welcomes Paris Climate Agreement as ‘watershed for the global energy transition’

IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin issued the following statement after the adoption of the Paris Agreement at the COP21 Climate Conference:

“Yesterday the global community was united in voicing commitment for decisive, inclusive and coordinated action on climate change. The Paris Agreement provides a framework for international cooperation and sends a clear signal to all stakeholders to raise their ambition. Continue reading IRENA Welcomes Paris Climate Agreement as ‘watershed for the global energy transition’

Clean Energy Corridor Initiative Expands to West Africa

A star-studded panel of eight key African leaders convened on the sidelines of COP21 yesterday to discuss plans to meet Africa’s current and future energy needs through renewable energy.

Africa is going through a sustained period of economic growth and transformation with consistent GDP growth rates of 6 to 7% per year. If current growth rates are maintained, Africa’s GDP will increase three-fold by 2030 and seven-fold by 2050. To meet growing electricity demand, and to improve electricity access, Africa must triple or quadruple its current capacity.

Thankfully, the continent has huge stores of renewable energy from wind and solar, to geothermal and hydropower. Analysis shows that renewable energy could feasibly meet half the continent’s power needs by 2030. Continue reading Clean Energy Corridor Initiative Expands to West Africa

The Reliability of Renewable Energy Systems: Why the Conventional Wisdom Is Wrong

Originally published at The Huffington Post

For the first time at any UN climate conference, renewable energy is taking center stage from now through “Energy Day” on December 7th. And for good reason.

Renewable energy, no longer the new kid on the block, is now capturing market share from fossil fuels and nuclear energy at an unprecedented rate. The world installed more renewable energy capacity over the past three years than nuclear and fossil fuels combined, disrupting the energy sector and the business case for conventional energy models.

Fact-based arguments and objective scientific evidence aren’t given enough attention in the struggle to win the hearts and minds of decision makers and the public. Some of this may be chalked up to what academics refer to as “incumbents’ inertia” in the face of technological change. Some point to more sinister motives by those who have the most to lose financially from a changing industry. Continue reading The Reliability of Renewable Energy Systems: Why the Conventional Wisdom Is Wrong

Energy Day at COP21: Unlocking Climate Solutions

An increasing number of governments, businesses and cities are taking action to accelerate the ongoing renewable energy transition. To spur momentum at COP21, yesterday was designated Energy Day in the context of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA).

As described on the LPAA website, “The Lima-Paris Action Agenda brings both state and non-state actors together on the global stage to accelerate cooperative climate action now and into the future in support of the new, universal climate change agreement which governments will reach in Paris.”

Given the massive global focus on the Paris negotiations, it was no surprise that a slew of exciting new commitments were announced. The program for the day was literally packed with speakers and discussion panels. Continue reading Energy Day at COP21: Unlocking Climate Solutions

RE-Energising the Future: Renewable Energy Solutions Showcased in Paris

Renewable energy solutions, innovation and action were showcased yesterday in Paris at the ‘RE-Energising the Future’ international conference – a gathering of governments, businesses and civil society organized by IRENA and several partners.

Government representatives including Moroccan Energy Minister Abdelkader Amara, Governor Jerry Brown of California, and Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, inspired the audience with their ambitious plans for scaling up renewable energy. A central feature of the discussion was that renewable energy is a key solution to three existential security challenges: climate, economy and energy supply. It was noted that having strong policy in place is essential for accelerating energy efficiency and the deployment of renewables at the scale and speed necessary to address the climate challenge. Continue reading RE-Energising the Future: Renewable Energy Solutions Showcased in Paris

Renewable Energy: A Win-Win Solution for Islands

On 2 December at COP21 in Paris, IRENA and Germany hosted an event to celebrate and strengthen win-win renewable solutions for small island developing states (SIDS).

Island states are on the front lines of climate change, threatened by sea level rise, tidal surges as storms increase in intensity, and decreased food security as the ocean becomes increasingly acidified. By adopting transformative renewable energy strategies, island states demonstrate the kind of leadership required to deal with the climate crisis. Continue reading Renewable Energy: A Win-Win Solution for Islands

Harnessing the Earth’s Heat for Climate Action

Tapping into the earth’s heat to produce geothermal energy offers the world enormous benefits. Proven resources exist in nearly 90 countries, but 90% of it still remains underground. For this reason, IRENA hosted a high-level workshop during COP21 to discuss the potential of this promising source of renewable energy, and ways to overcome the barriers which hold it back.

First some good news:

Mr. Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland – the world’s leader in harvesting geothermal energy – explained that 90% of all space-heating and close to 30% of all electricity in Iceland comes from geothermal sources. And that share will continue to grow as a result of vigorous expansion plans.

Mrs. Soifiat Tadjiddine Alfeine of Comoros described how the island is currently exploring its geothermal potential, and is in the planning phase for a 10MW geothermal plant with support from New Zealand. It is expected that geothermal energy could play a major role in addressing the island’s energy needs.

Indonesia plans to invest USD 20 billion to install an additional 2GW of capacity over the next 10 years, tripling its current installed capacity.

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As for the less good news:

Speakers identified a range of challenges which the industry faces. These include: risks of exploration; high upfront development costs; human resource limitations; and regulatory difficulties. Moreover the simple lack of awareness about the promise and benefits of geothermal energy is a major barrier to its development – but also perhaps the easiest to overcome in the end. It was emphasized, however, that none of these obstacles are insurmountable.

Which brings us to some very good news:

On December 7, Energy Day at COP21, the Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA) will formally launch. The GGA will address investment challenges and help create the conditions for a rapid expansion of this key renewable resource. Its aim will be to break through existing barriers and achieve a 500% increase in global installed capacity for geothermal power generation, and a 200% increase in geothermal heating by 2030.

In development for two years, the GGA has attracted more than 40 countries and institutional partners. Its ambition will be nothing short of ensuring hundreds of millions of people are able to benefit from this clean and reliable source of renewable energy.