Category Archives: Energy Transition

An Ancient Route Renewed

China’s Belt and Road Initiative revives history for modern trade, development and renewable energy across Asia

Stretching thousands of kilometres, across mountains and deserts, the Silk Road holds a special place in history. Traversed by Marco Polo and named after one of its most precious goods, the trade route facilitated an exchange of ideas, technology, and animals between East and West, Asia, Europe and Africa. Though its relevance waned with the opening of sea routes between Asia and Europe, the rebirth of China’s economic power and ambitions over the last decade has rejuvenated the once dormant route.

No longer a winding caravan trail, China’s new Belt and Road Initiative aims to interconnect and bring development, stability, and resource security across 60 countries. At the centre of powering this economic ambition is renewable energy. Continue reading An Ancient Route Renewed

Spurring Renewable Energy Deployment in Central Asia

Abu Dhabi workshop gathers Central Asia regional stakeholders to explore strategies for seizing its vast renewable energy potential

Covering an area of over 4 million square kilometers and sitting at the crossroads of East, South, and West Asia, the countries of Central Asia have for millennia been at the centre of the exchange of ideas, people, and technology. And today, the region’s countries are sharing and collaborating to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy.
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Onshore Wind Industry Learning Fast

In recent decades, wind turbines have become a familiar sight in many countries. Onshore wind projects around the world now consistently deliver electricity for USD 0.04 per kilowatt‑hour (kWh), with some projects achieving as low as USD 0.03/kWh. Yet up-to-date cost data and reliable projections of future costs remain limited.

The “learning curve” — a concept borrowed from manufacturing — assesses the rate at which production costs fall as deployment grows due to manufacturing and technology improvements. As an analytical tool, the curve captures past evolution and is a useful tool for assessing potential future cost trends for a given technology. In short, it provides a useful estimate of how future costs will fall as deployment (measured in some kind of physical units) grows. Continue reading Onshore Wind Industry Learning Fast

Enabling Variable Renewables and Driving Down Emissions, with Electric Vehicles

At a media frenzied event last March, electric car manufacturer, Tesla, unveiled its Model 3. Priced to compete with conventional fossil-fuelled vehicles, it attracted over 325,000 reservations within a week.  The hype built around this vehicle, and several other fast and slick electric cars, is but a symptom of a much larger and growing movement across the motor vehicle industry, to cut the transport sector’s oil addiction and switch to electric power.

Globally the stock of electric vehicles is on the rise, and in 2015 more than one million electric vehicles were on the road. That number grew to more than two million in 2016, with China, the US, and several European countries leading the way in uptake. Continue reading Enabling Variable Renewables and Driving Down Emissions, with Electric Vehicles

Planning for Solar and Wind

Spurred by ambitious national commitments, international agreements and rapid technological progress, governments are increasingly choosing renewable energy to expand their countries’ power infrastructures. In 2014, renewables provided 23% of power generation worldwide, and with the adoption of more ambitious plans and policies, this could reach 45% by 2030.

Amid this accelerating transition, the variability of solar and wind energy — two key sources for renewable power generation — presents new challenges. It also raises questions, like ‘How do you power a country when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining?’ and ‘How does variable power fit with the delivery of reliable electricity?’

Continue reading Planning for Solar and Wind

Transforming the Power Sector, at IRENA Ministerial Meeting

Renewable energy, for three years running, has accounted for more new power generation capacity installed worldwide than all other sources combined. In 2015, over USD 270 billion were invested in solar PV and wind power, boosting capacity by 47 GW 63 GW respectively. This capacity is expected to only grow and efforts are now focusing on implementing an innovative enabling framework to integrate these technologies at the scale needed. But that is not a simple task and questions still remain: what technologies and tool are part of the power sector transformation? What still needs to be developed? And how can IRENA assist?
Continue reading Transforming the Power Sector, at IRENA Ministerial Meeting

Today’s Legislation for Tomorrow

A few years ago it would have been impossible for many to imagine that renewables would be in the position they are in today. Dramatic price drops and huge increases in investment and installed capacity have transformed renewables into a power source that can be part of supporting the global economy. But how can this momentum be maintained, and what role do policies have in bringing about a sustainable future?

“Lawmakers have a rich history of creating the policy and legal frameworks that can drive renewable energy deployment. Their role is even more critical as governments look to transform their energy infrastructure and markets,” said IRENA Director-General Adan Z. Amin, at IRENA’s second Legislators Forum on 13 January 2017. “By bringing together lawmakers from around the world concerned about energy issues, IRENA can better support their efforts to accelerate the energy transition.” Continue reading Today’s Legislation for Tomorrow