Tag Archives: energy efficiency

Renewables and Energy Efficiency: a Dynamic Duo

Maximising the synergy between the two crucial objectives can drastically reduce energy-related carbon emissions.

At present, our atmosphere has 407 parts per million carbon dioxide (CO2). According to NASA, we’d have to go back to 650,000 years to experience CO2 concentrations this high. The impacts of the high concentration of this climate-changing greenhouse gas in our atmosphere are being felt globally.

“Rethinking our energy sector is the key to addressing carbon emissions,” says Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre. “Almost every country in the world has made a commitment to reduce their carbon emissions through the Paris Agreement, but exactly how varies.” Continue reading Renewables and Energy Efficiency: a Dynamic Duo

Energy Efficiency Vital to Doubling Global Share of Renewables

It may sound obvious that efforts to scale-up renewable energy and efforts to improve energy efficiency are interlinked. We consume less energy overall when we implement energy efficiency measures like installing building insulation or efficient lighting. In parallel, as we add more renewable energy to the world’s energy mix, the share of renewable vs. non-renewable energy sources increases. One simple way to look at it is, the less energy we consume thanks to energy efficiency measures, the higher the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. But explaining the synergies and trade-offs between renewable energy and energy efficiency objectives gets a bit more complex.

Thanks to a first-of-its kind collaboration between IRENA and the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency (C2E2), and a joint working paper published today, we now have a better understanding of the interplay between renewable energy technology deployment and energy efficiency improvements. The paper finds that when energy efficiency and renewable energy potentials are combined, total global energy demand can be reduced by up to 25% by 2030.

Many people assume that only energy efficiency results in decreased energy use, but the use of renewable energy also contributes to reducing energy demand. The paper shows that energy efficiency measures would account for 50 to 75% of the total energy savings, with renewable energy delivering the rest. This is caused by the use of modern renewable energy technologies, such as: the adoption of efficient cook stoves which increase conversion efficiency 2-3 times, therefore requiring less fuel; the use of electrification technologies like geothermal or air heat pumps which consume small amounts of renewable power but deliver 3-4 times their consumption of power in the form of heating or cooling; and the switch to power technologies like solar and wind power, which require no thermal conversion and therefore no wasted fuel.

The working paper, Synergies Between Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, is the first outcome of a collaboration between C2E2 and IRENA. The partnership is based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, which aims to achieve three interlinked global objectives:

  1. Ensuring universal access to modern energy services.
  2. Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
  3. Doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix.

To ensure each objective is met, global agencies were identified to act as “hubs” for the objectives with C2E2 as the energy efficiency hub (objective 2) and IRENA is the renewable energy hub (objective 3). C2E2 and IRENA have partnered to fill knowledge gaps, share new ideas and technologies from countries leading in renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment, and explore the interaction between the two objectives.

The recent working paper finds that achieving the renewable objective is dependent on achieving the efficiency objective. Put simply, it is not possible to achieve a doubling of the renewable energy share through renewable energy deployment alone. The quantitative assessments are analysed using data for eight countries (China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States), which covers half of global energy use. It also shows that increasing the share of renewables results in a higher energy efficiency improvement rate.

The guiding document for IRENA’s role as renewable energy hub of the SE4All initiative is REmap 2030 – a global roadmap outlining a plan to double renewable energy in the world’s energy mix by 2030. REmap is the first global study of renewable energy potential built from the bottom-up, analysing 40 countries representing over 80% of global energy use. In addition to the power sector, the report looks at the three end-use sectors of buildings, industry and transport. The roadmap shows that doubling the renewable energy share in the global energy mix from 18% in 2010 to 36% by 2030 is not only technically feasible, but more affordable than the alternative. Doing so will also create jobs, reduce pollution and provide half of the emission cuts needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Renewable Energy Track At COP21: RE-Energising the Future

After years of negotiations between 193 countries, the climate conference in Paris (COP21) is expected to be a turning point in the fight against climate change. The energy sector, accounting for some two-thirds of all global emissions, must be a top priority for action if we are to keep global temperature rise below 2°C.

Accordingly, for the first time at any UN climate conference, renewable energy solutions will be showcased in a series of high profile events. This renewable energy track, named RE-Energising the Future (#REenergise), will demonstrate that renewable energy deployment offers a realistic means to meet our climate goals.

This page will house the most up-to-date information about IRENA’s activities at COP 21. Check back for more information as it becomes available.

Event Details Event Description Event Partners
1 December
8:45am – 10:00am
@ Peruvian Pavilion
Global Geothermal Alliance High-Level Event
A high-level event for GGA member countries and partner institution to present concrete actions towards the accelerated deployment of geothermal energy.
GGA brochure (PDF)


2 December
6:00pm – 7:30pm
@ German Pavilion
The SIDS Lighthouses Initiative, High-Level Event
IRENA and BMUB of Germany will host a high-level panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges of advancing renewable energy deployment on islands. SIDS Lighthouses Initiative brochure (PDF)


4 – 5 December
RE-Energising Thematic RE Workshops
This series of thematic workshops, led by different organizational partners, will focus opportunities and benefits offered by renewables in a range of sectors. 

4 December:

5 December:

  • RE in the MENA Region
    11.00am – 12.30pm @ GCC Pavilion

RE track partners (EC, IRENA, REN21, UAE, SER)

5 December
9:30am – 5:30pm  @UNFCCC Blue Zone, Plenary 2
Lima Paris Action Agenda Day
This day will showcase high-level action across a broad range of sectors being addressed in the Lima-Paris Action Agenda.


6 December
9:30am – 7:00pm
@ Palais Brongniart Paris
RE-Energising the Future, High-Level Event
High-level speakers will share their visions for a future powered by renewable energy. CEOs will describe what it took to get their companies to go for 100% renewables; government leaders will describe their ambitious plans for scaling up renewable energy investments; and industry leaders will describe innovations and breakthroughs for faster deployment. By special invitation only

RE track partners (EC, IRENA, REN21, UAE, SER)

7 December

Press conference:
9:15am – 10:00am
Press Conference Room 1
Hall 2

10:15am – 6:40pm
@ UNFCCC Blue Zone, Hall 4, Room 10

LPAA Energy Day at COP21
This is Energy Day at COP21. Major announcements will be made: new commitments, action plans, coalitions, innovative solutions etc. The morning session will focus on renewable energy and the afternoon session will focus on energy efficiency/access.

IRENA and Sustainable Energy for All

9 December
10:00 – 11:30am
@ Peruvian Pavilion
Sustainable Energy Marketplace – Caribbean & Latin America
IRENA and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have partnered to expand the Sustainable Energy Marketplace to Latin America and the Caribbean. The online platform connects project developers, financiers, and service providers to encourage and support the development and financial closure of sustainable energy projects. Marketplace brochure (PDF)


9 December
2:00 – 4:30pm
@ African Pavilion
Africa Clean Energy Corridor
This event, directed towards Africa Clean Energy Corridor (ACEC) stakeholders, will highlight progress made to date and plans for future growth of the initiative. ACEC brochure (PDF)


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