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COP23 Renewable Energy Day: Action on Climate and Accelerating Energy System Transformation

Governments of Fiji, Germany and United Arab Emirates together with IRENA and Deutsche Post DHL Group, host ‘COP23 Renewable Energy Day’ to accelerate energy transition

A year on from the Paris Agreement coming into force, COP23 under Fiji’s Presidency and hosted by Germany, is firmly positioned as the COP for implementation and action on climate. With that in mind, more than 300 delegates attended COP23 Renewable Energy Day, organised by IRENA together with the Governments of Fiji, Germany and the UAE and Deutsche Post DHL Group, to accelerate the energy transition.

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Here’s a short breakdown of what happened during the day:

Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA welcomed delegates with this opening statement. “Renewable energy is good for climate and good for growth, which is the key message that we are bringing to this climate change conference,” setting the stage for address that made a case for strengthening renewable energy ambition in the pursuit of climate and economic goals. “If we are serious about tackling climate change, we need to decarbonise the energy sector,” he said. “We believe that energy transition is not only technically feasible but also economically attractive as it will fuel economic growth and create new employment opportunities.”

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The Energy Transition

Investments will flee decline and flood to growth

The energy transition will be fast, dramatic and soon, said Trusted Sources energy strategist, Kingsmill Bond, to Renewable Energy Day attendees, explaining the inflection point for renewable energy and peak fossil fuels is just around the corner – which will result in private capital fleeing areas of decline and flooding to areas of growth, such as renewables.

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Amani Abou Zeid, the African Union’s Commissioner for Energy and Infrastructure; Rainer Baake, Germany’s State Secretary for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; and Sebastian Kind, Argentina’s Undersecretary for Renewables, in the Ministry of Energy and Mining then discussed perspectives on the transition.

Rainer Baake, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany – co-hosts of the event said renewables are central to economic growth and are key to the Paris Agreement.

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“Renewable energy is a key element for a profound and accelerated global energy transition that will not only fundamentally modernize our economies, create growth and innovation, but it will also help to successfully implement the Paris Agreement.”

Co-host the UAE, offer further support to the economic case for renewable energy

His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment in the UAE said: “The rapid deployment of renewable energy has been the dominant force in the global efforts to address climate change, and the UAE is proud to be playing its part. The UAE firmly believes that renewables makes economic sense, which has been proven by the creation of jobs and industries. We will continue to scale-up renewable energy deployment through the region’s first national Climate Change Plan 2050 to meet our ambitious NDC targets.”

The United States remains committed to the Paris Agreement

Achieving the goals set within the Paris Agreement remains a key priority for the US too, said California State Governor Jerry Brown, who emphasised that climate action is taking place right across America.

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“Climate change is real, and it presents a threat to global security and prosperity that is beyond comprehension. At a state level, at a city level and at a business level right across the United States of America there is recognition of that threat, there is collective intention to fight it, and there is tangible progress in the pursuit of a sustainable future,” said Governor Brown.

“This conference has offered us (the US) a tremendous opportunity to communicate the fact that the US remains committed to the Paris Agreement and we look forward to building the alliances and partnerships necessary, across governments and industry, to accelerate sustainable solutions and help us avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

Under Governor Brown’s leadership the state is in the process of adopting one of the most ambitious renewable energy goals in the world: a new energy law will require California to produce 50% renewable energy by 2026, 60% by 2030, and 100% by 2045.

Renewable Energy Day hosts Deutsche Post DHL Group, is a major German company with bold low-carbon targets of its own. Their CEO Frank Appel, shared how corporations have a responsibility to help reduce carbon emissions and promote clean energy..

Dr. Frank Appel, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Post DHL Group said:

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“Our commitment to be zero emission by 2050 requires a fundamental rethinking of our business activities. For Deutsche Post DHL Group, re-evaluating our business decisions through the prism of sustainability has resulted in us questioning our established way of doing things. More than ever before, we are harnessing the energies of our employees in creating a company-wide spirit of innovation and sustainability to provide solutions not only to benefit our customers but also to be a benchmark in our industry.”

Explorer and pilot of Solar Impulse — the world’s first solar-powered plane to circumnavigate the globe — Bertrand Piccard, spoke about the need to push the energy transition beyond existing boundaries. And Alexy Tarasov, Head of the Laboratory of New Materials for Solar Energetics at Moscow State University, described the future solar technology that will help transform the energy sector.

China – the world’s largest renewable energy market – is at the forefront of the global energy transition. The Chinese energy industry is also making enormous strides in addressing the country’s environmental challenges. A special address by Shu Yinbiao, Chairman of State Grid Corporation of China, and a presentation by Zhang Lei, CEO, Envision Energy, shared their insights on the ongoing paradigm shift in China.

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It was a day of optimism for the future of our climate, and bullishness on the trajectory for growth in renewable energy and as the programme wound to an end, Monika Jones, Deutsche Welle presenter and the event’s moderator, reminded us that…

A stream of the afternoon sessions can be re-watched on IRENA’s Facebook page, or on this page below.

IRENA Coalition for Action Launches #Renewables4Climate Campaign

New campaign highlights renewable energy as key climate solution

Recent findings from the World Meteorological Organization show that last year’s concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere increased at an unprecedented pace. While this rapid increase in concentrations can be attributed to a culmination of factors, energy-related emissions continue to represent up to two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the sector’s emissions is critical to meeting climate goals, and achievable with renewables.

Starting this week, the global community will gather for two weeks in Bonn, Germany for the twenty-third UN Climate Conference, COP23, with the hope to accelerate international climate action by assessing the implementation of the Paris Agreement.  To coincide with these discussions, IRENA and its Coalition for Action partners have initiated a new #Renewables4Climate global campaign to raise awareness about renewable energy as a key solution to climate change. Continue reading IRENA Coalition for Action Launches #Renewables4Climate Campaign

A Renewable Future Lecture Series in Bonn

New lecture series highlights the political, technological, financial, socio-economic, commercial, and regional opportunities and challenges for a future powered by renewables.

Starting this autumn and continuing into 2018, IRENA and the “Sustainable Development in International Cooperation” coordination unit of the University of Bonn have organised a lecture series that will analyse and discuss the political, technological, financial, socioeconomic, commercial and regional opportunities and challenges of a renewable energy powered future. Continue reading A Renewable Future Lecture Series in Bonn

Germany’s Commitment to Renewables Helped Drive Down Costs

The global energy elite gather today in Berlin to discuss progress and chart new direction in the ongoing global transition to renewable energy. The two-day Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue – towards a global Energiewende brings together energy policy experts and representatives of politics, industry and civil society to shape new energy policy and drive future progress.

The Director-General of IRENA Adnan Z. Amin, delivered a keynote address at the event today, highlighting the global impact of Germany’s early innovation and continuing commitment to the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies.

“Germany has long recognised technological innovation as a crucial component of its Energiewende. This foresight and commitment has inspired the innovation and investment required for these technologies to become technically and commercially viable in developed and developing economies.”  Adnan Z. Amin

According to IRENA’s recent report Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014, the cost of generating power from renewable energy sources has reached parity or dropped below the cost of fossil fuels for many technologies in many parts of the world. This holds true even without financial support and despite falling oil prices. Solar photovoltaic (PV) is leading the cost decline, with solar PV module costs falling more than 75 per cent since the end of 2009 and the cost of electricity from utility-scale solar PV falling 50 per cent since 2010.

The report also indicates that costs for Germany’s small-scale residential rooftop solar PV systems fell 64 per cent between 2008 and 2014, achieving the lowest costs in the developed world, second only to China. Germany also has the world’s largest cumulative installed capacity of solar PV, the third largest installed capacity for both onshore and offshore wind, and the largest installed biomass capacity.

“Germany has one of the most ambitious renewable energy targets in the world under the Energiewende, promising 60 per cent of renewable energy in final energy consumption and 80 per cent of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2050. IRENA applauds Germany’s leadership in this sector.” Adnan Z. Amin