Tag Archives: Peru

The Switch to Renewable Power is a Battle We Cannot Afford to Lose (Op-Ed by IRENA Head)

(This article originally appeared in The Guardian on 24 December, 2015.)

AdnanZ-AminSince the final gavel fell at the Lima climate talks earlier this month, discussions have centred on one question: what did the talks actually accomplish?

After two weeks of intense negotiation, governments settled on a draft text that will hopefully lead to a successful global climate deal in Paris next December. While opinions vary regarding the success or failure of the outcome, there is another story emerging outside the negotiation room.

This year’s conference represented a highly-significant shift in the positive momentum to act on climate change. While negotiators engaged in contentious debates, businesses, non-governmental organisations and local authorities stepped forward to present their own climate initiatives and committed to more action on the ground.

In this shift, renewable energy took centre stage.

According to the Nazca Climate Action portal (named after Peru’s famous geoglyphs), 319 cities and 261 companies are taking action on climate change. Of the 913 total actions recorded so far, 402 relate to energy efficiency and 242 relate to renewable energy.

Private sector initiatives – such as RE100 and the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change – have also emerged to encourage businesses and investors to phase out fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy.

National governments are following suit. Peru plans to generate 60% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2024; Chile doubled its total renewable power capacity in 2014; Germany and Sweden will be carbon-free by 2050. The list goes on, including 144 countries with renewable energy targets, 50 countries supporting a total phase-out of carbon emissions by 2050 and 100 countries supporting zero emissions by 2100.

This action, and the hope it generates for an attainable solution to climate change, is being partly fuelled by the increasingly strong business case for renewable energy. Renewable energy is now the most cost-competitive source of power in many parts of the world.

In Dubai, solar-generated electricity reached a record-low price of six cents per kilowatt hour at an auction in November, cheaper than gas and coal. Similar low prices were achieved for solar power in Brazil in October.

Research by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) shows that a doubling of the world’s share of renewable energy by 2030, from about 18% in 2010 to 36%, would help avoid the worst effects of climate change and would be cheaper than not doing so.

When considering factors like the cost of ill health and environmental damage due to pollution, switching to renewable energy could save up to $740bn (£476bn) per year by 2030. If these costs were factored into energy prices, renewable energy and energy efficiency measures would be cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives.

Beyond cost, renewable energy improves public health and security, creates jobs, and boosts economic growth. Irena research finds that renewable energy jobs reached 6.5m globally in 2013 (the coal sector employed 7m people in the same year) and if steps are taken to double the share of renewable energy, this number could top 16m by 2030.

The momentum and action on renewable energy initiatives was not completely missed by negotiators in Lima. A carbon-free future is now formally part of the negotiations with the need to phase out fossil fuels considered one of the options in the draft negotiating text.

While this is a good first step, the emerging momentum must be injected further into the political discourse to fuel the agenda on climate action and spur a rapid transition to a low carbon future. Putting a price on carbon to create a level playing field for clean energy solutions will be an important driver of that agenda.

To accelerate the scale-up of renewables to the level required to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need urgent, bold steps, from leaders willing to take the short-term hits from those who would rather carry on with business as usual. This needs to happen at global and local levels, engaging everyone from governments and corporations to investors and individuals.

Vested interests and short-term thinking must be overcome. It will be a battle. But it is a battle we simply cannot afford to lose.

Head of IRENA and Peruvian Minister Discuss Renewables in Peru

Today, IRENA’s Director-General Adnan Amin, sat down with the Peruvian Minister of Energy and Mines, Eleodoro Mayorga, to discuss the evolution of the Peruvian energy sector. They discussed the integration of renewable energy into Peru’s system as well as how IRENA can assist the country in reaching its goal of 60% of electricity from renewable sources by 2024 as recently announced in the Peruvian Energy Plan.

Earlier this year, the Peruvian Government and IRENA cooperated on a Renewables Readiness Assessment for the country. The assessment identifies further actions that need to be taken to expand the share of renewables in Peru, as well as how to better complement rural electrification and improve on-going efforts to foster the development of bio fuel in the country.

Peru Advances Renewable Energy Plans

“Welcome to the region with the highest renewable energy share in the world (electricity sector).” – Edwin Quintanilla Acosta, Peruvian Vice Minister of Energy at the launch event for the Geothermal Development Facility for Latin America

A new programme designed to support the development of geothermal energy in the Latin American region was launched today on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. Peru’s involvement in the Geothermal Development Facility is part of its plan to achieve 60% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

Earlier this year, the Peruvian Government and IRENA cooperated on a Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) for the country. The assessment identifies actions needed to further expand the share of renewable energy in Peru, as well as how to better complement rural electrification and improve on-going efforts to support the development of bio fuel in the country.

The RRA determines that Peru’s vast, untapped, renewable energy resources could play a key role in securing the necessary energy to fuel economic expansion while preserving the environment. It also highlights the need to prepare for renewable energy integration in transmission-grid expansion plans, particularly so that variable sources like solar and wind power can meet future electricity demand.

While the RRA process helps shape appropriate policy and regulatory choices, each country determines which renewable energy sources and technologies are relevant and consistent with national priorities.

More information on the IRENA RRA series.