Global Status of Renewable Energy

Global Status of Renewable Energy


17 September 2015. Brussels. InfoPoint Lunch-Time Conference – Global Status of Renewable Energy: Ren21’s Renewables 2015 Global Status Report.

See full report (251 pages) + key findings report (30 pages).

The evolution of renewable energy over the past decade has surpassed all expectations. The last decade (2004–2014) saw a steady increase in the global demand for renewable energy. Global installed capacity and production from all renewable technologies have increased substantially; most renewable energy technologies saw significant cost reductions; support policies have spread throughout the world.

Examples in the agricultural field: (page 106 full report)
Irrigation: Diesel pumping systems fueled with biofuel, micro-hydro, solar PV, wind

  • Income opportunity: Growing more / new kinds of crops
  • Improvements: Better yields on existing land compared with rain-fed agriculture
  • Additional benefits: Less time spent watering crops

Agro-processing: Biodiesel pumps, micro-hydro, microgrids, solar dryers

  • Income opportunity:Adding value by refining agricultural products
  • Improvements: Increased throughput and lower costs
  • Additional benefits: Less time spent manually grinding, pounding, drying, etc.
Mechanical energy: Biodiesel pumps, micro-hydro
  • Income opportunity:Enabling welding and metalwork 
  • Improvements: Improved quality and speed of carpentry
  • Additional benefits: Time saved by mechanisation of repetitive designs
Cooking: Cleaner biomass cookstoves, biogas, solar cookers
  • Income opportunity:Sales and distribution of commercial modern fuels and stoves
  • Improvements: Cleaner and more cost-effective cooking
  • Additional benefits:Time saved in wood collection, cooking, and pot cleaning; improved health
Cooling/refrigeration: Larger-scale solar PV and wind, biodiesel, and micro- and picohydro stations; biodiesel engines
  • Income opportunity:New markets for refrigerated products, e.g., milk, cheese, yoghurt and curd; fresh instead of dried fish
  • Improvements: Less waste of agricultural and fishery products, more income creation, safe storage of medications
  • Additional benefits:Reduced time and energy spent keeping goods fresh; lives saved with medications
Lunch conference:
  • Introduction Felice Zaccheo Deputy Head of Unit, DEVCO C5, Water, Energy, Infrastructures 
  •  Presentation Alexandra Sombsthay Policy officer in charge of International relations for renewables, DG ENER 
  • Christine Lins Executive Secretary of REN21 Closing remarks Piotr Tulej Head of Unit, DG CLIMA , Unit C1, Low Carbon Technologies
Presentation by Christine Lins: 

“Investment continued to spread to new markets throughout 2014, with Chile, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, and Turkey each investing more than USD 1 billion in renewable energy.”

“Europe remains the biggest investor in renewable energy R&D by far, spending 36% of the total (USD 4.3 billion)”

“Despite spectacular growth of renewable energy capacity in 2014, more than one billion people, or 15% of humanity, still lack access to electricity. Moreover, approximately 2.9 billion people lack access to clean forms of cooking. With installed capacity of roughly 147 GW, all of Africa has less power generation capacity than Germany”. ((see slide 21)

“When you look at investment relative to GDP, you get a completely different list of countries. The countries now are: Burundi, Kenya, Honduras, Jordan and Uruguay which clearly highlights the rapid advancement of renewable energy in developing countries.” (see slide 6)

The REN21 Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) provides an annual look at the tremendous advances in renewable energy markets, policy frameworks and industries globally. 
  • Each report uses formal and informal data to provide the most up-to-date information available. Reliable, timely and regularly updated data on renewables energy are essential as they are used for establishing baselines for decision makers; for demonstrating the increasing role that renewables play in the energy sector; and illustrating that the renewable energy transition is a reality.
  • This year’s GSR marks 10 years of REN21 reporting. Over the past decade the GSR has expanded in scope and depth with its thematic and regional coverage and the refinement of data collection. 
  • The GSR is the product of systematic data collection resulting in thousands of data points, the use of hundreds of documents, and personal communication with experts from around the world. It benefits from a multi-stakeholder community of over 500 experts. Country information for 133 countries were received and used as basis for GSR2015 preparation. 
  • The country data received is featured in the newly launched REN21 Renewables Interactive Map Extracts from the book:
Despite the challenges associated with some renewable technologies, renewables offer great potential to reduce demand pressures and enhance water, food, and energy security—if deployed sustainably.

Renewable energy can enhance food security by reducing the agri-food sector’s vulnerability to fossil fuel price spikes and volatility, which have been linked to the 2007–08 global food crisis. The use of renewables also can increase product value while reducing food losses in developing countries, where 30–40% of food produced is lost due to insufficient energy for processing and cooling. Solar dryers are being used to preserve fruit in northern Pakistan, and biogas-powered cooling has been introduced in the Ugandan dairy industry. Bioenergy, produced from organic waste and non-food crops, can raise the productivity of local farms, thus increasing disposable income.

Research and non-profit organisations already are employing nexus assessment tools—for example to evaluate potential nexus trade-offs pertaining to Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan and to assess alternative agricultural patterns and the potential for biofuel production in Madagascar. Some groups, such as the German Development Agency, GIZ, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), are working to integrate the nexus approach and tools on a broader
policy level. 

Additionally, the water-energy-food nexus has been identified as a High Impact Opportunity by the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. Despite the progress made and the increasing availability of assessment tools to facilitate the integration of this approach, however, governments, industry, academia, and civil society still have a long way to go to fully integrate nexus thinking into policymaking and project development.

Global research and development i (R&D) increased by a modest 2% in 2014 to USD 11.7 billion, with government R&D steady at USD 5.1 billion, and corporate R&D at USD 6.6 billion. Europe remains the biggest investor in renewable energy R&D by far, spending 36% of the total (USD 4.3 billion)—almost equal to the combined outlay of the United States and China.
Networks furthering energy access in Africa: (see page 176 of the report)

  • African Bioenergy Development Platform: A platform launched by UNCTAD to help interested African countries develop their bioenergy potentials for advancing human and economic development through interactive, multi-stakeholder analytical exercises.
  • African Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies (ACREST): A centre established in 2005 for information, demonstration, awareness, production, and research on renewable energy and sustainable technologies in Africa. Its mission is to promote renewable energy technologies and sustainable technologies to improve people’s living conditions and to fight poverty.
  • African Renewable Energy Alliance (AREA): A global multi-stakeholder platform to exchange information and consult about policies, technologies, and financial mechanisms for the accelerated uptake of renewable energy in Africa.
  • AKON Lighting Africa An initiative launched in February 2014 that seeks to provide a concrete response at the grassroots level to Africa’s energy crisis and to lay the foundations for future development. It aims to develop an innovative solar-powered solution that will provide African villages with access to a clean and affordable source of electricity.
  • Clean Energy for Africa (CLENA) A five-year action (2012–2016) to promote sustainable energy and alleviate energy poverty in Africa.

Best Practices for Clean Energy Access in Africa 2014

Alliance for Rural Electrification
Fourth edition Authors: Marcus Wiemann, Ling Ng, David Lecoque
June 2015, 30 pages

Africa is the continent of opportunities. African societies and economies are accelerating their rise and integration into the world economy. Building on a strong agricultural base and on vast natural resources, industrialisation and the service sector – e.g. through innovations such as mobile banking – are generating jobs and welfare for the African people.
  • This report distills the best practices emerging from 20 case studies of businesses successfully providing energy and services to customers in rural Africa based on decentralized renewable energy technologies
  • The Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI PDF) is an instrument of the EU Energy Initiative (EUEI). It is currently funded by Austria, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. 
  • The EUEI PDF acts as the Secretariat of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership. The Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) constitutes one of the initial eight partnerships under the Joint AfricaEU Strategy (JAES), a long-term framework for cooperation between the two continents. The African Union Commission, Germany, Italy and the European Commission are the Steering Group members providing political guidance to the Partnership. 

EU support to energy – a wide range of programmes and instruments committed to the goal of Sustainable Energy for All . The EC has spent more than EUR 2 billion over six years on improving the state of the energy sector in developing countries through its Official Development Assistance, including efforts to increase access to modern energy services.
This document (2012, 11 pages) tries to describe how this funding was used and the impact it had. They are based on a first analysis of a database of more than 700 projects and programmes in the energy sector funded by the EC together with its partners.

Related: 04/02/2015 Africa’s First Grid-Connected Biogas Plant to Start in Kenya
Africa’s first grid-connected biogas plant will begin supplying power by March 2015, according to Johnnie McMillan, managing director of Tropical Power Kenya Ltd.

The $6.5 million Gorge Farm Energy Park anaerobic digester in Kenya will consume an annual 50,000 tons of organic waste sourced from a neighboring 800-hectare (1,977-acre) farm owned by VegPro Group, one of Tropical’s investment partners.

The company is planning a plant in Ghana replicating the original model in Kenya, near Lake Volta, where VegPro has a 1,000 hectare farm, McMillan said.

SAIREC 2015: South African International Renewable Energy Conference

4 – 7 October 2015 / South Africa, Cape Town

In October 2015, South Africa will become the sixth country, and the first in Africa, to host the International Renewable Energy Conference (IREC). Convened by REN21, IREC is a high-level political conference series hosted by a national government. SAIREC 2015 builds on the success and outcomes of the previous events: Bonn, Germany (2004), Beijing, China (2005), Washington, USA (2008), Delhi, India (2010), Abu Dhabi, UAE (2013).

SAIREC 2015 is composed of parallel sessions, side events, a trade show and site visits. The full programme can be access here.

Renewables in Support of Climate Adaptation (05/10/2015) 

Renewables supporting climate adaptation is a new concept. It does not replace the ‘older’ concept but adds a fundamentally relevant new component. The generation of clean energy can increase the resilience of local groups or entire regional populations while responding to (adapting to) social or economic shocks brought about by climate change and extreme weather events. Decentralised mini-grid clusters could use locally available renewable energy sources and help to speed-up electrification. The step-by-step interconnection of smart grid clusters towards a regional and national power system can accelerate the process of electrification and form a more resilient energy supply system which can deliver industrial scale power supply for economic development as well.

Dr. Muok has worked for over 20 years in research focusing on renewable energy, energy access and policy in Africa, science technology innovation, environmental conservation forestry and climate change adaptation and mitigation. He is the Director of Programmes at African Centre for Technology Studies and Vice President World Bioenergy Association. He is board member of World Intellectual Property Organization and member of East African Community Bioenergy Advisory Group.

African countries and regional bodies—in collaboration with international organisations and partners—have developed a regional approach in the power sector. This will enable the creation of regional power markets through the integration of existing infrastructure and development of regional projects with high transformation potential.In this regard, the African Union Commission, in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency formulated the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). Furthermore; IRENA is assisting the regionin the transition to a greater share of renewable energy in the energy supply mix. In this context the Africa Clean Energy Corridor (ACEC) is a regional initiative calling for accelerated development of renewable energy potential and cross-border trade of renewable power within the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) and Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). 

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the optimization of traditional biomass and the uptake of modern biomass are occurring at a rapid pace across the region for a wide variety of uses. Industrial energy users who rely on consistent and affordable power and heat to remain competitive are upgrading their systems to provide more autonomy, reduce reliance on the national grid and in many cases tackle their waste streams at the same time.

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