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Higher Shares of Renewable Energy Central to Sustainable Development Across Southeast Asia

MD Staff



Southeast Asian countries are on course to meet their aspirational renewable energy target of a 23 per cent share of total primary energy supply by 2025, according to new analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Achieving this target would also significantly improve the access to affordable clean energy in the region in line with its pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7.

In the report, Renewable Energy Market Analysis: Southeast Asia – launched during the United Nations Global SDG7 Conference in Bangkok, IRENA highlights that renewable energy is proving key to expanding energy access in a region where 65 million people lack it. With Southeast Asia’s vast, untapped renewables potential, considerable opportunities exist to accelerate renewables deployment in the power sector but also in heating, cooling and transport. Strong enabling and investment frameworks however need to be put in place to overcome barriers facing renewables uptake.

“Southeast Asia is making important progress towards the diversification of its energy supply, and is recognising that renewables are a cost-competitive solution to power economic growth and meet rising energy demand ” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin at the launch event during the Conference.

“The accelerated adoption of renewable energy offers broad environmental, economic and social benefits, including creating jobs, reducing air pollution and tackling climate change,” continued Mr. Amin. “Policy makers and other development actors should prioritise investment in clean, reliable and affordable energy as a pillar of development across the region.”

Renewable Energy Market Analysis: Southeast Asia covers the critical considerations for effective policy-making to accelerate the energy transformation, and analyses trends in energy supply and consumption at the regional and national level. It also examines the investment trends and policy instruments supporting the current deployment of renewable energy in a region where economic growth exceeds 4 per cent. Southeast Asia’s renewable energy potential is also explored, both in terms of resource potential, and the spectrum of benefits the transition to a sustainable energy future brings.

The report notes that in 2016, 611,000 people were employed in Southeast Asia’s renewables sector, primarily in liquid biofuels, however up to 2.2 million people could be employed in the sector by 2030 should renewables scale-up in line with the region’s potential.

Synergies between decentralised renewable energy and livelihood development, whether in rural, urban or island settings are also highlighted. Drawing on a number of projects that demonstrate how decentralised renewable energy solutions — such as micro-hydro and biogas solutions based on local entrepreneurship and strong community participation  — the analysis draws parallels between modern energy services and socio-economic development.

The report forms part of IRENA’s wider body of work in the region, including country-level engagement and regional initiatives, advancing joint efforts of IRENA and the governments of the ASEAN to accelerate the region’s transition to low-carbon, sustainable energy.

It is also part of IRENA’s Renewable Energy Market Analysis series capturing knowledge and experience from different regions to identify emerging public policy and market development trends. The first two editions covered the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) region (2015) and Latin America (2016).

The full report can be downloaded, here.

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Cambodia: Electricity Access Increased, Reliability Needs Improvement

MD Staff



While access to grid electricity has expanded in Cambodia to 71.5 percent, reliability of electricity supply can be improved, as nearly two-thirds of households with access face frequent power shortages, says a new World Bank report.

The report, called Cambodia Beyond Connections: The Energy Access Diagnostic Based on a Multi-Tier Framework, looks at, among other factors, the capacity, reliability, affordability, and safety of the country’s energy sector. Nationwide, nearly 90 percent of Cambodian households have access to at least four hours of electricity a day.

“Cambodia has made rapid progress in increasing access to electricity for villages and consumers, but progress has been achieved at a cost. It is time now to turn our attention to strengthening the reliability and quality of electricity supply, which would enable families and business to flourish,” said H.E. Ty Norin, Chairman of Electricity Authority Cambodia.

Some 30 percent of rural households rely on off-grid power for electricity, including solar home systems, solar lanterns, and rechargeable batteries. With improvement of transmission and distribution systems, as well as promotion of expanded grid connections and solar home systems, Cambodia will strengthen the potential of its economy.

“Energy is critical for enhancing industrial competitiveness that create more jobs, and improving public services that broaden opportunities – leading to a better quality of life for all Cambodians,” said Inguna Dobraja, World Bank Country Manager for Cambodia. “Cambodia is the first country in the East Asia and Pacific region to carry out the Multi-Tier Framework survey, which offers detailed household data on energy that will strengthen policy-making for the energy sector.”

The report’s policy recommendations include expanding access to modern energy cooking solutions. More than 66 percent of households still use biomass stoves, hence helping families – particularly low-income and female-headed households – gain access to clean fuels and stoves would reduce health risks.

“While tremendous strides have been made in expanding access to electricity, gains in efficiency, reliability and affordability will lead to even brighter prospects for families, business, and the country. We stand by to assist the government in their efforts to achieve reliable, affordable, and modern energy service by 2030,” said Julia Fraser, Manager for the World Bank’s Energy and Extractives Global Practice in East Asia.

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Global energy demand grew by 2.1% in 2017- carbon emissions rose for the first time since 2014

MD Staff



Global energy demand rose by 2.1% in 2017, more than twice the previous year’s rate, boosted by strong global economic growth, with oil, gas and coal meeting most of the increase in demand for energy, and renewables seeing impressive gains.

Over 70% of global energy demand growth was met by oil, natural gas and coal, while renewables accounted for almost all of the rest. Improvements in energy efficiency slowed down last year. As a result of these trends, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased by 1.4% in 2017, after three years of remaining flat.

But carbon emissions, which reached a historical high of 32.5 gigatonnes in 2017, did not rise everywhere. While most major economies saw a rise, others – the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Japan – experienced declines. The biggest drop in emissions came from the United States, driven by higher renewables deployment.

These findings are part of the International Energy Agency’s newest resource – the Global Energy and CO2 Status Report, 2017 – released online today, which provides an up-to-date snapshot of recent trends and developments across all fuels.

“The robust global economy pushed up energy demand last year, which was mostly met by fossil fuels, while renewables made impressive strides,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “The significant growth in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 tells us that current efforts to combat climate change are far from sufficient. For example, there has been a dramatic slowdown in the rate of improvement in global energy efficiency as policy makers have put less focus in this area.”

Other key findings of the report for 2017 include:

  • – Oil demand grew by 1.6%, more than twice the average annual rate seen over the past decade, driven by the transport sector (in particular a growing share of SUVs and trucks in major economies) as well as rising petrochemical demand.
  • – Natural gas consumption grew 3%, the most of all fossil fuels, with China alone accounting for nearly a third of this growth, and the buildings and industry sectors contributing to 80% of the increase in global demand.
  • – Coal demand rose about 1%, reversing declines over the previous two years, driven by an increase in coal-fired electricity generation mostly in Asia.
  • – Renewables had the highest growth rate of any fuel, meeting a quarter of world energy demand growth, as renewables-based electricity generation rose 6.3%, driven by expansion of wind, solar and hydropower.
  • – Electricity generation increased by 3.1%, significantly faster than overall energy demand, and India and China together accounting for 70% of the global increase.
  • – Energy efficiency improvements slowed significantly, with global energy intensity improving by only 1.7% in 2017 compared with 2.3% on average over the last three years, caused by an apparent slowdown in efficiency policy coverage and stringency and lower energy prices.
  • – Fossil fuels accounted for 81% of total energy demand in 2017, a level that has remained stable for more than three decades.

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Forum held in Kigali on increasing access to sustainable energy in East Africa

MD Staff



The Sustainable Energy Forum for East Africa took place between 19 and 21 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. Over 400 high-level representatives from government, business, civil society and international organizations came together to discuss how to increase access to sustainable energy in East African countries.

Three days of discussions focused on the actions needed to scale up sustainable energy development in the region.

“There is need to work together with partners and identify key areas for development of the sustainable energy in the  region as part of our  efforts of  fulfilling the pledge made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated Sustainable Development Goals’, said James Musoni, Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure.

While the various sessions showcased a diverse set of country experiences in sustainable energy, from scaling up access to electricity to clean cooking fuels, there was a general agreement on the need for new policies and enhanced financing for renewable energy sources and energy efficiency worldwide. To meet these goals, a combination of public and private, and domestic and international resources will be required. Engaging all relevant stakeholders is critical to stimulating progress in the energy transition and achieving the global energy goals.

Rachel Kyte, Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General and CEO, Sustainable Energy for All, said: “There is a lot of good happening in East Africa’s energy transition. However, progress is not at the speed or scale we need to ensure that we don’t leave anyone behind. Continued strong political leadership is crucial to achieve energy productivity across economies, accelerate progress on access to electricity and clean fuels for cooking, and to further increase the share of renewable energy in the mix. East Africa has abundant renewable resources and business ingenuity, and can attract financing. With disciplined leadership and greater ambition, it can deliver an energy future for everyone.”

Another topic highlighted by participants was the relationship between energy and gender. There was a general understanding that the different needs for men and women should be taken into account in sustainable energy programmes and policies in order to increase their effectiveness.

Three reports produced by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) were released in support of the activities conducted at the Forum. The first study reflects on the main barriers to, and achievements of gender equality in the energy sector in the EAC. Another provides an inventory of ongoing and planned initiatives of sustainable city development across the region. The third study examines clean cooking fuels in the EAC.

Tareq Emtairah, Director of Energy, UNIDO, said “it is important to recognize the vast renewable energy potential in the EAC Partner states. Exploiting these locally available renewable energy resources is a great way to address major challenges such as poverty, energy security, industrial development and environment.”

The Sustainable Energy Forum for East Africa was organized by the East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) in collaboration with UNIDO, the EAC Secretariat, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Sustainable Energy For All (SEforALL), and the Ministry of Infrastructure of the Republic of Rwanda (MININFRA), and is hosted by the Government of Rwanda.

It was the first of a series of events that will take place in 2018 with the aim of increasing progress on Sustainable Development Goal 7, which focuses on the global effort to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

“Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and interventions should be deployed to address global challenges such as population growth and migrations, urban development, climate change mitigation and adaptation, poverty, social, political, health and gender inequalities. Let us double our efforts and keep the momentum high,” said Jesca Eriyo, EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration.

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