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IEA holds the Third Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency

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From left to right: Dr Ajay Mathur (Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute, India), Mr Masakazu Toyoda, Dr Faith Birol (Executive Director, International Energy Agency), Dr Laurence Tubiana (Chief Executive Officer, European Climate Foundation), and Ms Joyce Henry (Director General, Natural Resources Canada) (Photograph: IEA)

The International Energy Agency held its third annual global conference on energy efficiency in Paris last week, bringing together more than 200 energy professionals from over 60 countries, to focus on the critical role that efficiency plays in the global energy transition, as well as opportunities that can be addressed.

During the event, which brought together energy ministers, high-level officials from the public and private sector, as well as a wide range of organizations, Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, also launched an online platform for energy efficiency data and information, which showcases the depth of the IEA’s expertise on the topic.

Dr Birol underlined energy efficiency’s role as the “first fuel,” highlighting that by implementing the cost-effective energy efficiency actions available today, the global economy could double while greenhouse gas emissions would be 12% lower between now and 2040. The finding, which was published in the IEA’s Energy Efficiency 2018 report recently is significant in light of the recent IPCC report noting the short timeframe for achieving global climate change mitigation goals.

Highlighting other benefits of the efficient world modelled in the report, Dr Birol noted that households would be better off by half a trillion dollars per year, while local air pollutants and associated deaths would be reduced by a third.

Dr Birol outlined three key things the IEA was doing to support countries take actions to realise these benefits. First, through its new online platform, the IEA is providing data, analysis and information for policy makers to learn about efficiency policies being used around the world, their impacts and lessons learned.

Second, the IEA is building global skills and capacity, through its training programme for emerging economies, which has trained more than 1000 policy makers from over 70 countries over the last four years.

And third, in partnership with the European Investment Bank, the IEA will launch a new initiative in early 2019, bringing together global leaders from international financial institutions (IFIs) to explore ways to scale up energy efficiency finance.

Dr Birol described the new initiative on finance as “a great opportunity to strengthen the global dialogue on financing the investments required to deliver energy efficiency at scale” and thanked the EIB’s vice president, Andrew McDowell—who also spoke at the conference—for his leadership.

The two-day conference was the largest the IEA has held on energy efficiency, and involved representatives from government, business and the research community. In addition to ministers representing Estonia, Finland, and Japan, conference attendees heard from the Head of the African Union, and senior executives from prominent energy efficiency companies including Schneider Electric, Danfoss and Johnson Controls.

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Powering climate action in Africa with renewable energy

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Africa Climate Week (ACW) 2019 kicks off today in Accra, Ghana. The first of three annual regional climate events ahead of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in September, ACW brings together international, regional and national stakeholders to discuss climate change and actions and to strengthen stakeholders’ engagements in key sectors including energy, agriculture and human settlement.

Although Africa is rich in renewable energy resources, penetration of renewables has lagged behind other regions. However, as costs have fallen the deployment of solar PV, concentrated solar power and onshore wind has started to accelerate, albeit unevenly across the continent. Utility-scale solar PV projects that were commissioned in Africa in 2018 achieved a weighted average cost of 0.122/kWh, some 40% higher than the global average. In contrast, onshore wind projects achieved competitive prices of USD 0.056/kWh. Cost reductions are expected to continue to drop, however, and this makes renewables an increasingly attractive ‘win-win’ solution to drive sustainable development while meeting Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The theme of this year’s ACW is, “Climate Action in Africa: A Race We Can Win” and the event will focus on building a strong regional foundation for climate action under the Paris Agreement. As the world’s platform for renewable energy cooperation, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will play a pivotal role in facilitating progress on sustainable development and NDC fulfilment through the deployment of low-carbon renewable energy solutions.

Key IRENA-facilitated or supported sessions include:

NDC Dialogue

For the first time, African countries will gather together to discuss ways to accelerate the implementation of climate action in line with the global temperature goals of the Paris Agreement and countries’ individual NDCs. The session at ACW will contribute to the preparation for second-round NDCs with increased coverage, clarity, and ambition – as well as long-term, low-GHG emission development strategies – ahead of the 2020 deadline.

IRENA is facilitating the NDC Dialogue, during which participants will jointly consider the gap to meet the long-term goal and the need and avenues for raising national, regional, and global ambition, exchange experiences and lessons learned to address challenges relating to NDC preparation, implementation, and finance; and discuss synergistic implementation of NDCs, national development plans, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Marrakech Partnership

The session will seek to build regional support and participation in the Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action. IRENA will support efforts to build on three transformative areas of the United Nations Secretary General’s Summit, namely, 1) enabling environments for non-state action; 2) long term policy making and 3) sustainable finance.

Thematic Sessions

IRENA is co-hosting a number of thematic sessions. The first one, “Technology Opportunities of the Energy Transition”, emphasises how technology can present opportunities for everyone to take part in the energy transition. It will provide an overview of the latest innovations and dynamic developments in the energy sector, including both centralised and decentralised power systems.

Another, “Innovate4Cities”, is a hosted roundtable discussion between mayors, city practitioners, academics, non-governmental organizations, and national governments at the UNFCCC Africa Climate Week, to discuss data and technology priorities – specific to data access, renewable energy, and transportation – that are key to support cities and local governments to act on climate at the speed and scale necessary to support parties to meet their Paris Agreement commitments.

A third, “Maximizing Benefits through a Clean Energy Transition: A Key Path to Achieving Global Climate Goals” looks at the multiple benefits of transitioning to more sustainable energy production and consumption, with a focus on demand for cooling, highlights proven policies and other tools to harvest these benefits, and encourages collaboration to achieve more with existing resources and tap new opportunities.

Ghana-NDC Investment Forum

The forum aims to catalyse private sector investment, and financial as well as substantive support from all relevant stakeholders to help Ghana implement its climate commitments. During the forum, proven climate solutions will be showcased to attract private investment, present investment-ready climate NDC projects and introduce entry points for private sector to engage in NDC actions.

The outcomes of the above sessions will inform the Africa Climate Week’s communique, including providing specific recommendations to accelerate NDC progress and ambition, in the lead up to the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York in September.

IRENA

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ADB, GCF, and Australia Partner to Improve Renewable Energy in Tonga

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $12.2 million grant for the Renewable Energy Project, which is under the Pacific Renewable Energy Investment Facility. Approved in 2017 by ADB, the facility finances renewable energy projects in the 11 smallest Pacific island developing member countries with an overall estimated cost of $750 million, with ADB providing up to $200 million.

The project will help improve the development and implementation of renewable energy projects in Tonga, enhancing the country’s energy security and reducing carbon emissions. ADB will also administer grants worth $29.9 million from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and $2.5 million provided by the Government of Australia for the project.

“The project will reduce the country’s dependency on imported fossil fuel for power generation,” said the Energy Division Director of ADB’s Pacific Department Mr. Olly Norojono. “Providing Tonga’s population with better access to clean, resilient, and affordable electricity at a lower cost, particularly those in the outer islands where energy access is low and limited, will help the country achieve a more inclusive and sustainable future.”

ADB, GCF, and the Australian government’s assistance will help Tonga transition its energy mix from being carbon intensive (at about 90% share) to a cleaner and more sustainable source through renewable energy resources. The project will also provide technical solutions, such as battery energy storage systems, as well as capacity building efforts to promote more private sector investments in renewable energy, which will help Tonga meet its 50% renewable energy target by 2020 and 70% by 2030.

Main components of the project include the installation of battery energy storage system in Tongatapu; development of grid-connected renewable energy generation on the outer islands of ‘Eua and Vava’u; establishment of a renewable-based hybrid systems and mini-grids on the outer islands of O’ua, Tungua, Kotu, Mo’unga’one, and Niuafo’ou; and building of capacity of executing entities and communities, including women, to operate and maintain assets.

ADB is helping the Pacific region prepare for a renewable energy future with a three-tiered approach that promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy; maximizes access to energy for all; and promotes energy sector reform, capacity building, and effective governance.

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New Program to Accelerate Expansion of Offshore Wind Power in Developing Countries

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The World Bank Group announced today a new program to fast-track the adoption of offshore wind energy in developing countries. The World Bank and IFC will help emerging markets assess their offshore wind potential and provide technical assistance to develop a growing pipeline of projects that are ready for investment by renewable energy developers.

The offshore wind industry has grown nearly five-fold since 2011, with 23 gigawatts installed at the end of 2018 and a large volume of planned projects in Europe, China and the United States. Offshore wind now represents about $26 billion in annual investments – or 8 percent of new global investments in clean energy – and this proportion is set to increase dramatically, with about $500 billion expected to be invested in offshore wind projects by 2030.

This represents an important opportunity for countries with strong offshore wind resources, including Brazil, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Offshore wind can also provide additional clean generation capacity for developing countries with populations living without access to reliable electricity.

Vietnam’s technical potential for fixed and floating offshore wind is 309 GW, while South Africa and Brazil have 356 GW and 526 GW in total technical offshore wind potential respectively. This represents a significant opportunity for cost-competitive, large-scale fixed or floating offshore wind projects located close to areas of high energy demand.

“Offshore wind is a clean, reliable and secure source of energy with massive potential to transform the energy mix in countries that have great wind resources. We have seen it work in Europe – we can now make use of global experience to scale up offshore wind projects in emerging markets,” said Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director and Head of Energy and Extractives at the World Bank.

“We see great opportunity for offshore wind development at scale and are looking forward to working with private sector developers to open up new investment opportunities in countries that could benefit from this increasingly competitive source of renewable energy,” said Bertrand de la Borde, IFC Director and Global Head of Energy and Mining.

“The UK is a world leader in offshore wind, with the largest installed capacity in Europe,” said Energy & Clean Growth UK Government Minister, Claire Perry. “This investment will allow our world-leading expertise to be shared globally to encourage developing countries to move away from dirty coal power and embrace renewable energy, growing their economies.”

Led by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), in partnership with IFC, the US$5 million program is being initiated thanks to a GBP£20 million grant to ESMAP from the United Kingdom government to help low- and middle-income countries implement environmentally sustainable energy solutions.

This work will take place in cooperation with the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and its recently-formed Offshore Wind Task Force which brings together leading offshore wind developers, equipment manufacturers and service providers.

The program will convene developing country governments, commercial developers, development partners, and wind energy experts to raise awareness around offshore wind opportunities in emerging markets and lay the groundwork for a pipeline of new projects that could be supported by World Bank or IFC financing. The World Bank and IFC will work with public and private sector partners to undertake technical studies and develop national strategies to facilitate the adoption of this increasingly cost-competitive technology.

The Global Wind Atlas, developed in partnership by ESMAP and Department of Wind Energy at the Technical University of Denmark and with 30km coverage offshore at 250m resolution, is a key resource that can help policymakers and investors identify potential high-wind areas for wind power generation virtually anywhere in the world.

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