The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will
deliver a clear message to policy makers, civil society leaders and business
decision makers in New York during the 74th Session of the UN
Assembly and the Climate Action Summit next week. The Agency will reinforce the fact that limiting climate
change within the 11-year time frame specified by the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) is possible, but global energy
investments must pivot away from fossil fuels and into low-carbon technologies
such as renewables.
IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera will participate in a series of high-level discussions from 22 – 24 September, involving heads of state and global decision makers from the worlds of policy, diplomacy and business. Mr. La Camera will engage on issues related to renewable energy investment and finance, the energy and climate resilience needs of small island developing states, progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the role of youth in climate change.
As a central theme of his participation, the
Director-General will put forward the case that renewable energy, coupled with
energy efficiency, represents the only plausible and ready instrument to address carbon
emissions. This message will anchor a
campaign entitled ‘It’s Possible’ emphasizing that renewable energy can lead
the world into a new age of sustainable development whilst urgently addressing climate
The campaign supports UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls for leaders to come to New York with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions by 2020 in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050. IRENA believes Nationally Determined Contributions can be significantly more ambitious and play a leading role in accelerating renewable energy development.
IRENA’s role in transforming energy systems on small island developing states will feature at the Climate Action Summit during which Mr. La Camera will make an important intervention. IRENA’s SIDS Lighthouses initiative 2.0 launched at last year’s UN General Assembly aims to enable a deeper transformation of SIDS energy systems by leveraging investment support. The initiative will serve to strengthen climate resilience and contribute to the attainment of the sustainable development goals.
Additionally, the Agency will present the findings of a new climate investment report highlighting the need for global energy investments to overwhelmingly pivot away from fossil fuels towards low-carbon technologies including renewables in the coming decades.
IRENA is expected to sign a number of agreements further strengthening its cooperation with intergovernmental organisations as it looks to move closer to on-the-ground implementation in partnership with member states.
Canada’s bold policies can underpin a successful energy transition
Canada has embarked on an ambitious transformation of its energy system, and clear policy signals will be important to expand energy sector investments in clean and sustainable energy sources, according to a policy review by the International Energy Agency.
Since the IEA’s last in-depth review in 2015, Canada has made a series of international and domestic climate change commitments, notably setting a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40-45% from 2005 levels by 2030 and a commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
To support those climate and energy targets, governments in Canada have in recent years worked on a number of policy measures, including an ambitious carbon-pricing system, a clean fuels standard, a commitment to phase out unabated coal-fired electricity by 2030, nuclear plant extensions, methane regulations in the oil and gas sector, energy efficiency programmes and measures to decarbonise the transport sector.
“Canada has shown impressive leadership, both at home and abroad, on clean and equitable energy transitions,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, who is launching the report today with Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “Canada’s wealth of clean electricity and its innovative spirit can help drive a secure and affordable transformation of its energy system and help realise its ambitious goals. Equally important, Canada’s efforts to reduce emissions – of both carbon dioxide and methane – from its oil and gas production can help ensure its continued place as a reliable supplier of energy to the world.”
Canada’s profile as a major producer, consumer and exporter of energy presents both challenges and opportunities for reaching the country’s enhanced targets. Energy makes up 10% of gross domestic product and is a major source of capital investment, export revenue and jobs. Moreover, Canada’s highly decentralised system of government means that close coordination between federal, provincial and territorial governments is essential for a successful energy transition.
“This report acknowledges Canada’s ambitious efforts and historic investments to develop pathways to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and ensure a transition that aligns with our shared objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, “ said Minister Wilkinson. “These are pathways that make the most sense for our people, our economy and our country and will also yield technology, products and know-how that can be exported and applied around the world.”
The IEA finds that emissions intensity from Canada’s oil and gas production has declined in recent years, but the sector remains a major source of greenhouse gases, accounting for about a quarter of the country’s GHG emissions. Along with strong action to curb methane emissions, improving the rate of energy technology innovation will be essential for the deep decarbonisation that is needed in oil and gas production, as well as in the transport and industry sectors. Canada is actively advancing innovation in a number of key fields, including carbon capture, utilisation and storage; clean hydrogen; and small modular nuclear reactors, with a view to serving as a supplier of energy and climate solutions to the world. The IEA notes that further federal support for research, development and demonstration would help accelerate progress towards these goals.
The IEA is also recommending that Canada’s federal government promote a comprehensive energy efficiency strategy in consultation with provinces and territories that sets clear targets for energy efficiency in the buildings, industry and transport sectors
The IEA report highlights that Canada’s electricity supply is among the cleanest in the world, with over 80% of supply coming from non-emitting sources, thanks to the dominance of hydro and the important role of nuclear. To further support the expansion of clean power and electrification, the report encourages increased interconnections among provinces and territories to ensure balanced decarbonisation progress across the country.
The IEA commends Canada on its efforts to advance a people-centred approach to its clean energy transition, including initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in clean energy sectors; programmes to increase access to clean energy in northern, remote and Indigenous communities; and actions to enable just transitions for coal workers and their communities.
“Canada has laid out a comprehensive set of policy measures and investments across sectors to meet its climate targets, including a strong clean energy component to its Covid-19 economic recovery efforts,” said Dr Birol. “I hope this report will help Canada navigate its path toward economy-wide emissions reductions and a net zero future.”
Iran to add 10GW to renewable energy capacity
Iranian Energy Ministry and some of the country’s private contractors signed memorandums of understanding (MOU) on Sunday for cooperation in the construction of renewable power plants to generate 10,000 megawatts (10 gigawatts) of electricity across the country.
The signing ceremony was attended by senior energy officials including Energy Minister Ali-Akbar Mehrabian and Head of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization (SATBA) Mahmoud Kamani, IRIB reported.
The MOUs were signed following the Energy Ministry’s public call for the contribution of private companies in a project for developing renewable power plants in the country.
According to SATBA, after the ministry’s public call, so far 153 requests for the generation of 90,000 megawatts (MW) have been submitted to the ministry by private companies.
Speaking in the signing ceremony, Energy Minister Ali-Akbar Mehrabian said: “When the private sector invests in this industry [the renewables], the government is obliged to return the equivalent of the investment plus its interests to the investor.”
Mehrabian noted that the government has allocated over 30 trillion rials (about $101 million) for the development of renewables in the budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year (begins on March 21), saying that it is an unprecedented budget in this area.
Further in the ceremony, SATBA Head Kamani mentioned some of the Energy Ministry’s plans for the development of the country’s renewable energy industry, saying: “Export of renewable energy is a goal that has been targeted by the government.”
“Constructing renewable power plants for the cryptocurrency miners is also being seriously considered,” he added.
Back in December 2021, Kamani had announced plans to create 10,000 MW capacity of new renewable power plants across the country within the next four years.
He had put the current capacity of the country’s renewable power plants at 905 MW, saying that such power plants account only for one percent of the country’s total power generation capacity.
“Currently, 30 percent of the world’s electricity needs are provided by renewable energy sources, and some countries have even declared 2030 as the final year of using fossil fuels,” he said.
“We are far behind the global standards in the development of renewable energy,” he regretted.
Referring to another program for the development of renewable energies in the domestic sector, Kamani noted that to encourage households for constructing such power plants the Energy Ministry has announced that it will buy their surplus generated electricity at a guaranteed price.
He further pointed to the indigenization of the knowledge for the construction of the equipment used in renewable power plants as another priority of the Energy Ministry and SATBA, saying: “Currently, the construction of solar panels and wind power plants is completely indigenized, and we must strengthen our producers to finally become able to build all the required equipment from start to finish, in this regard, of course, some enterprises have announced their readiness.”
Tajikistan’s Energy Sector to Benefit from World Bank Support
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today additional grant financing of $65 million in support of the Second Phase of the Nurek Hydropower Rehabilitation Project, which will contribute towards more reliable electricity supply and expansion of renewable energy exports in Tajikistan.
“The World Bank is committed to supporting Tajikistan’s energy sector, given the country’s considerable potential in hydropower generation and export of clean, renewable energy resources,” said Ozan Sevimli, World Bank Country Manager in Tajikistan. “Investments in the Nurek hydropower plant – the mainstay of the country’s energy system – are essential in ensuring stable and reliable electricity supply for households and businesses domestically, as well as increased revenues from export at the regional market.”
The first phase of the Nurek Hydropower Rehabilitation Project, financed by the World Bank with $225.7 million; the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with $60 million; and the Eurasian Development Bank (EaDB) with $40 million, was launched in March 2019. It supports the rehabilitation of three of the nine generating units and the key infrastructural components of the power plant, replacement of six autotransformers that are used to evacuate the generated electricity, enhancement of dam safety to protect the facility from seismic hazards and floods and technical assistance to strengthen operational, technical, and financial management capacity of the utility company Barqi Tojik. The project’s second phase, financed by the World Bank ($50 million approved in June 2020), supports the rehabilitation of the remaining six generating units, the Nurek bridge, the powerhouse, and other key buildings, while also strengthening the capacity of the hydropower plant (HPP) to effectively operate and maintain the plant’s operations.
The additional financing of $65 million approved today is intended to reduce the current financing gap of $164 million for the second phase of the project. The remaining gap is expected be covered by other potential co-financiers, including reallocation of savings from the EaDB and AIIB resources allocated for the first phase of the project. The total World Bank investments for this strategically important project amounts to $341 million.
The Nurek HPP generates about 50 percent of total annual energy demand in Tajikistan and supplies most of the energy for exports. Due to technical problems, the power plant’s initial installed capacity of 3000 megawatts has reduced to 2,320 megawatts over the past four decades. The facility is currently undergoing its first major rehabilitation since its commissioning in 1972-1979. Once completed, the rehabilitation will allow to increase the HPP capacity to 3,214 megawatts that will ensure improved electricity supply during the cold winter months and bringing much-needed revenues from expanded electricity exports during the summer months.
The rehabilitation will also ensure dam safety improvement measures, which will help lower operational and maintenance costs. Lastly, the project will generate global environmental and climate mitigation benefits in the form of net reduction of CO2 emissions, leading to 69 million tCO2e net reduction in emissions versus the baseline during the project’s economic life.
The World Bank Group’s active portfolio in Tajikistan includes 23 projects, totaling $1.2 billion that aim at helping Tajikistan to take advantage of emerging regional opportunities, transform its economy, and improve the livelihoods of its citizens. Since 1996, the World Bank has provided over $2 billion in grants, highly concessional IDA credits, and trust fund resources to the country.
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