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sustainable energy

Renewable energy is increasingly powering the world, but erratic policy making is holding the sector back from its potential contribution to cutting carbon pollution and meeting climate and development targets, according to REN21’s Renewables 2019 Global Status Report (GSR).

The report confirms that for the fourth consecutive year, more renewable power capacity was installed than fossil fuel and nuclear power combined – 100 GW of solar PV alone was added in 2018, enough to meet more than 25% of electricity demand in France.

But a lack of ambitious and sustained policies to drive decarbonisation across the heating, cooling and transport sectors means countries are not maximising the benefits of the transition – including cleaner air and energy security – for their people.

A key breakthrough could occur if countries cut their fossil fuel subsidies which are propping up dirty energy” says Rana Adib, Executive Secretary, REN21. Ambitious policy and regulatory frameworks are critical to creating favourable and competitive conditions, allowing renewable energy to grow and displace more expensive and carbon-emitting fuels. Forty countries have undertaken some level of fossil fuel subsidy reform since 2015, but these subsidies continued to exist in 112 countries in 2017, with at least 73 countries providing subsidies of over USD 100 million each. Estimated total global subsidies for fossil fuel consumption were USD 300 billion in 2017, an 11% increase from 2016.

The Report finds:

  • Solar PV and wind are now mainstream options in the power sector. Over 90 countries had more than 1 GW of renewable power capacity installed, and 30 countries had more than 10 GW. At least nine countries generated more than 20% of their electricity with solar PV and wind. (These are: Denmark, Uruguay, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Greece, UK, Honduras.)
  • Global renewable energy uptake no longer depends on just a few countries. In 2018 the global deployment of renewables kept up a steady pace overall with the European Union’s roll-out slightly up and China’s annual installations and investment declining compared to year prior. This shows renewable energy is a strong, global powerhouse.
  • Cities are increasingly becoming strong drivers in renewable energy deployment, adopting some of the most ambitious targets for renewables globally. In numerous cases, these commitments and actions have exceeded national and state/provincial initiatives. More than 100 cities (ranging from Nairobi/Kenya and Dar es Salaam/Tanzania to Auckland/NZ, Stockholm/Sweden and Seattle/USA) use at least 70% renewable electricity, and at least 50 cities put in place renewable energy targets covering power, heating and cooling, and transport.

There is a huge opportunity for countries to drive action by expanding the transition to the heating, cooling and transport sectors. Renewables supply more than 26% of global electricity, however they provide only 10% of the energy used for heating and cooling and just over 3% for transport. This imbalance between energy sectors is in large part due to insufficient or unstable policy support. The number of countries with a policy for renewables in heat actually declined.

Despite insufficient support, initiatives in transport, heating and cooling sectors are being implemented. Sustainable biofuels, EVs and fuel economy policies are reducing overall fossil fuel dependency in the transport sector. Ambitious policies, such as Brazil’s 27% blending mandate for ethanol and California’s (USA) Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program, demonstrate renewables’ contribution to the transport sector. Heating and cooling policies include building energy codes, renewable heat incentives and mandates, and indirect approaches like carbon pricing. Carbon pricing remains acutely under-utilised. By the end of 2018, only 44 national governments, 21 states/provinces and 7 cities had implemented carbon pricing policies, covering just 13% of global CO2 emissions

With the countries needing to come back with more ambitious climate targets in 2020, this report shows there are an array of opportunities to scale up action and improve people’s lives by extending the benefits of the energy transition throughout the economy,” says REN21 Chair, Arthouros Zervos.

Source: REN21 

Despite significant progress in recent years, the world is falling short of meeting the global energy targets set in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030. Ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 remains possible but will require more sustained efforts, particularly to reach some of the world’s poorest populations and to improve energy sustainability, according to a new report produced by the International Energy Agency (IEA) the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Notable progress has been made on energy access in recent years, with the number of people living without electricity dropping to roughly 840 million from 1 billion in 2016 and 1.2 billion in 2010. India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Myanmar are among countries that made the most progress since 2010. However, without more sustained and stepped-up actions, 650 million people will still be left without access to electricity in 2030. Nine out of 10 of them will be living in sub-Saharan Africa.

Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report also shows that great efforts have been made to deploy renewable energy technology for electricity generation and to improve energy efficiency across the world. Nonetheless, access to clean cooking solutions and the use of renewable energy in heat generation and transport are still lagging far behind the goals. Maintaining and extending the pace of progress in all regions and sectors will require stronger political commitment, long-term energy planning, increased private financing and adequate policy and fiscal incentives to spur faster deployment of new technologies.

The report tracks global, regional and country progress on the three targets of SDG7: access to energy and clean cooking, renewable energy and energy efficiency. It identifies priorities for action and best practices that have proven successful in helping policymakers and development partners understand what is needed to overcome challenges.

Here are the key highlights for each target. Findings are based on official national-level data and measure global progress through 2017.

Access to electricity: Following a decade of steady progress, the global electrification rate reached 89 percent and 153 million people gained access to electricity each year. However, the biggest challenge remains in the most remote areas globally and in sub-Saharan Africa where 573 million people still live in the dark. To connect the poorest and hardest to reach households, off-grid solutions, including solar lighting, solar home systems, and increasingly mini grids, will be crucial. Globally, at least 34 million people in 2017 gained access to basic electricity services through off-grid technologies. The report also reinforces the importance of reliability and affordability for sustainable energy access.

Clean cooking: Almost three billion people remain without access to clean cooking in 2017, residing mainly in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. This lack of clean cooking access continues to pose serious health and socioeconomic concerns. Under current and planned policies, the number of people without access would be 2.2 billion in 2030, with significant impact on health, environment, and gender equality.

Renewables accounted for 17.5% of global total energy consumption in 2016 versus 16.6% in 2010. Renewables have been increasing rapidly in electricity generation but have made less headway into energy consumption for heat and transport. A substantial further increase of renewable energy is needed for energy systems to become affordable, reliable and sustainable, focusing on modern uses. As renewables become mainstream, policies need to cover the integration of renewables into the broader energy system and take into account the socio-economic impacts affecting the sustainability and pace of the transition.

Energy efficiency improvements have been more sustained in recent years, thanks to concerted policy efforts in large economies. However, the global rate of primary energy intensity improvement still lags behind, and estimates suggest there has been a significant slowdown in 2017 and 2018. Strengthening mandatory energy efficiency policies, providing targeted fiscal or financial incentives, leveraging market-based mechanisms, and providing high-quality information about energy efficiency will be central to meet the goal.

Source: IEA, IRENA, UNSD,World Bank, WHO

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As the cheapest source of electricity in several parts of the world, wind energy has taken a key role in the global energy transition, unlocking growth opportunities in new markets and customer segments for Vestas. To grasp these opportunities, Vestas is executing our strategy to invest in technology and commercial capabilities beyond wind energy technology, enabling us to develop sustainable energy solutions that meet current and future customer demand.

To support Vestas’ strategy and increase our capability to partner with our customers in project development in selective markets, Vestas today announces the acquisition of a 25.1 percent minority stake in SOWITEC with an option to acquire the entire company within three years. Headquartered in Germany, SOWITEC is a leading sustainable energy developer with around 60 wind and solar projects totalling more than 2,600 MW across the globe. By investing in SOWITEC, Vestas enhances our ability to offer full-scope sustainable energy solutions by tapping into SOWITEC’s proven offering within development services.

Juan Araluce, Vestas’ Chief Sales Officer, says “With the acquisition of a minority stake in Sowitec, Vestas gains access to an independent development entity that strengthens our co-development portfolio and improves our solutions and capabilities in strategic markets in Latin America. Vestas is continuing to invest in solutions and capabilities that increase our ability to meet our customers’ evolving needs and to partner with them through the energy transition”.

Frank Hummel, SOWITEC Chief Executive Officer, says “We are proud to have Vestas as a strategic partner that further strengthens our equity and helps us to go further in the value chain. Together with our strong track record in emerging markets and our vast experience in developing utility-scale renewable energy projects, this partnership will help SOWITEC grow faster and give us the chance to profit from Vestas’ worldwide experience and presence”.

Based on SOWITEC’s proven track record within solar PV project development, the acquisition also strengthens Vestas’ offering within hybrid power plant solutions. With sustainable energy’s share of the energy mix set to grow from around 10 percent today to more than 30 percent by 2035, hybrids are a key part of Vestas’ objective to develop sustainable energy solutions with wind at their core. As such, hybrids are emerging as a grid-friendly and cost-effective solution that can store and release renewable energy into the grid when needed, and hereby increase the penetration of onshore wind.

On a stand-alone basis, SOWITEC is expected to report 2018 consolidated revenues of approximately EUR 30 million. The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be finalised during the second quarter of 2019 and will have no significant impact on Vestas earnings.

Source: Vestas

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Vestas and Maersk Supply Service have entered into an innovation partnership to jointly develop solutions and next-generation technology for the sustainable energy industry. The partnership aims to address the industry’s future challenges within installation and logistics to decrease the cost of energy.

Driven by consumer demand for sustainable energy and continuous reduction in levelised cost of energy, global wind energy production is set to double by 2027. One of the industry’s main challenges to continue this trajectory is to lower the cost of transporting and installing wind turbines as they increase in size and will be installed in remote locations.

Combining Vestas’ insight into sustainable energy with Maersk Supply Service’s marine and logistics experience, the companies will collaborate on solving challenges within the industry related to logistics, installation and service.

As the partnership’s first step towards addressing these goals, the two companies are developing a crane solution for both onshore and offshore wind turbines that could significantly bring down the cost of installation. The installation concept, called Vertical Installer, involves a crane that will enable the use of lower cost assets in the logistics value chain. The project is being developed in cooperation with MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, and has received DKK 47 million in funding for the next three years from the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP) via the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate.

Maersk Supply Service initiated and continues to drive the Vertical Installer project with the aim of finding a more efficient method to install offshore wind turbines utilising its current fleet. Vestas and MHI Vestas Offshore Wind are providing the industry insight necessary to ensure that the new solution is tailored to industry needs and developed with the most up-to-date knowledge of challenges, logistics, operator requirements and potential design modifications for future wind turbine models. They are also providing access to test facilities both off- and onshore, which will reduce project risks and the time required before the solution is available in the market.

Source: Vestas

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MAN Energy Solutions represents a new vision, as reflected by a new, corporate design. The new branding embodies a strategic and technological transformation, a process the company had already begun back in 2017 by implementing its new strategy for the future: to expand its business with sustainable technologies and solutions such that they become its main source of revenue by 2030. This strategic realignment is supported by the expansion of MAN Energy Solutions’ product range to include hybrid, storage and digital service technologies.

Dr Uwe Lauber, Chairman of the Board at MAN Energy Solutions, said: “System technologies that help our customers to increase the efficiency of their plants and reduce emissions are already a significant part of our business, and also lead the way to a carbon-neutral future. We will resolutely continue on this path of growth and increasingly become a supplier of complete solutions.”

With the rebranding, the company is also taking a stand for the Paris Climate Agreement and the global pursuit of a carbon-neutral economy: “For the first time ever, the international community has set a climate target. We want to play our part in helping to achieve it,” said Lauber. “With our products and services, our activities have a significant impact on the global economy. In shipping, for example, we move more than half of the global stream of goods, while energy generation and industrial production also assume key roles on the path to fulfilling the Paris Agreement.

MAN Energy Solutions sees great potential in Power-to-Gas technology, which allows energy generated from renewable sources to be converted into synthetic fuels, such as natural gas. Lauber said: “Using Power-to-Gas technology, we can produce a number of completely carbon-neutral, synthetic gases that can drastically reduce the CO2 impact of logistics and energy generation when used as fuel.

MAN Energy Solutions’ vision also sees electrical energy in the future generated either from renewable sources or by decentralised, flexible power plants that will increasingly be powered by such carbon-neutral fuels. Lauber said: “In addition, there will be storage solutions in a range of sizes. In this way, we will build the intelligent energy system of the future.

In relation to this, and together with ABB, MAN Energy Solutions recently introduced ETES (Electrothermal Energy Storage), an innovative storage solution that can supply entire neighbourhoods with electricity, heating and cooling. “ETES is the only system in existence that allows us to use, store and redistribute these resources all at the same time,” said Dr Lauber.

The great importance of energy and its handling is inherent in all customer segments that MAN Energy Solutions targets. “Whether we are talking about a marine-drive system, smart energy networks or efficient industrial-process solutions – converting energy into concrete economic and social benefits lies at the core of our business,” said Lauber. “By rebranding as MAN Energy Solutions, we are taking the next logical step and making that focus clear in our company name as well.

As part of the new branding, MAN Energy Solutions new brand claim is “Future in the making”.

Source: MAN Energy Solutions

The current pace of progress on three global energy goals – access to electricity, renewable energy and efficiency – is not moving fast enough to meet 2030 targets, according to the latest Global Tracking Framework (GTF) report released by the World Bank and the International Energy Agency as part of the Sustainable Energy for All Knowledge Hub.

The report shows that the increase of people getting access to electricity is slowing down, and if this trend is not reversed, projections are that the world will only reach 92% electrification by 2030, still short of universal access. Only energy efficiency made progress towards meeting these objectives; with energy savings during the 2012-2014 GTF reporting period enough to supply Brazil and Pakistan combined.

 

While the research found that most countries are not doing enough, some are showing encouraging progress, including Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Rwanda. These countries underscore that accelerating progress towards universal access is possible with the right policies, robust investments (both public and private) and innovative technology.

Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, said: “If we’re to make access to clean, affordable and reliable energy a reality, action must be driven through political leadership. This new data is a warning for world leaders to take more focused, urgent action on access to energy and clean cooking, improving efficiency and use of renewables to meet our goals. While we are making some progress – with many of the technologies we need available and policy roadmaps increasingly clear – it’s not enough. We all made the commitment to act, and every day we delay it becomes more painful and expensive.”

To meet Sustainable Energy for All objectives, it is estimated that renewable energy investment would need to increase by a factor of 2-3, while energy efficiency investment would need to increase by a factor of 3-6. Estimates suggest that a five-fold increase would be needed to reach universal access by 2030.

This year’s Global Tracking Framework is a wake-up call for greater effort on a number of fronts. There needs to be increased financing, bolder policy commitments, and a willingness to embrace new technologies on a wider scale. The World Bank is committed, alongside our international development partners, to support countries to reach these goals,” said Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director and Head of Energy and Extractives at the World Bank.

The Global Tracking Framework demonstrates the urgency to speed up action on achieving Sustainable Energy for All. We at the IEA are proud to contribute once again to this key publication, which highlights the necessity of a global transition to clean, modern energy and ensure a prosperous and productive future for everyone,” said Dr Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director.

Report highlights include;

  • On access to electricity, as of 2014, 1.06 billion people still do not have electricity – only a slight improvement since 2012. Of particular concern are populous, low electricity access countries like Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where electrification rates are declining. Some low-access countries made rapid progress, increasing electrification by two to three percentage points annually, including Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and especially Rwanda. Others, such as Afghanistan and Cambodia, are progressing rapidly by making greater use of off-grid solar energy, underscoring how new technologies can drive progress. Countries that are closing the access gap quickly will see improvements in education, health, jobs and economic growth.
  • On access to clean cooking, the number of people who use traditional, solid fuels to cook rose slightly to 3.04 billion (57.4 percent – barely up from 2012), indicating that efforts are lagging population growth. In Afghanistan and Nigeria, for example, access to clean cooking has been falling by about one percentage point annually. At the other end of the spectrum, Indonesia made the most progress, raising access to clean cooking by more than eight percentage points annually. Vietnam and Sudan also fared well.
  • On renewable energy, overall progress is modest. While new power generation technologies such as wind and solar are growing rapidly – representing a third of the expansion in renewable energy consumption in 2013–2014 – they are growing from a very small base, only 4% of renewable energy consumption in 2012. The challenge is to increase reliance on renewable energy in the heat and transport sectors, which account for the bulk of global energy consumption.
  • Energy efficiency Of the 20 largest energy consuming countries, Australia, China, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom cut energy intensity by more than 2% annually – with the industrial sector making the greatest reductions. Going forward, the residential sector – which is becoming more energy intensive rather than less so – must be the focus of efficiency efforts.

Now into its third edition, the report measures progress from 2012 to 2014 on three global sustainability goals: universal access to electricity and clean cooking, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030.

The report draws from official national level data and provides harmonized analysis at the regional and global levels. The 2013 edition measured progress between 1990 and 2010, while the 2015 report focused on progress from 2010–2012.

The Sustainable Energy for All Global Tracking Framework is produced jointly by the World Bank’s Energy and Extractives Global Practice, the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), and the International Energy Agency, and is supported by 20 other partner organizations and agencies. Starting in 2018, the GTF will move to an annual rather than biennial cycle.

Source: The World Bank

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Tesla and Panasonic have entered into a non-binding letter of intent under which they will begin collaborating on the manufacturing and production of photovoltaic cells and modules in Buffalo, New York. Under this agreement, which is contingent upon shareholders’ approval of Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla will use the cells and modules in a solar energy system that will work seamlessly with Powerwall and Powerpack, Tesla’s energy storage products. With the aid of installation, sales and financing capabilities from SolarCity, Tesla will bring an integrated sustainable energy solution to residential, commercial, and grid-scale customers.

The parties intend for Panasonic to begin PV cell and module production at the Buffalo facility in 2017. Tesla intends to provide a long-term purchase commitment for those cells from Panasonic.

 

The collaboration extends the established relationship between Tesla and Panasonic, which includes the production of electric vehicle and grid storage battery cells at Tesla’s Gigafactory.

The continued partnership between Tesla and Panasonic is an important step in creating fully-integrated energy products for businesses, home owners and utilities, and furthers Tesla’s mission toward a sustainable energy future.

Source: Tesla

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The Shell #makethefuture campaign is highlighting the need for greater global collaboration to create more and cleaner energy solutions, by helping to bring to life innovations from six smart energy start-ups. Technologies from the bright energy businesses were showcased in Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Marta community, before they are installed in communities that require urgent access to cleaner energy.

The entrepreneurs’ innovations are being brought together in Santa Marta as it is benefitting from an installation by Insolar, a solar energy start-up that is one of the featured entrepreneurs being supported by Shell.

 

Insolar is fitting photovoltaic panels to some of Santa Marta’s most widely used community centres, including a samba school and crèche, which are central to the life of the community’s 8,000 residents.
Young Brazilian entrepreneur Henrique Drumond who founded Insolar sees the project as a significant step in his mission to help to bring cleaner energy to Brazil, where solar accounts for only 0.02 per cent of the energy mix, with only 1,731 small-scale solar systems connected to its grid – despite more than 2,000 hours of sunlight blazing on the country each year. In Rio alone, an estimated 1.4 million residents of the city’s 763 favelas are affected by rising energy prices and unreliable power supply. The Insolar installation is expected to generate the equivalent of 185,000 days of free, clean power over the lifetime of the solar panels.

Showcasing bright energy technologies in Rio kick-starts a global ‘energy relay’ to show collaboration with leading energy entrepreneurs is vital to help to secure a bright energy future, and to invite the world to support and participate in the creation of smart energy solutions.

Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said: “I’m personally inspired by the ingenuity of these innovators, and the ambition to forge a brighter energy future for our planet. Collaboration and entrepreneurialism are essential to finding energy solutions that can enable development and a decent way of life for people across the world while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. These values are central to our #makethefuture campaign to help achieve a better energy future together.”

Insolar director Henrique Drumond said: “My vision was to create a social enterprise that provides communities with a cleaner source of energy. On my journey through the Shell programmes that support entrepreneurs, including Shell Iniciativa Jovem, and the Accelerator, the company has always supported this vision. I am thrilled to see this collaboration brought to life in Rio. We hope Santa Marta will be an inspiration to other bright minds and unlock more answers to tomorrow’s energy challenges in communities, cities and countries around the world.”

The innovations that will be displayed in Santa Marta alongside Insolar include:

bio-bean – which explores how to reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions from transport by turning coffee dregs into a sustainable transport fuel,
Capture Mobility – demonstrates how roadside turbulence from cars and trucks can generate clean power for local communities,
GravityLight – improves health and wellbeing in energy deprived communities by using a simple   pulley and weight system to generate electricity,
MotionECO – uses waste cooking oil to help to create a market for renewable diesel in China (in transport, public services and logistics) and discourage the harmful reuse of cooking oil, and
Pavegen – converts power from footsteps into renewable energy that can power a community

shell_conciertoJoining the #makethefuture movement as ambassadors are six award-winning international musicians: Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, Brazilian singer Luan Santana, British performer Pixie Lott, American DJ/Producer Steve Aoki, China’s pop star Tan WeiWei and Nigerian idol Yemi Alade. The artists are uniting with the energy entrepreneurs and Shell to help shine a light on the worldwide need for access to more and cleaner energy. The launch of the global ‘energy relay’ was celebrated on September 28 with some of the #makethefuture ambassadors performing a series of concerts at the heart of the Santa Marta community, during which the music video for the Best Day of My Life was premiered.

In October, #makethefuture will move on to Kenya, where Shell is working with GravityLight – a UK-based start-up that has developed a gravity-powered lamp designed to improve health and wellness across Kenya by bringing clean, affordable light to low income homes.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) committed $4.4 billion for projects that target climate change adaptation and mitigation, renewable energy and environmental sustainability in 2014, an increase of $1.5 billion over the previous year.

This investment represents one-third of the Banks’ lending for the year, surpassing its institutional target of 25 percent, according to the IDB’s annual Sustainability Report unveiled here today.

The Report highlights the Bank’s sustainability performance in 2014, both in achieving institutional sustainability investment targets, as well as through a series of stories about the projects it is undertaking in its member countries.

Projects highlighted in the Report include a new model for sustainable hydropower in Peru and the transformation of an urban landscape with new green spaces in Brazil.

The Sustainability Report also details the Banks work to implement a new sustainable infrastructure strategy and vision—one that sees a shift from infrastructure being a fixed asset to infrastructure that is planned, built, and maintained as a service for people. Other examples of the Bank’s work with member countries highlighted in the publication include improving environmental and social standards in wind projects in Uruguay, and a sustainable tourism program in Belize.

Additionally in 2014, in partnership with the Harvard Zofnass Program, three infrastructure projects in the region that demonstrated efforts to integrate sustainability into planning, design, construction, and operation, were recognized with the Infrastructure 360 Award.

The IDB has also continued to expand its activities through special initiatives focused on different elements of sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2014, fourteen cities joined the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative, which helps to identify actions required and to leverage critical funds that help cities on a path to long-term urban sustainability.

In addition, the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Program, now in its second year, provided funding in 2014 for 10 new projects which integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services into key economic sectors, such as infrastructure, agriculture, energy, and tourism.

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