The leading global renewable energy industry associations have sent a clear signal to the UNFCCC negotiators about the crucial role of renewable energy technologies at the recently concluded COP25 climate conference in Madrid, Spain. Convening at an official side event, speakers from REN Alliance* informed the gathered delegates about the latest technological developments of renewable energies and the immense potential offered by these technologies to meet the Paris Agreement goals.
Laura Williamson from REN21 was the keynote speaker at the side event and the main message was the need for a global shift from an electricity transformation to an energy system transformation considering the fact that apart the progress of renewable energy technologies is quite slow in heating, cooling and transport sectors. The speech also focused on the need for removing fossil fuel subsidies, adoption of carbon pricing, aligning policies across sectors, understanding the important role of cities and the role of data to better inform policy makers.
Representing the International Solar Energy Society (ISES), Dr. Jose Gonzalez Aguilar highlighted the significant drop in costs of renewable energy generation – especially solar PV. Dr. Jose highlighted the opportunities for solar heating and cooling along with solar electricity for transport sectors.
Marit Brommer from International Geothermal Association (IGA) urged the delegates to move the discussion towards non electricity sectors and geothermal promotes policy measures for heating and cooling sectors. Renewable technologies work towards the SDG 7 of UN, and that geothermal is relevant to many other goals including SDG 9, SDG 11 and SDG 12 etc.
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) representative was Mathis Rogner who highlighted the role of hydropower in developing the renewable energy deployment. It is crucial for policy makers to raise ambition in their national commitments and hydropower contribution is expected to grow substantially globally. Mathis highlighted case studies where hydropower and renewable technologies working together to have mutual benefits and increase resilience.
Finally, Remigijus Lapinskas from World Bioenergy Association highlighted that the world is moving away from the Paris goals towards a point of no return. Bioenergy offers sustainable and renewable options for heating and transport sectors and that agricultural residues to energy could be the next revolution in the bioenergy sector.
After the panel speeches, the panelists had an opportunity to respond to queries from the audience. In the end, the key messages from the panelists to the policy makers gathered in Madrid was:
- Make efforts in increasing renewable energy penetration in the electricity grid
- Leadership in policy instruments moving beyond electricity toward energy sector
- Form markets rewarding power system flexibility
- Stop financing and subsidizing fossil fuels and increase investments in RE technologies
All the panelists highlighted the importance of all renewable energy stakeholders including REN Alliance, REN21, IRENA etc. to work together to promote at 100% renewable energy mix.
Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General of the World Wind Energy Association, commented from the distance: “Clearly, the COP25 in Madrid has not achieved what we would have liked to see. This underlines the need to act on the ground, on the local and on the national level. Hand in hand with the new climate movement, the renewable energy community is prepared to reinforce the urgently needed momentum and to do the steps that are necessary for a 100% renewable energy world.”
The side event can be viewed on demand at the UNFCCC Webcast here: Link
* REN Alliance:The REN Alliance is a coalition of five renewable industry organizations that works towards a world where our energy needs are met primarily by renewable sources. Its mission is to demonstrate how renewables can work together in different local, national and regional contexts to meet the world’s energy needs. The partners include: International Geothermal Association (IGA), International Hydropower Association (IHA), International Solar Energy Society (ISES), World Bioenergy Association (WBA) and World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).