Earlier this week, the annual general meeting of REEEP’s seven regional secretariats took place in Vienna. The network met to discuss the global activities of the partnership as part of the 2009 planning process
The East Asian regional secretariat based in Beijing mentioned that while REEEP is working with the Chinese government to facilitate change, it will become increasingly important to try to engage the Chinese business sector. “Governments make laws, but business makes change,” stated Ma Lingjuan.
The Latin American and Caribbean regional secretariat mentioned that they have received an increasing number of requests regarding renewable energy for the region. The Latin American region is still lacking sufficient legislation in support of renewables and financing is very difficult to obtain. Other issues include the cheap electricity prices that are making it difficult to promote energy efficiency initiatives, such as switching to CFL light bulbs. “Countries are conscious about carbon, but there is no sense of urgency to act,” stated Juan Cruz Monticelli.
The Russian regional secretariat commented on Russia’s newly established department to address energy efficiency in the country. Energy efficiency is an urgent issue. The regional secretariat recently conducted a sustainable energy training for regional and national journalists in order to improve reporting on the subject of renewables, climate change and energy security.
The Southeast Asia and Pacific regional secretariat noted that since the Australian elections last year the country has now acknowledged that climate change exists. The secretariat is currently focusing more on Pacific islands than on Southeast Asia. The secretariat noted that at the Pacific Power conference, utilities for the first time ever addressed how they could migrate to renewable energy and they’re now investigating grid interconnection issues. Another issue the region faces is energy efficiency on the generation side, as losses are averaging 25%.
The Southern Africa regional secretariat was recently moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg into the offices of SANERI (South African National Energy Research Institute). This was the first time that a representative from SANERI attended the annual REEEP meeting. The secretariat noted the skepticism among Southern African regulators towards renewable energy. Apparently regulators in Africa feel that “the road to renewable energy is littered with failure.” The secretariat intends to increase its focus on regulator education.
The North American regional secretariat noted the rise in “sub-national” focus on renewable and energy efficiency. “Action occurs at the local level,” stated Chuck Wilson. Apparently more than 27 states now have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) that act as support mechanisms for renewable energy. The secretariat will also focus on strengthening links with the Asia Pacific region, noting APEC and APP as target organisations.
Finally, the South Asia regional secretariat spoke about the current state of renewables in India. The government is promoting grid-connected renewables for energy security reasons. The government has also come out with a Generation Based incentive scheme for solar power projects. The Asian Development Bank is working with the Indian Ministry of Finance to develop a funding scheme for roof top solar photovoltaic systems. Members of the REEEP regional secretariat are actively involved in this project.