The summer heat that has finally hit Paris! It is reminiscent of the heat I recently experienced at the Asian Clean Energy Forum (ACEF); one major difference however is that in Manila everything is air-conditioned whereas in Paris you have to determinedly hunt out this “luxury”.
While luxuriating in the cool air at the ACEF, I listened to numerous presentations and spoke with many people about the state of renewables in the Asian region. A lot is happening. I spoke with those who work on national energy policies; those who buy and sell equipment; NGO representatives who advocate renewables to provide necessary energy services; engineers who calculate the load bearing capacity of rooftops to support PV panels; and regulators who set feed-in-tariffs and define other fiscal mechanisms.
As REN21’s latest Renewables Global Status Report outlines, Asia is rapidly developing its renewable energy capacity. By the end of 2012 China, India and Japan had at least 1 GW of total PV capacity each, with China and Japan among the six markets for PV installation. Small pilot CSP plants came into operation in China, India, and South Korea. China’s wind power generation increased by 13 GW surpassing generation from coal and passed nuclear power output for the first time and India added 2.3 GW of wind capacity. Three Asian countries (China, Japan and India) were among the top 20 bio-power generators. The renewable sector also had important knock-on effects in the region; globally, 5.5 million jobs were created directly or indirectly in the renewables sector, many of which were in China and India.
So with all this movement, interest and energy why is the overall share of renewables in the region’s final energy consumption not higher? The answer is policy. Regardless of the topic discussed at the ACEF, the need for clear, stable policies was called for, time and again. Public policy and political leadership help to create an equitable environment and drive the wider acceptance of renewable energy technologies. City governments have proven this; in spite of a regression in the number of national policies in 2012, numerous town and cities advanced initiatives and policies that complemented and in many cases went beyond national policies and programmes. Given the slowness with which many national-level processes unfold, it is cities, towns and local communities that will play a key role in driving the penetration of renewables. With the rapid rate of urbanisation in Asia, efforts should be aimed at helping local governments decision makers make the right decisions regarding renewable technology deployment.
Laura will continue to contribute blog articles for our readers right here at blog.reegle.info !