Africa is the Place to Be!

Africa   Interested in contributing to REN21’s production of renewable energy and energy efficiency status report for southern Africa?  Let us know by completing this Expression of Interest  form. Don’t forget that the South Africa International Renewable Energy Conference (SAIREC) will be held 4-7 October in Cape Town. Applications for hosting a side event at SAIREC are now being accepted – deadline for submissions is 29 May so don’t delay!

If you are more interested in developments in Central and Eastern Europe how about submitting a tender to author, in cooperation with REN21, a status report for the region on renewable energy and energy efficiency?  For more information about the above or to read about interesting activities happening across the renewable energy sector give REN21’s latest newsletter a read.

All eyes on Lima

The COP20 closed its doors today for good, paving the way for Paris 2015. Negotiators and climate change activists are returning to their homes to carry on the decisions made at in Lima. In the meantime, PowerMundo, one of our project partners, is chasing the ambitious goal to provide sustainable lighting to the most rural, and remote off-grid areas of Peru. While at the COP REEEP’s Director General, Martin Hiller, visited with PowerMundo the outskirts of Lima to see the effects and benefits they bring to these people.

Continue reading “All eyes on Lima”

Was the Brazilian World Cup a green event?

Last Sunday was a great moment for the German football nation. They walked out of the Marcanã Stadium as the new Champion of the world. And I might be biased as I am German, but this was an impressive sporting moment.

And yet, one question remains to be answered; an event like this – that is able to excite, astonish and amaze billions of people all over the globe – is how sustainable and green? It was announced to be the greenest FIFA world cup ever.

The World Cup in Germany 2006 was already setting some examples how to be carbon neutral: tickets for matches could be used for public transportation; some stadiums had solar power, rainwater collection cisterns and free bicycle parking. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics environmental technologies were advanced and national environment reforms sped up. And the 2012 London Olympics were generally praised for strengthening sustainability benchmarks with strategies that could be used as an example for future mega-events like the World Cup.

Some main facts:

– FIFA announced its strategy for Brazil at RIO+20 including LEED green buildings certification for stadiums, Brazil-based carbon offsets, recycling and water conservation measures.

– FIFA celebrated solar panels, water conversation and waste reduction features in São Paulo and at Rio’s Maracanã.

– Yingli Solar was the first solar sponsor of the World Cup and it is also the largest solar company of the world. It already started their sponsorship during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Some things they haven’t achieved:

– The deadline for completing the first line of a monorail between São Paulo suburbs and the airport, to convey visitors smoothly while reducing pollution and traffic congestion, was pushed back due to construction delays. Further lines are still being planned, but there is no further information given when this will happen.

– The stadium in Manaus features the latest energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. Plans for powering the stadium through solar energy were abandon completely.

Comparing this to of what happened 2010 in South Africa shows that back then a total of 2,753,250 tonnes of CO2 equivalent were emitted. And looking at the table below from Ernst & Young’s comprehensive analysis one thing becomes clear: almost 70% of the 2010 World Cup emissions were from international transportation.

According to the Guardian total emissions “is roughly equivalent to 6,000 space shuttle fights, three quiet years for Mount Etna, or 20 cheeseburgers for every man, woman and child in the UK.”


Ernst and young sustainable world cup


There are no accurate numbers available for the current Cup, but despite their Sustainability Strategy, Brazil witnessed increased GHG emissions, environmental degradation, habitat loss and water pollution as major impacts of the World Cup to one of the richest biodiversity globally. And everyone remembers the pictures of demonstrations against the Cup beforehand.

However! For whatever reason, the least important part of our modern society is in fact able to attract the biggest attention. People listen to the sport industry, their events and their marketing like to hardly anything else. Sport can influence the public opinion and even governments (see Brazilian Budweiser Bill). So it is important that such events proclaim their thirst to become greener and sustainable – even if it is a long way to take.

Although there is no direct correlation, at the same time when the World Cup was occupying the stage of attention all over the world, the biggest rooftop solar farm in Latin America was unveiled in Brazil. Yes, they have nothing in common other than the sustainable movement and clean energy is taking over.

Ideal, a solar-certification company, commented on this milestone that their “idea is to show the potential and the technical and economic viability of solar energy in urban areas throughout Latin America, and the design of the model … will convince government and investors in this technology”.

More information:

Sustainable Brazil – Ernst & Young

Closing the Data Collection Gap

I am just back from the the Second High-Level Meeting (HLM) of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) which took place last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme was “Taking the Next Step: Africa and the EU are tackling energy challenges together”. I had hoped to send an entry while there but there were too many interesting people to talk to and the time just slipped away.

REN21 was there to participate but also to host a couple of side-events, one of which was on the challenges of closing the data gap. Despite being held just prior to the High-Level Meeting the event was well-attended and the lively discussion illustrated just how important/difficult/frustrating the issue of data collection is. The participants were from NGOs, research institutes, government and business with the result that the session was not one of finger pointing (as to who was at fault for not leading the data collection “brigade”) but rather an energetic discussion about how to close the data gap. We grappled with what we mean when we say “data” and who should engage in the process. Two key points came out of the discussion. Continue reading “Closing the Data Collection Gap”

REEEP attends the 7th World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi

The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) is one of the world’s foremost events dedicated to renewable energies, energy efficiency and clean technologies. This yearly event includes a large-scale Conference, an international Exhibition, the Project & Finance Village, the Young Future Energy Leaders program, Zayed Future Energy Prize as well as a number of corporate meetings and concurrent social events. The event is hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted renewable energy company, and staged at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Building on the high profile successes of WFES 2013, the 7th annual gathering of future energy’s world leaders will be home to brilliant minds and inspiring thinkers for three days of expert debate and world class innovation in the heart of Abu Dhabi.

This year, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership REEEP is again present to connect with other players in the field as well as to showcase our impressive portfolio of supported clean energy projects and our work in knowledge management and open dataREEEP/REIL will host a plenary session on day 3 (22 Jan, in the morning) again – James Cameron will moderate and REEEP’s  Director General Martin Hiller will speak. In addition to this, there will be a data-related session with IT and Operations Director Florian Bauer. Continue reading “REEEP attends the 7th World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi”

Climate Change Showdown.

REN21 is gearing up for its participation at the climate change talks in Warsaw.  While climate is not a central theme to REN21’s work, renewables should be a central element of any climate action plan.

Despite tremendous growth in renewable energy witnessed over the last decade, fossil fuels continue to be a destructive force on our environment and the chief contributor to global climate change. Fossil fuel combustion currently accounts for nearly 70 percent of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, two-thirds of which come from the energy sector. Although renewables accounted for 19 percent of global energy consumption in 2011, new estimates for CO2 emissions from traditional fossil fuels reveal a 1.4 percent increase, resulting in a record high of 31.6 gigatonnes (Gt). Continue reading “Climate Change Showdown.”

Investment in West Africa – Renewables on the rise…

flag of the Economic Community of West African...
flag of the Economic Community of West African States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

REN21 recently participated at the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Investment Week in Accra, Ghana. Coordinated by ECREEE (the ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) this conference celebrated the second year of ECREEE’s RE Investment Initiative. This initiative works to reduce one of the main bottlenecks in region—the mobilisation of investments for RE infrastructure projects. Perhaps the most interesting part of the conference was the ten investor-ready clean energy projects from around the region. The range of project was impressive. Interested in a wave powered desalinisation plant in Cape Verde? How about pay-as-you-go solar technology in Nigeria or the commercialisation of biomass in Senegal? Regardless of geographic or technical preference it is clear that there is a real entrepreneurial drive in West Africa to increase energy access. Securing the necessary financing however still remains a problem. The financial environment is still too risky for most investors and the returns too low. However as presentation and discussions illustrated governments and development banks are stepping into the void; creative solutions are beginning to emerge. It will be interesting to see one year on how well these partnerships are able to fill this important funding gap.

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