NewEnergyNews: TODAY’S STUDY: THE WORLD’S ROADMAP TO DOUBLE THE NEW ENERGY

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YESTERDAY

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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

    TODAY’S STUDY: THE WORLD’S ROADMAP TO DOUBLE THE NEW ENERGY

    IRENA REMAP 2030; Doubling the Global Share of Renewable Energy – A Roadmap to 2030

    January 2014 (International Renewable Energy Agency)

    Executive Summary

    In the context of the 2012 “International Year for Sustainable Energy for All” (SE4ALL), the United Nations Secretary-General has launched the SE4ALL initiative. The aim of this initiative is to achieve three global interlinked energy policy objectives by 2030: 1) ensuring universal access to modern energy services; 2) doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and 3) doubling the share of renewable energy (RE) in the global energy mix.

    In 2012, IRENA was requested by its Members to explore pathways towards the achievement of this aspirational RE target. In response, the Agency has designed a transparent, inclusive and open process to develop a global Renewable Energy Roadmap (REMAP 2030). It is envisaged that REMAP 2030, to be annually updated, will be a valuable tool to support Members’ renewable energy planning and international cooperation activities. It will also serve as a global compass to coordinate and synthesise RE activities within the context of the SE4ALL initiative.

    In 2012, IRENA was requested by its Members to explore pathways towards the achievement of this aspirational RE target. In response, the Agency has designed a transparent, inclusive and open process to develop a global Renewable Energy Roadmap (REMAP 2030). It is envisaged that REMAP 2030, to be annually updated, will be a valuable tool to support Members’ renewable energy planning and international cooperation activities. It will also serve as a global compass to coordinate and synthesise RE activities within the context of the SE4ALL initiative.

    In 2012, IRENA conducted preliminary studies to determine initial results for each of these three steps. In 2013, IRENA will rely upon close cooperation with Members throughout the process to identify realistic pathways to double the RE share by 2030, encouraging the nomination of national experts to contribute actively to the Roadmap process.

    Feasibility study:

    The three primary aims of this study, based on an extension of existing energy demand projections for 2030, were: 1) to explore the level of challenge of the SE4ALL objectives compared to existing scenarios for 2030; 2) to evaluate regional implications associated with a global doubling of the renewables share; and 3) to assess the interaction between the renewables objectives and the other two SE4ALL objectives of energy efficiency improvements and universal access to modern energy services. The initial results, shared with IRENA Members and other key stakeholders in two REMAP workshops in September and November 2012, suggest that, whilst considering both the universal access and energy efficiency objectives, there is still a nine percentage point gap between existing renewable energy plans and a 30% target, or a 15% gap if a doubling of the renewable energy share is to be achieved. Substantial increases in both renewable energy power generation and renewable end-use applications are required to fill this gap, and need to be implemented across the world. All sectors and regions will need to increase and join efforts to achieve the SE4ALL objective.

    Gap analysis:

    The second step of the REMAP process calls for an assessment of the disparity between the third SE4ALL target and existing national RE plans and projections. Some data on these plans are available from the existing literature, but they lack consistency and uniformity. To initiate this data collection process, IRENA invited the largest economies in each region to provide data on their national RE plans and projections. This pilot project provided valuable insights into the regional differences between RE targets and national concerns affecting them and laid the foundation for a global gap analysis.In 2013, all countries are invited to provide their overall energy supply and demand projections until 2030, emphasising renewable energy policies and targets in place and under consideration. The data will include an energy balance sheet and a list of key technology options, including their expected contributions by 2030. This information will help to validate and improve the estimates from the existing literature and will provide a useful resource for countries developing, reviewing or updating their own RE plans.

    Sectoral-Regional Analysis:

    The third and final analytical step of the REMAP process will focus on prioritising RE technology options to fill the gap between the pathways to achieving the SE4ALL objectives and the national RE plans and projections. Preliminary conclusions are that – at the global level – about half of the renewable energy potential to fill the gap is in the power sector, and the other half in the end-use sectors buildings, transport and industry. Our global analysis suggests that full implementation of the technology options identified between now and 2030 would, depending on global energy demand, be able to achieve and even surpass the SE4ALL target for renewables.

    An assessment of technology options need to take place at a regional level in order to identify priority action items in the sectors relevant to the different regions. The potential of both renewable power generation and renewables applications in the end-use sectors differ largely across regions, and even across countries. Regional prioritisation requires consideration of a large number of specific regional conditions, including economic and social issues, and collaboration with national RE experts is crucial for this prioritisation process.

    At a global level, IRENA’s preliminary sectoral approach has identified the following initial action areas:

    • Currently, biomass accounts for almost 80% of all renewable energy consumption. Increasing the efficiency and sustainability of traditional uses of biomass will free up biomass resources to be used sustainably in other ways. Simultaneously, this will reduce the overall share of renewables in the energy mix. Since the role of biomass will continue to grow as biomass-based renewable applications in end-use sectors (e.g. transport, buildings and industry) are expanded, all regions should examine biomass’ potential role and costs more carefully.

    • The share of renewables in the electricity sector will have to double to achieve the SE4ALL objective. Furthermore, an increased share of renewables in the electricity sector will also create opportunities to bring renewables into end-use sectors as industrial processes and transport are electrified, and a growing number of households worldwide are using electrical appliances in their households. Transforming the electricity sector will require upgrades and modernised extensions of old grid systems and, at the same time, will provide opportunities for new innovative solutions to be implemented (e.g. energy storage systems, smart grids, monitoring of energy flows and harmonised regulation).

    • Acceleration of renewable heat applications in the buildings and industry sector is essential. Heat demand in these two end-use sectors accounts for almost one-third of global energy use. Significant potential exists in cement, iron and steel making, and in the petro-chemical industry as well as in non-energy uses where ongoing efforts to implement renewables solutions are lagging behind for different reasons. There is also a large potential for renewables for heating and cooling in buildings where a host of RE technologies (e.g. solar water heating, biogas and geo-, aero-and aqua-thermal heat pumps) can provide affordable and reliable heat. It will be crucial to tap all the renewable heat options to achieve the SE4ALL target.

    Results from these three initial action areas show that a long-term vision and timely implementation will be imperative to achieve the SE4ALL objectives. Prospects and costs are still uncertain for a number of RE technologies as they depend on global fossil fuel trends, RE technological developments and their rate of uptake. Timely action can avoid a lock in of non-renewable options and create a longer-term competitive advantage, although the early phase-out of existing capital stock requires brave forward-looking decisions and visionary investment policies. Some promising output examples include: high-speed trains, interregional electricity or biomass trade, district heating and cooling systems, sun-oriented roof surfaces and industrial commodity production facilities located near suitable renewable resources.

    Global engagement in REMAP 2030 is urgent precisely at this point in time because the long lead time between capital stock build-up and its impact on the energy system means that energy decisions made today will largely determine the energy mix in 2030.

    REMAP 2030 can succeed if—and only if—it is fully owned, developed and refined by Members with the support of IRENA. Therefore, it is crucial that countries become engaged in creating this global Roadmap, learning from each other’s experiences, using opportunities in their national systems to connect with technology developments across the globe, engaging in regional initiatives and improving national renewable energy plans through dialogue involving national RE experts. Together, this Roadmap and its associated process provide a forum for such a global dialogue.

    In 2013, IRENA will continue to facilitate the Roadmap process upon which it has embarked by developing and expanding the tools to evaluate the level of challenge, to assess the gap between the SE4ALL target and national renewable energy plans, and to prioritise the sectoral action items to achieve the third SE4ALL objective: doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030…

    Conclusions

    1. A doubling of the renewables share is achievable and requires action in all regions. The magnitude of the challenge will depend on progress made on energy efficiency and universal access. Increasing the efficiency of traditional uses of biomass will free up resources, but reduce the overall share of renewables compared to current levels. On the other hand, increased energy efficiency will reduce the absolute growth required to achieve a doubling of the renewables share.

    2. Due to the inertia in the energy system and the long lead time required for development of new projects and investments in RE technologies, immediate action is required at a global scale. However, the challenges will differ substantially among the different countries and regions. A global doubling does not imply a doubling for each individual country.

    3. IRENA’s global Renewable Energy Roadmap—REMAP 2030 - can provide a global framework for renewable energy activities in the context of SE4ALL, and can become a valuable tool for IRENA Members, allowing them to participate in setting a global agenda assessing the actions taking place in different regions around the world and integrating them into a single framework.

    4. The support for REMAP 2030 has grown significantly in a short period of time. Through a number of workshops, IRENA has discussed and refined the REMAP process and elicited support from at least 18 countries around the world.

    5. The REMAP process will consist of three steps:

    a. A feasibility study will evaluate the level of challenge and develop associated pathways as first estimate benchmarks for global and regional action. IRENA’s preliminary analysis revealed that action in all regions will be required to achieve the SE4ALL objective for renewable energy.

    b. A gap analysis is required to compare national renewable energy plans and projections with the actions required to achieve the three SE4ALL objectives. For 2013, IRENA Members are invited to nominate national experts to provide data on national renewable energy plans and projections for 2030.

    c. A sectoral-regional analysis will fill the gap with sectoral action items specified at a interregional and regional level. In 2012, a preliminary global sectoral analysis was conducted and for 2013 IRENA invites Members to assign national experts to actively contribute and carry out these sectoral analyses at a regional level.

    6. Future “action areas” revealed by IRENA’s global preliminary sectoral analysis include:

    a. Accelerated investments in renewable power generation. The share of renewables in the electricity sector will have to double to achieve the SE4ALL objective. Transforming the electricity sector will require upgrades of old grid systems and, at the same time, provide opportunities for new solutions to be implemented.

    b. Acceleration of renewable heat applications in the buildings and industry sector. Heat demand in these two end-use sectors account for almost one-third of global energy use. It will be crucial to tap the whole range of renewable heat options to achieve the SE4ALL target.

    c. Biomass availability and cost assessments. Currently, biomass accounts for almost 80% of all renewables and its role will continue to grow as biomass-based renewable applications in end-use sectors (e.g. transport, buildings and industry) are expanded.

    7. In 2013, IRENA will facilitate the Roadmap process by developing tools to evaluate the level of challenge and progress towards achieving the third SE4ALL objective, collecting required information for consecutive gap analyses and developing and providing tools to prioritise and rank the sectoral action items at a regional level.

    8. The most important and far-reaching conclusion is that the REMAP 2030 project can succeed only if it is fully owned and developed by IRENA Members.

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