Peyton Fleming, senior director Ceres is very positive about the future. Here is what he recommends we need to accelerate the global UN 2030 goals
I’m an optimist by nature, so when I see a new sustainable energy report I immediately look for the good news. And there’s plenty of that in the 2017 Global Tracking Framework report released last week by the World Bank and International Energy Agency in collaboration with 20 other agencies. The report showcases encouraging trends in providing the world’s neediest populations with access to reliable electricity and clean energy.
According to the report, 90 percent of Afghanistan’s war-torn population had electricity in 2014 — much of it solar — up from 50 percent just four years earlier. Fifty-six million more Indonesians were cooking with clean fuel instead of high-polluting kerosene. And decentralized, off-grid renewable energy, driven by plummeting prices for solar, is turning on the lights for tens of millions in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
These numbers may sound impressive, but when you consider that more than a billion people are still living in the dark without electricity — an appalling one of every seven people on the planet — it’s clear we have a very long way to go. No matter how you cut it, the world faces a big challenge in meeting key U.N. Sustainable Development Goals: providing universal access to modern energy services, doubling energy efficiency improvements and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030. At the rate we’re going, it’s unlikely we’ll hit these goals by 2040. “Business as usual isn’t enough. We need speed and scale,” said Sustainable Energy for All CEO Rachel Kyte.
So what will it take to bring these people, the vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific countries, into the modern energy economy more quickly? Some answers were floated last week at a three-day sustainable energy forum featuring a rich mix of on-the-ground entrepreneurs, funders, bankers and global clean energy luminaries.
One of the biggest opportunities is dramatically cheaper renewable energy — especially wind and solar, whose costs have dropped as much as 80 percent in just the past five years.One of the biggest opportunities is dramatically cheaper renewable energy — especially wind and solar, whose costs have dropped as much as 80 percent in just the past five years. In some places, such as Chile, India and Dubai, solar projects have earned the green distinction of being cheaper than coal. “They’re not just competitive. They’re producing the cheapest power at any time in history,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance founder and advisory board chairman Michael Liebreich told forum attendees.....