PARIS, France — The shift to 100 percent renewable energy has taken the center stage of this year’s climate change negotiations, and a global report shows how economies and communities could benefit from it.
El Hierro, the smallest and most remote Spanish Canary island, runs on completely renewable energy, a combination of wind and hydropower. It has a wind farm with an 11.5-megawatt (MW) capacity, and 11.32 MW pumped storage for hydroelectricity which powers the island’s domestic and industrial system, including a desalination plant.
On the one hand, the United States, and developing countries such as Kenya, the Philippines, and Uganda are at the forefront of geothermal energy, among the countries cited during the International Solar Energy Society (ISES)-organized forum on case studies of integrated technologies toward 100 percent renewables held on Monday in Le Bourget, Paris, France.
A global study shows that for 2013 alone, renewable energy accounted for at least 19 percent of the total global final energy consumption and this rate has been growing ever since.
Renewables 2015 Global Status Report, published by global energy policy multi-stakeholder network REN21, accounted this growth to several factors. Among them are energy-support policies, and the increasing cost-competitiveness of renewable energy.
World Biodiversity Association President Heinz Kopetz said that renewables can help reach the less than 2 degrees C target global warming.
Synergies of renewable energies, such as the example of El Hierro, among others, leads to improved energy efficiency, he added.
Meanwhile, the Lima to Paris Action Agenda also emphasized the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency as means to address climate change. A number of countries expressed how they are utilizing renewable energy to help accelerate the transition from fossil fuel-dependent economies to fully renewable energy dependent economies.
Africa launched a 300-GW renewable energy initiative by 2020, with demonstration of support and pledges from its various regions.
During the same meeting, the Global Geothermal Alliance was also launched which set to achieve 500 percent increase in worldwide installed capacity for geothermal electricity by 2030.
Yet, Climate Action Network members remain reluctant in taking these initiatives as a victory.
“(L)ooking at the proposed COP21 text as well as at the INDCs, negotiators and national governments are still overlooking the necessity to transition towards 100% renewable energy to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. The good news in fact comes from subnational governments: 1000 mayors from across the world are ready to lead the 100% RE movement,” said World Future Council senior program manager for climate and energy Anna Leidreiter in a statement.
photo credit: greenpeace
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