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Air Quality Photo courtesy: CEM 2012

Published on April 27th, 2012 | by Andrew

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23 National Energy, Private & Public Sector Leaders Make UN Sustainable Energy for All Commitments

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April 27th, 2012 by  

Photo courtesy: CEM 2012

Gathering in London for the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), energy ministers, and secretaries, from 23 governments around the world joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s Sustainable Energy for All program (SE4All) in committing to promote improved energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies and increased energy access around the world.

“To support and ensure the development and deployment of clean energy technologies we do need to work together to facilitate the best conditions for companies to innovate, grow and expand, within and in between our countries,” Sweden’s Minister of Energy Anna-Karin Hatt commented. “This is why the Clean Energy Ministerial is such an excellent initiative. It can really make a change when it comes to pushing the clean energy technology evolution in the right direction by establishing better conditions for new clean technologies. These technologies will in the end be part of the solution to avoid further climate change.”

The 23 nations participating in the third CEM account for 90% of global clean energy investment. Two years in the making, participating countries and private sector leaders pledged to support the goal of sustainable energy for all by 2030, the primary objective of the UN’s SE4All initiative, according to the Dept. of Energy’s report.

“The Clean Energy Ministerial brings together public and private sector leaders from around the world to take concrete steps in accelerating the deployment of clean energy technologies,” US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu stated. “Our energy challenges won’t wait, and neither can we. By working together, we can seize the clean energy opportunity – saving money for consumers, promoting sustainable economic growth, and protecting the planet for future generations.”

SE4All’s Three Primary Goals

SE4All has three “synergistic” objectives for 2030, and a fourth category of “cross-cutting commitments” to “accelerate progress on all three objectives simultaneously.”

  1. Ensuring universal access to modern energy services
  2. Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
  3. Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

Sixteen CEM governments participating in the “Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment” (SEAD) committed to continue improving the energy efficiency of appliances and equipment, according to a CEM summary. Cooperation through SEAD can reduce energy consumption enough to avoid the need to build more than 650 mid-sized power plants by 2030, saving billions of dollars of investment while reducing cumulative carbon dioxide emissions by 11 billion metric tons from 2010-2030, according to a Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s study.

CEM governments also announced major efforts to accelerate adoption of renewable energy resources and other low-carbon forms of energy.

  • Denmark, Germany, and Spain released a global renewable resource atlas that maps the potential for solar and wind energy across the world. They also announced plans to assess the cost-effectiveness of those resources in different countries, based on energy prices, project finance costs, and available incentives.
  • The United Kingdom announced the establishment of up to £60 million in new funding to support the demonstration of carbon capture and storage technologies in developing countries

CEM participants also announced wide-ranging multinational public-private sector initiatives to “catalyze self-sustaining market solutions to quickly address critical energy needs”:

  • The Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), announced today, will promote market-based delivery of low-cost, quality-assured solutions to consumers who currently lack modern energy options.
  • Global LEAP partners include the United States and Italy, along with the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the UN Foundation, the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the African Development Bank, the Global Environment Facility, the UN Development Program, and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry. More than 100 private sector and civil society organizations have expressed support for its principles.
  • Italy and the U.S. today announced the launch of Lighting India, which will to bring modern lighting services to two million people by the end of 2015, in affiliation with Global LEAP.
  • Global LEAP builds on the success of the Lighting Africa program, which has already accelerated market-driven delivery of quality-assured off-grid lighting devices to 2.5 million people in Africa.
  • Global LEAP partners also announced a product awards competition for super efficient off-grid lighting and televisions; entry rules for manufacturers will be available later this year with awards to be given to winners in 2013.
  • Global LEAP will also develop a sustainable international quality assurance framework for off-grid lighting. Efforts advanced by Global LEAP members have the potential to avoid over five million tonnes per year of carbon emissions while saving rural consumers more than $1 billion per year.

Cross-cutting initiatives agreed to at the third CEM include:

  • Eleven countries agreed to bolster the Clean Energy Solutions Center, a $15 million Internet-based technical assistance project jointly led by Australia and the United States in partnership with UN-Energy.
  • Today the ClimateWorks Foundation and its network committed to in-kind support for no-cost technical advice for up to $1M over three years through the Clean Energy Solutions Center. The ClimateWorks Network commitment includes technical advice from the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP), Institute for Industrial Productivity (IIP), International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), and the Global Buildings Performance Network (GBPN).
  • The Solutions Center has already fielded requests for policy assistance from senior government officials from more than 20 countries, which has received strongly positive reviews. For example, Namibia noted “The CEM Initiative has been very helpful to us…in our endeavor to establish an appliance labeling and standards development programme[and to conduct a] renewable energy resources assessment.”
  • The Solutions Center is partnering with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on the delivery of renewable energy policy advice and with the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) on the delivery of energy efficiency policy assistance.
  • The Government of India announced its intention to create a detailed database of national and sub-national clean energy policies and incentives, with support from the United States during the design phase.
  • As part of its web portal, the Solutions Center is also launching a quarterly clean energy policy and market briefing in partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Finally, the Solutions Center partnered with the Global Cool Cities Alliance to launch a cool roofs policy toolkit.
  • CEM governments today launched the 21st Century Power Partnership, with the goal of unlocking large-scale demand-side management and renewable energy electricity generation, through policies and programs that leverage smart grid technologies. The Partnership will develop and share knowledge on smart policies, strengthen and disseminate technical tools that support both regulators and the private sector and bolster the human capacity needed to lead this transformation. The Partnership will leverage this work to support national and sub-national efforts to deploy central station renewables, clean distributed generation, and energy efficiency at scale.
  • China, Denmark, Sweden and the UAE launched a Global Sustainable Cities Network, to be a platform for pioneering urban sustainability efforts. The initial focus areas include waste-to-energy and city-level demand management, taking many of the lessons and outputs from other CEM initiatives.
  • The United States also announced a national Women in Clean Energy program in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as part of its commitment to the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Initiative (C3E). The program’s three components include more than 20 senior professional women in clean energy serving as “C3E Ambassadors”, an awards program to recognize individuals who have advanced women’s leadership and their accomplishments in clean energy, and a symposium at MIT in September 2012.

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About the Author

I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.



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