Clean Power

Published on June 1st, 2013 | by Thomas Gerke


Renewables Club Founded By 10 Countries

June 1st, 2013 by  

On the invitation of the German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, high-level representatives from 10 countries have gathered in Berlin to establish the Renewables Club on June 1st, 2013. Their common goal is to scale up the deployment of renewable energy worldwide. Founding members of this pro-renewable alliance are the People’s Republic of China, the Kingdom of Denmark, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of India, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of South Africa, the Kingdom of Tonga (as a representative of small and medium-sized island nations), the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).


Ten Pioneering Countries Establish Renewables Club

“As members of the Club we aim to lead by example,” said Minister Altmaier. “The Renewables Club is a political initiative of pioneering countries that are united by an important goal: a worldwide transformation of the energy system.” In such a system, renewable energy should play a key role in the future global energy supply.

“We are determined to work together as advocates and implementers of renewable energy at global level,” said Altmaier. “We in Germany do not stand alone with our Energiewende, but are a part of a strong group of leaders.”
The Club is intended to supplement and support the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Copyright: BMU / Ute Grabowsky,

Copyright: BMU / Ute Grabowsky,

“Renewable energy is not only a good way of combating climate change, it also contributes to prosperity and supply security throughout the world,” said Altmaier. “Especially at a time of growing energy demand, this is the attraction of renewable energy for countries all over the world.”

The Club members agreed to unite in putting renewable energy on the political agenda in the future. At the next UN climate conference, the Club plans to jointly present the advantages of renewable energy for prosperity, climate, and sustainable development. As a network and driver of ideas, the Club also aims to generate impetus for projects promoting the global transformation of the energy system.

A Closer Look At The Renewables Club

While the formal foundation of a club of pro–renewable energy nations did not come with any binding targets nor joined projects, it does send out some very powerful messages. One of the most important messages is propably the fact that 10 diverse nations publicly declare that the world has to move to a renewable future at this moment in time to deal with many of the existential challenges of our time.

From the official “Renewables Club – Communiqué“:
We recognize that, with the global energy demand predicted to rise  tremendously in the years to come, countries are facing investment and infrastructure decisions on a scale that will define the development of generations to come. We also recognize that the current energy system   as it stands right now poses risks to the climate, environment, poverty eradication, energy security and development, in particular in most vulnerable countries.

We are convinced that renewable energy, including transmission and interconnection infrastructures, is an essential part of the solution to the existential challenges we are facing and the means to transform the path to sustainability. We stress that renewable energy has entered  into a virtuous circle of falling costs, increasing deployment and accelerated technological progress, renewable energy technologies now representing economical choices in an increasing number of countries and regions.

What is even more impressive than the refreshingly clear language are some of the stats and facts surrounding the Renewables Club, even in its current ten-member set up:

  • With approximately 2.9 billion inhabitants, the ten member nations represent about 40% of the world population.
  • With approximately $19 trillion, they also represent about 27% of the world economy (measured in nominal GDP).
  • The members of the Renewables Club represented 40% of global investments in renewables last year.
  • The Renewables Club includes economies that are leaders in technology, innovation, industry, renewable deployment, and efficient policy frameworks, as well as those emerging economies that will benefit the most from a rapid transition to renewable energy.

In all fairness, the establishment of this club is perhaps just some symbolic low-level political “noise,” but it might also be the beginning of an important international institution that acts as a strong voice for the proven working solutions to many of the world’s problems, and as a spearhead against many of the political barriers that hinder progress today.

Perhaps a good indication of the latter is the fact that the formal foundation of this “coalition of the willing” or “axis of renewables” initiated by the German government was precluded by many bilateral agreements, cooperation treaties, and even explicit development projects.

To sum up my feelings about this news:
“Renewables for Peace, Now!” & “It’s the energy technology revolution, stupid!”

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About the Author

is a close observer of the scientific, political and economic energy debate in Germany and around the globe. Inspired by the life's work of the renewable energy advocate Hermann Scheer, Thomas focuses on spreading information that showcase the possibilities & opportunities of a 100% renewable energy system. Though technology is key for this energy shift, he also looks at the socio-economic benefits and the political, as well as structural barriers.

  • Proscovier Vikman

    Would love to get more information on how we can tap into this as a community in Uganda. Entebbe the Green City a push by residents to keep Entebbe Green and Clean

  • Vijay Kirpal

    Uncertain times and dwindling resources,call for speedy & urgent action-with regard to the type of resources best suited for a specific application or country.
    India is struggling with the energy problem,for nearly 30 years.Common sense dictates that we look at Solar energy,on account of its abundant availabilty,minimum gestation time and,quick addition on a productive resource.All the positives due to Solar energy usage will demolish the concept of any higher cost/watt generation.
    Furthermore,I feel that when we take the total cost of various systems,perhaps we skip the total system cost and the real transmission losses.
    We need to focus on the low hanging fruit rather than split our collective heads on the quality and quantity of coal,price of gas and,the continuous in-fighting between the various bodies involved in India-involved in the energy supply chain.
    Thank you.

  • Once again – I would like to present – I would like to present very seriously
    I have one method for solving integrity of energy no storage needed without losing landscape and environment -My energy model, adapting to green buildings,, sea, islands, rural areas; With characteristic continuous operation should not need expensive storage systems and cumbersome – Activities such as wind power, but not necessarily placed outdoors, working 24/24h
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  • All steps are necessary and support the Low Carbon Market – new jobs – cutting emissions and support a more sustainable development. Good news are –
    51%. The majority of Sweden’s energy comes from renewable sources.

    It is an achievement that has surpassed both the EU’s target of 49% by 2020 and the Swedish parliament adopted target of 50 percent in 2020.The seeds to this success can be traced back to the establishment of the official Oil Commission in 2005, which was charged with reducing Sweden’s dependence on oil. The full story at

    • Ross

      Congratulations. Take a day off and then straight back to work.

  • Jim Nelson

    Dear Thomas,

    ” the formal foundation of this “coalition of the willing” or “axis of
    renewables” initiated by the German government was precluded…”

    Please consult your dictionary. If it was precluded (meaning “made impossible” or “prevented”, it could not have happened. Yet your report says it did.

    • ThomasGerke

      Thanks, you are absolutly right. Sorry for the silly mistake. 🙂

      “precedent” or “preluded”… on of those pre’s 😉

  • JamesWimberley

    No statute, objectives, programme or secretariat? This is nothing more than green vapourware.

    • Ross

      Too cynical. This isn’t going to do the job of IRENA.

      Their objective is to demonstrate high level political support for renewable energy.

    • ThomasGerke

      True, there is not much substance behind this public declaration.
      But you forget that those countries already have significant renewable energy related national programs, policy in place and goals. In many cases they also have a legacy of surpassing initial expectations.

  • Bob_Wallace

    They should at least give honorable memberships to all the countries that are already 100% renewable.

    • Ross

      Whoever wrote their communiqué is definitely drinking the Cleantechnica kool-aid.

    • eject

      that is “only” electricity. The goal clearly must be 100% primary energy. That is what the club is about.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Paraguay produces 10x as much electricity as it uses. Would you at least allow them to receive an “Atta Boy”?

        You are correct that we need to make (almost all) our energy sources renewable. But any country that is now producing most of its electricity from renewables is ahead of any of the ten member. No country yet has a major amount of their transportation using renewable energy.

        • ThomasGerke

          I doubt that this institution is supposed to be an opportunity to parade stats around.

          And conventional hydro-power is hardly a new nor a viable solution to enable economic developement around the world.

          The energy transition has to overcome technical, economic & political challanges in order to unlock the benefits of the energy technology revolution.

          Every technological revolution in history has had initiators and nations/regions leading the way for others to emulate their role model.

          In a way the countries of this “Renewable Club” claim this leadership role. It’s for others to challange their claims… if they dare. 😉

          • eject

            I think you are right here. This is about networking and about making it clear that your country is willing to bite the bullet.

            Paraguay certainly did not become water powered in terms of electricity and they don’t produce 10x the amount they can use because they are selfless. They just happen to be in a place on earth were this was the best option when they electrified the country. The challenge this club is determined to to tackle is the extra expense. They could all be making energy cheaper by simply burning more coal. But they don’t. China is the big one here. They really do have impact on total numbers. I somehow think they are also clever enough to do it now, because at the moment there labor is still pretty cheap and they can get away with simply putting wind turbines and solar panels were they want, they don’t have a NIMBY problem, yet. This will of course develop since there population gets richer and better educated as a whole.
            India just strike me as weird, they have a space program and nuclear weapons. There population as a whole lives literally in shit. The only way they will ever get power is through decentralised solar power because no one can be arsed to built them a grid.

          • ThomasGerke

            I agree with you on Paraguay and similar countries. It’s wonderful that they have abundand hydro resources and use them well, but that’s not possible everywhere.

            But I don’t agree with you saying that these countries “bite the bullet”. Initial investments have to be made, but there are (among others) overwhelming ecconomic reasons for pushing in this direction.

            The most important one is, that fossil fuels have no prospect for providing cheap energy throughout the first half of this century, the situation for global energy security is deteriorating at an unprecedented rate and fossil fuel price volatility is creating choas & uncertainty for the global economy… for most developing nations this even creates a cap for further developement and in many cases pushes them on a road to poverty.
            When studying the endgame of this downward spiral of uncertainty, poverty and scarcity of strategic ressources the outcome is an era of intense geopolitical conflicts… one in the like or worse than the first half of the 20th century.

            The German Renewable Energy act of 2000 explicitly aimed at adressing those global mid-long term issues by creating an uncapped market for energy technologies, that would shift the odds through industrialization & innovation. (quite successful)

            Considering that Germany is an export driven economy specialized on providing the world with tools & services for economic developement & industralization, a world of staggnation would be a death sentence for our economic model.

            And since Germany neither has a big army, a desire to use it, nor any significant oil / gas corporations, the “status quo”-path forward is no alternative.

            China faces anti-coal / polution Nimbyism at a massiv scale. And Wind Energy does not automatically lead to Nimbyism… that’s mainly an Anglo-American hostility to progress. 😛

  • Matt

    Shit my hemisphere isn’t even on the map! 🙁

    • Ross

      I noticed that but thought it was undiplomatic to point it out.

  • Ross

    This is brilliant, it shows some political enthusiasm for saving the planet.

    • Guest

      Unfortunately my country isn’t in the club either, but at least it’s embarrassed about it to hide behind the label on the map with only mostly renewable powered Tasmania is standing in the open.

    • Ronald Brak

      My country isn’t in the club either, but at least it’s embarrassed enough about it to hide behind the label on the map, with only mostly renewable powered Tasmania standing in the open.

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