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REN21 10 Years Report

7 01 Evolving Institutional Landscape The last decade has also brought a series of institutional changes. REN21—the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century—was created as an outcome of the renewables2004 conference in Bonn, Germany. The organisation was established asthemulti-stakeholder“coalitionofthewilling”,bringingtogether key actors from both the private and public sector to facilitate a rapid global transition to renewable energy. REN21 was the first international organisation to begin tracking renewable energy development after its founding in 2004, and it has continued to provide the most comprehensive global outlook on the state of renewables each year. Results from this tracking are presented annually in the REN21 Renewables Global Status Report (GSR); a report that has become increasingly comprehensive over the past decade as the landscape of renewable energy has become more diverse and complex. Five years on, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was created and, by mid-2014, already counted 135 member countries as its members, demonstrating the high level of global interest in advancing renewable energy. IRENA sup- ports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future. The intergovernmental organisation encourages governments to adopt enabling policies for renewable energy investments, provides practical tools and policy advice to accelerate renew- able energy deployment, and facilitates knowledge sharing and technology transfer to provide clean, sustainable energy for the world’s growing population. In parallel, the International Energy Agency has considerably scaled-up its analytical work on renewable energy. While founded in response to the 1973/4 oil crisis to help member countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply, its expansion into renewables demonstrates the role renewables play in ensuring reliable, affordable and clean energy. The UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, launched in 2012, aims to further boost international development in the fields of energy access, renewable energy deployment, and energy efficiency. While some countries had already established targets for 100% energy access, SE4ALL has encouraged many more countries to commit to this goal. A Promising Future for Renewables Today the use of renewable energy technologies to provide electricity, heating and cooling, and transportation is now spread across the globe, and recent trends suggest sustained growth worldwide. A decade ago, renewable energy technolo- gies predominately occupied an environmental niche, having a strong appeal to those who were interested in moving away from conventional fuels for environmental reasons. Today renewables demonstrate that, in addition to their environmental benefits, they are also an economic driver, creating jobs, helping to diversify revenue streams, and stimulating new technological developments. The idea of achieving high shares of renewable energy was radical ten years ago; today it is considered feasible by many experts. The commitment to 100% renewable energy in various sectors by local, regional, and national governments around the world is witness to this. However, the renewable energy sector still faces numerous challenges. Subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power persist, and continue to vastly outweigh financial incentives for renewables. Further advances and investment in renewable energy, as well as improvements in energy efficiency, must continue if the increase in global temperature is to be limited to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. A rapid de-carbonisation of the energy sector with renewable energy technologies is required to implement the climate targets. The past decade has set the wheels in motion for this transition, but a concerted and sustained effort will be required to fully achieve it. With increasingly ambitious targets, innovative policies, and technological advances, renewables will continue to surpass expectations and foster a cleaner energy future.

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