Last week our Renewables 2019 Global Status Report (GSR) was launched globally. The EU Energy Sustainable Week was an opportunity to not only present the key findings of the newly released GSR but to also take the latest data and assess the position of the EU in accelerating a renewable energy future with a panel of experts, each representing an important end-use sector.
The leading role of Europe in the energy transition was framed by Paula Abreu Marques, Head of Unit of Renewables and CCS Policy in the European Commission. “Europe is a leader in renewable energy” she said. “When EU renewable energy targets were established in 2009, there were only 30 countries outside the EU that had national targets. Today it is over 170”.
Nevertheless, she also remarked that the aim should be on meeting climate objectives rather than countries comparing themselves with one and other. “We do not appreciate the urgent need to address climate change and SDGs, with the result that the rate of acceleration has slowed”, warned Rana Adib, REN21´s Executive Secretary.
To achieve the Paris Agreement, regulatory frameworks are crucial, which is why policy support –or the lack of it– was a key topic discussed among the panellists. “In Europe, the heat sector does not look good under the microscope and we can’t say things are “alright”. In terms of regulatory policies, the heating and cooling sector is where the power sector was in 2003”, explained Paul Vos, Managing Director of Euroheat & Power. As the GSR shows, only 20 countries had in 2018 heating and cooling mandates, whereas 135 countries had for power.
“More than 95% of transport demand is supplied by fossil fuels” highlighted Laura Buffet, Energy Director of Transport & Environment. In this context, renewables need to become more competitive in the energy sector, as Dusan Jakovljevic, Director for Policy & Communications of Energy Efficiency in Industrial Processes, remarked.
However, it’s not all bad news. Countries are not the only competitive players in the renewable energy uptake. “Corporate appetite for renewables is enormous. Barriers still exist but companies are very interested in low-cost renewable power”, remarked Bruce Douglass, Deputy CEO of SolarPower Europe.
Cities are also increasingly becoming strong drivers. However, to help drive the energy transition, they “need to be considered as partners in national decision-making. Education and Importance of involving and educating consumers about alternatives that exist”, outlines Alix Bolle, EU Affairs Manager of Energy Cities. In 2018, at least 100 cities worldwide use 70% or more renewable electricity.
EU Sustainable Energy Week is the annual event organised by the European Commission which brings together public authorities, private companies, NGOs and consumers to promote initiatives to save energy and move towards renewables for clean, secure and efficient power. The GSR 2019 was released 18 June, providing a comprehensive annual global overview of the state of renewable energy. Developments.