How can we change the thinking around renewables?

Despite its remarkable progress in the past decade, tremendous opportunities still remain for renewable energy to help meet climate and sustainable development goals. Some of this potential has received global attention, though much of it has not. It is important to “make the invisible visible” by encouraging debate on the unaddressed topics of the energy transition and highlighting where renewable energy makes, and can make, a major difference.

Reliable, accessible and timely renewable energy information and data are essential for making renewables visible. It is used to inform, convince, attract decision makers’ interest, and shape the future – establishing energy plans or defining baselines, policies, and regulatory frameworks, and monitoring progress. It is also used as a starting point for developing narratives that make perceptions evolve and influence the future of renewable energy.

Telling a compelling story

Understanding perceptions of and thinking about renewables is necessary to be able to communicate more strategically and effectively about renewable energy, i.e. in a way that makes renewables relevant to the different target audiences critical in the global energy debate.  Drawing on a global community, it is possible to collect and consolidate knowledge and evidence to inform decision-making in the energy sector. By presenting information in an attractive and accessible way actors outside of the renewable energy sphere can be influenced and inspired – helping to break down silos.

This process of breaking down silos can also reveal opportunities and challenges to address when transitioning to renewable energy. These can be used as starting points for creating dialogue between different stakeholder groups or sectors and to potentially develop a joint understanding.  This is important as, despite the climate crisis and development challenges, the energy “sphere” still operates very much in its own silos.

To achieve a sustainable energy transition, we need to connect between the generation of renewable energy and the different energy end-use sectors. Renewables and energy efficiency need to be linked to form two sustainable energy pillars. Other possibilities include:

The world will not change if we remain in our comfortable silos. REN21 is convinced that understanding the inherent connections between renewable energy and broader concerns, e.g. energy security, clean air, jobs etc. will result in a fundamental shift in how we think about our energy systems.

REN21 pushes boundaries and brings together unlikely participants to host debates that truly move walls in the energy world. Many of us are already convinced – it is only by bringing our fellow global citizens on board that we will reach our shared goals of climate stability and sustainable development.

Become a part of the REN21 community and help push walls!