BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Union (EU) can increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix to 34 per cent by 2030 — double the share in 2016 — with a net positive economic impact, finds a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) launched in Brussels Monday.
Presenting the findings of the report, titled ‘Renewable Energy Prospects for the European Union’ and developed at the request of the European Commission, IRENA’s Director General Adnan Z Amin highlighted that achieving higher shares of renewable energy is possible with today’s technology, and would trigger additional investments of around €368 billion until 2030 — equal to an average annual contribution of 0.3 per cent of the GDP of the EU. The number of people employed in the sector across the EU — currently 1.2 million — would grow significantly under a revised strategy.
Raising the share of renewable energy would help reduce emissions by a further 15 per cent by 2030 — an amount equivalent to Italy’s total emissions. These reductions would bring the EU in line with its goal to reduce emissions by 40 per cent compared to 1990 levels, and set it on a positive pathway towards longer-term decarbonisation. The increase would result in savings of between €44 billion and €113 billion per year by 2030, when accounting for savings related to the cost of energy and avoided environmental and health costs.
“For decades now, through ambitious long-term targets and strong policy measures, Europe has been at the forefront of global renewable energy deployment,” said Amin. “With an ambitious and achievable new renewable energy strategy, the EU can deliver market certainty to investors and developers, strengthen economic activity, grow jobs, improve health, and put the EU on a stronger decarbonisation pathway in line with its climate objectives.”
Welcoming the timeliness of the report, Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, said: “The report confirms our own assessments that the costs of renewables have come down significantly in the last couple of years, and that we need to consider these new realities in our ambition levels for the upcoming negotiations to finalise Europe’s renewable energy policies.”
The report highlights that all EU member states have additional cost-effective renewable energy potential, noting that renewable heating and cooling options account for more than one-third of the EU’s additional renewables potential. Furthermore, all renewable transport options will be needed to realise EU’s long-term decarbonisation objectives.
Additional key findings from the report include:
• Reaching a 34 per cent renewable share by 2030 would require an estimated average investment in renewable energy of around €62 billion per year.
• The renewable energy potential identified would result in 327 GW of installed wind capacity, an additional 97 GW compared to business as usual; and 270 GW of solar, an 86 GW increase on business as usual.
• Accelerated adoption of heat pumps and electric vehicles would increase electricity to 27 per cent of total final energy consumption, up from 24 per cent in a business as usual scenario.
• The share of renewable energy in the power sector would rise to 50 per cent by 2030, compared to 29 per cent in 2015.
• In end-use sectors, renewable energy would account for 42 per cent of energy in buildings, 36 per cent in industry and 17 per cent in transport.
• All renewable transport options are needed, including electric vehicles and — both advanced and conventional – biofuels to realise long-term EU decarbonisation objectives.
The report is a contribution to the ongoing discussions on the European Commission’s ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package, tabled in November 2016, which proposed a framework to support renewable energy deployment.
Renewable Energy Prospects for the European Union is part of IRENA’s renewable energy roadmap, REmap, which determines the potential for countries, regions and the world to scale up renewables to ensure an affordable and sustainable energy future. The roadmap focuses on renewable technology options in power, as well as heating, cooling and transport. The REmap study for the EU is based on deep analysis of existing REmap studies for 10 EU member states (accounting for 73 per cent of EU energy use), complemented and aggregated with high-level analyses for the other 18 EU member states.
IRENA is the global multilateral framework for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange. It promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity. It has 154 members (153 States and the European Union), with 26 additional countries in the accession process.
Last week, I wrote that OPEC needs friends and a miracle to re-balance the oil market. Could President Trump be that unwitting buddy, providing the miracle by tearing up the nuclear agreement with Iran and removing almost a million barrels a day of supply at a stroke?
Trump’s number one priority is to dismantle the “disastrous” deal — although his to-do list might have changed since saying that back in March. As luck would have it, that daily million barrels is about the same size as the cut OPEC needs to make, as I calculated last week.
Can he do it? Yes, despite assertions to the contrary from Iran’s President Rouhani and a slew of analysts. Here’s how:
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is snappily titled, wasn’t ratified by Congress, but brought into force by President Obama via executive order. Trump could rescind that. The fall-out would be messy, but it could be done (in theory).
There’s another way too, enshrined within the agreement itself. The dispute resolution mechanism allows any signatory to refer a perceived breach of the deal’s terms to the joint commission created to oversee the accord. If the complaining party isn’t satisfied with the outcome and believes the breach constitutes “significant non-compliance”, it can refer it to the U.N. Security Council. The Security Council would then vote — and here’s the killer blow — – not on whether to re-impose sanctions, but on whether to “continue the sanctions lifting.”
That might not sound like a big difference, but it’s critical. By framing the vote this way, the U.S. could, in theory, veto the resolution. All the U.N. sanctions on Iran would then be re-imposed. Simples.
That just leaves EU sanctions, which prohibited — among other things — the importing of Iranian oil into EU countries. We might expect some sort of European backlash against unwinding the deal, but it might not be very effective.
The tortuous process of re-establishing Iran’s oil trade with Europe shows that only too clearly. Although there were willing buyers and a very willing seller, the difficulty came in finding insurers who would underwrite the transactions, or shippers to carry the crude. All the big re-insurers had at least some U.S. involvement and they were extremely hesitant to pick up the business — even with the apparent backing of the Obama administration. They would drop the business like a scalding hot potato if the new president killed the deal. End of Iranian oil flows to Europe.
Elsewhere, important Asian buyers were threatened in the past with the loss of access to the U.S. banking system to persuade them to cut their purchases of Iranian. This tactic would probably work again.
Of course, Iran would treat the move as grounds to abandon its own commitments. Coming shortly before Iran’s presidential election in May, it would be a huge boost to Tehran’s hardliners. You’d expect life to become more difficult for the Americans in Iraq, where it’s engaged alongside Iranian-backed militias in ousting Islamic State from its last stronghold in the country — another Trump priority.
But at least the crude price would recover, which would be great for U.S. oil, if not so good for motorists. I guess the new president will have to choose who to please.
With the ink now dry on Jamaica’s Climate Change Policy Framework and Action Plan, the island’s Climate Change Division (CCD) is to drive the realisation of its goals.
“We never did have a launch of the policy framework per se, but Minister (of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill) did speak to [its completion]. The Climate Change Division will now drive the implementation,” Colonel Oral Khan, the ministry’s chief technical director, told The Gleaner.
Khan added that the publication of the policy was expedited last September, following the inclusion of comments from public consultations done, final approval from Cabinet and some three years of work.
“Some of the priorities highlighted include the mainstreaming of climate change in policy and development planning frameworks, and we have started that process,” noted CCD head Albert Daley.
According to Daley, “There is a 2015 to 2018 framework which highlights the priority actions to be done and who is to do them, timelines, and so on.
“We have been working closely with the Planning Institute of Jamaica to ensure climate-change concerns are reflected in the actions for the various sectors,” he noted.
As things stand, there are a number of adaptation and mitigation sector plans on which work has been ongoing.
The policy was made possible through the Government of Jamaica/European Union/United Nations Development Programme Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction project, funded by the EU under the Global Climate Change Alliance.
In addition to facilitating and coordinating the national response to the impacts of climate change and promoting low-carbon development, the 36-page policy is to:
– mobilise climate financing for adaptation and mitigation initiatives; and
– improve communication at all levels on climate-change impacts and also adaptation- and mitigation-related opportunities so that decision makers and the general public will be better informed.
This is while mainstreaming climate-change considerations and supporting those institutions, including research entities that would enable that process.