Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Renewable Energy The Golden Thread

Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity, and an environment which powers the world to thrive. Widespread energy poverty condemns billions to darkness, to ill health, and to missed opportunity for education and prosperity.  Hence this poverty must end.
Development is not possible without energy. And it is sustainable energy which will provide us sustainable development.  At Rio de Janerio summit held in June 2012, the buzzwords were “Green Economy” and “Natural Capital Accounting”. In a dynamic climate change field, concepts are changing fast. From development to sustainable development and now our focus is Green Economy.
Yet these buzzes are not clearly defined. But they are in motion to get an acceptable shape. India opposes green economy at summit. It said that the developing world’s concept of a green economy was very different from the way it was being perceived at the UN conference for sustainable development.
A new business model is emerging. In this governments, business, investors and civil society organization (CSO) come together to solve problems. Now, we need to build a new energy future that harnesses the power of technology and innovations in the service of people and the planet.  We have to move to renewable, so that we can create a future we want.
UN has initiated and evolved a framework for action to realize the goal “sustainable energy for all by 2030”.  According to action plan, stakeholders are supposed to take concrete actions towards achieving three critical goals by 2030.
1.     Ensuring universal access to modern energy services.
2.      Doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency.
3.     Doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
Energy access is increasingly seen as a vital catalyst to wider social and economic development, enabling education, health, and sustainable agriculture and creating jobs. Productive uses of energy are particularly important to enable local business innovations and create a more vibrant economy for societies and countries. 
According to IEA (international energy agency) universal energy access could be achieve with an increase of just 3 percent of global investment in energy infrastructure by 2030. This amounts to an annual investment of $48 billion.
Energy efficiency objective will increase global resource productivity. It will create new economic growth areas with local job creation and increase the quality of life of all citizens. Energy efficiency means reducing the losses and getting more done with the same amount of energy. IEA’s World Outlook 2006 estimated that each additional $1 spent on energy efficiency in electrical equipment, appliances, and buildings avoids more than $2, on average, energy supply investments.
Investing in renewable energy also creates local jobs and growth and improves security for countries that lack domestic fossil resources. Increasing the share of energy from renewable sources can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local pollutions, insulate countries from fuel price volatility, and improve their balance of payments.
            UN desires that all stakeholders converge to act upon to achieve its mission.  It proposes that business, governments,  CSO  work together on specific and concrete steps to bring greater investment and deployment of energy systems.
 Direct UNIDO points out that charity  is no more an option.  The key is investment in renewable energy alternatives.  So that it yields returns not just for the recipients but for the investor too. This doesn’t mean that all subsidies can be done away with. These are necessary for helping the poorest of the poor. 
We need to work on achieving  a balance subsidy approach that can create a level playing field so that the rich are no longer enjoying subsidies meant for the poor.  Therefore rather than work for a blanket solution, we need to tailor strategy to suit local imperatives and conditions 

Heera Lal
(Writer is Secretary UPNEDA but views are personal)