Clean Energy Access

Last week, we addressed global energy access, looking at innovative solutions to solve energy poverty in emerging markets. However, the energy discussion cannot end there. Another major issue the world is facing is rapid climate change and the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to it. Neither energy poverty nor climate change can be addressed alone. The articles below highlight how the international community is coming to the realization that clean energy solutions have the potential to electrify the billions in the dark and remain carbon neutral, but there is still a long way to go.

Renewables Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels in Developing Countries by Silvio Marcacci on The Energy Collective

This week, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released Climatescope, a report suggesting renewable technologies can be just as cost-competitive in emerging countries as they are in richer nations. The study offers a picture of clean energy in 55 emerging markets across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, providing a country-by-country assessment.

The study shows that clean energy capacity in the surveyed nations grew 143% between 2008 and 2014 to a total of 142 GW. The report analyzes the market for conditions for clean energy in developing nations, including enabling framework, clean energy investment and climate financing, low-carbon business value chains, and emission management. BNEF found that conditions that once favored fossil fuels now boost renewables.

Slow climate change or end energy poverty? Let’s do both. By Kara Goolman and Megan Nicholson, Center for Clean Energy Innovation

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to address two energy-related challenges: energy access and global climate change. Unfortunately, these proposed SDGs fall short in two ways: defining modern energy access and disincentivizing energy innovation,.  These measures are necessary to advance meaningful solutions to cut carbon and eliminate energy poverty.

Before tangible targets can be set to meeting the goal of “modern energy access for all”, “modern energy access” must be defined. The International Energy Agency measures modern energy access as 100 kWh per person per year, yet that amount of energy is less than it takes to keep one 60-watt light bulb lit for a year (500 kWh) according to a report by the Center for Clean Energy Innovation. If the international community creates goals based on achieving the 100 kWh standard of energy access, we will fall severely short of truly alleviating energy poverty. In order to ensure that a higher energy access target is affordable, reliable, and low-carbon, energy innovation will be critical.

Global Clean Energy Investment Grows 11% by Joshua S Hill on Cleantechnica

Global clean energy investment jumped by 11% in Q3 2014 compared to last year’s figures, reaching $64 billion according to the Clean Energy Pipeline.  An analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance had a slightly less bullish analysis, recording $55 billion in investment over the same period, still, up 12% from the $48.9 billion reported to have been achieved in Q3 2013. Regardless of whose reporting you rely on, it appears that the global clean energy investment sector is finding its feet. The real challenge will be to sustain this growth and health investment in the sector.

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