Published on April 28th, 2013 | by Anneli Hidalgo0
“Progress towards clean energy has stalled”
According to a new report by the International Energy Agency, the development of renewable technologies to slow.
Progress towards a clean energy future has stalled, according to a report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) at the fourth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), held in New Delhi from 17-18 April 2013. The report, titled “Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2013,” notes that despite impressive gains, renewables did not grow fast enough to offset rising emissions from coal fired-generation, and due to the “alarmingly” slow progress of emerging technologies capable of reducing energy use and CO2 emissions, the IEA determines that the world is not on track to achieve the interim 2020 targets in the “IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2012” 2°C Scenario.
“The drive to clean up the world’s energy system has stalled,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven told the CEM, which brings together ministers representing countries responsible for four-fifths of global greenhouse-gas emissions. “Despite much talk by world leaders, and despite a boom in renewable energy over the last decade, the average unit of energy produced today is basically as dirty as it was 20 years ago.”
“We cannot afford another 20 years of listlessness. We need a rapid expansion in low-carbon energy technologies if we are to avoid a potentially catastrophic warming of the planet, but we must also accelerate the shift away from dirtier fossil fuels,” said van der Hoeven.
However, while noting that progress remains alarmingly slow for a majority of technologies that could save energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions consistent with international climate goals, the IEA’s reportdid find some recent, positive signs.
From 2011 to 2012, solar photovoltaic and wind technologies grew by 42% and 19%, respectively, despite ongoing economic and policy turbulence in the sector. Emerging economies are also stepping up efforts in clean energy. Brazil, China and India were among the countries that enhanced policy support for the renewable electricity sector in 2012, for example.
Advanced vehicle technologies also progressed well, with hybrid-electric vehicles breaking the 1 million annual sales mark. Electric vehicle sales also more than doubled to reach 110 000 vehicles.
The report gives policy recommendations, technology by technology. At the highest level, it stresses that the true cost of energy must be reflected in consumer prices, through carbon pricing and the phase-out of fossil-fuel subsidies. Technologies like electric vehicles, wind and solar will need support for several years more, but policies should be flexible and transparent. More stringent and broader energy performance standards, building codes and fuel economy standards can drive energy efficiency.