By Desmond Brown
The director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), Adnan Z. Amin, said that his organization's efforts to "double renewable energy" and encourage investors have paid off, such as the effort to promote the geothermal alternative in Latin America.
We have new financing models that are investments to reduce risk and decrease the cost of capital, historically a barrier for renewable energies, "Amin explained to IPS, referring to financing through green bonds as one of the latest innovations in the field. investment in clean alternatives.
Green bonds reached $ 14 billion in 2013 and are estimated to be $ 40 billion this year and up to $ 100 billion next year.
"This changes expectations with respect to the traditional investment model, in which developing countries were always expected to ask for cheap multilateral funds to develop their energy sector," Amin explained.
"It's not like that. What happens is that the renewable energy business is fully established in many of these countries, funding sources were launched and ambitious efforts are being made to reform the legislative and political framework, thus opening the market for renewable alternatives ”, added.
The proposal to create a special international agency for this sector emerged in 1981 at the United Nations Conference on New Renewable Sources of Energy, in Nairobi.
Irena was officially founded in Bonn on January 26, 2009. It was a significant achievement for the world that renewable energy spread and a clear sign that the global paradigm in the field was changing as a result of the increasing commitment of governments.
"The reason we are much more integrated into the climate discussion now is because energy will be a large part of the solution to carbon emissions in the future," Amin said.
“We know that the current energy production system is responsible for 80 percent of global carbon emissions. Only electricity generation represents 40 percent of them and we live in a world that is experiencing drastic changes ”, he explained.
Irena set 2030, when it is estimated that the planet will have about 8,000 million inhabitants, as a reference point for the total deployment of renewable energy.
“Those 8,000 million people will need about 60 percent more energy currently available, and with the current level of emissions if nothing happens, we will have 450 parts per million of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere, beyond what which climate change is likely to be catastrophic by 2040 ”, Amin explained.
"We have this small window of opportunity to make a tough effort to control emissions from power systems," he added.
A new program designed to support the development of geothermal energy in Latin America was launched on Tuesday in the Peruvian capital in the framework of the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (UNFCC), which began on the 1st of this month and will end this Friday the 12th or more probably on Saturday the 13th.
Peru's participation in the Geothermal Development Entity is part of its plan for 60 percent of electricity generation to come from renewable alternatives by 2025.
Earlier this year, the Peruvian government and Irena conducted an assessment of the country's readiness for renewable energy. The document identifies measures necessary to expand the participation of this sector in Peru, as well as better complement rural electrification and improve current efforts to develop biofuels.
The assessment determined that Peru's vast untapped renewable resources could play a key role in securing the energy needed to fuel economic expansion, while preserving the environment.
He also underlined the need to prepare for the incorporation of renewable energy in plans to expand the supply network, especially since sources such as solar and wind could cover future electricity demand.
With the current share of clean alternatives in the global matrix at 18 percent, Irena expects this to double by 2030.
But an analysis of the plans that large companies have in hand to see what the trajectory of renewable investments and decarbonisation is will conclude that they will continue to do the same, with an increase of between three to 21 percent by the end of 2030.
Amin met with Costa Rican Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, to discuss the key role of renewable energy in the fight against climate change
In the talks it was pointed out that more than 80 percent of CO2 emissions, derived from human activities, come from the burning of fossil fuels. Of which 44 percent are derived from coal, 36 percent from oil and 20 percent from natural gas.
"Energy must be our priority to reduce CO2 emissions," said Amin.
Ryan Gilchrist, deputy director of business development at UGE International, a renewable energy company, said Caribbean countries can improve their troubled economies by pursuing clean energy.
"Most of the Caribbean countries depend on imported diesel fuel to generate electricity, which is expensive, its prices are volatile and produces CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change," Gilchrist told IPS.
“Solar energy can solve these challenges in the Caribbean, offering a cheaper and cleaner alternative. The Caribbean islands are particularly threatened by climate change and rising sea levels, but they also have much to gain, as they have abundant sunlight and wind that can offer them clean alternatives, "he added.
Gilchrist said that the high cost of energy on the islands, coupled with the drop in the price of solar technology, means that renewable energy is already competitive in most Caribbean countries.
There are numerous financing mechanisms that eliminate the initial cost of the technology, allowing savings from day one.