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Support for Renewable Energy Essential - G8 Report

Support for Renewable Energy Essential - G8 Report

Press Release from New Zealand Wind Energy Association

19 July 2001

[Ref copy of a source document on the G8 Report follows.]

"A report on the role of renewable energy in reducing environmental impacts and energy security risks, prepared by a working group for the G8 conference, is great news for New Zealand" said Alistair Wilson chairman of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association.

"In strong contrast to the pro fossil-fuel message presented in the recent IEA report on energy use in New Zealand, this report highlights strong common sense strategies on the use of renewable energy which will add significant new material for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, being finalised by Government officials at present" said Mr Wilson. "In New Zealand, the percentage of renewable electricity has slipped backwards by a considerable amount in the last few years. This trend must be stopped as soon as possible" he said.

The G8 report recommends that developed countries implement national plans to expand domestic renewable energy markets using portfolio quotas and incentive tariffs. Portfolio quotas are called "mandated targets" in Australia and New Zealand.

"NZWEA contends that the inclusion of a mandated target for renewable energy in the final version of the Energy Efficiency Strategy is essential to maintain and grow the contribution from renewable energy in New Zealand" said Mr Wilson.

The submission from NZWEA to the Draft Strategy is available on our web page (see www.windenergy.org.nz).

The G8 report also includes comments: "Creation of widespread commercial renewable energy markets faces significant challenges," it notes, and advances recommendations in four main areas: reduce technology costs by expanding markets; build a strong market environment; mobilise financing; and encourage market-based mechanisms. "Together, actions taken to overcome these barriers will drive down costs and further increase market size."

"Generally, promoting renewable energy can best be done through enlarging markets, increased, focused R&D efforts, and stimulating the market environment in both developing and developed countries," it adds. "Renewable energy systems are a key part of the portfolio of energy solutions" and "offer many advantages."

For more details please call Alistair Wilson on 021 194 3083 or Ian Shearer, Manager NZWEA, 025 306 004.

-- Ian Shearer Manager New Zealand Wind Energy Association P O Box 553 Wellington, New Zealand [Courier:130 Hutt Rd, Petone] Phone: +64-4-586 2003 Fax: +64-4-586 2004 Mobile 025 306 004 Email: nzwea@windenergy.org.nz Web: http://www.windenergy.org.nz

---------- source document ------

G8 Group Makes Sweeping Recommendations for Renewables

GENOA, Italy, IT, 2001-07-17 [SolarAccess.com] Renewable energy can sharply reduce environmental impacts and energy security risks, and can also lower costs for consumers, according to a major report prepared for the major developed nations of the world.

The group of G8 nations created a task force at its summit in Okinawa last year, with a mandate to assess barriers and recommend actions that would encourage the use of renewables in developing countries. The 51-page report was released Tuesday in Italy and will be presented to the G8 leaders later this week.

"Creation of widespread commercial renewable energy markets faces significant challenges," it notes, and advances recommendations in four main areas: reduce technology costs by expanding markets; build a strong market environment; mobilise financing; and encourage market-based mechanisms. "Together, actions taken to overcome these barriers will drive down costs and further increase market size."

"Energy is an important ingredient in the modern economy, and must be evaluated in the context of the other aspects of development," it adds. "Programmes to increase the efficient use of all forms of energy are essential and are a no regret option for both renewable and conventional energy forms alike."

"World energy has entered a period of profound change" with the increasing privatization and liberalization of energy markets and the growth in energy consumption in developing countries. "unless steps are taken now to address the added demand, the energy services provided will likely fall short of meeting basic requirements for several billion people around the world."

"For the world to realise economic, political, and social development, all of the world's people should have access to affordable, modern energy services and the benefits they can provide, while protecting the environment and energy security," the report reads. For two billion people in developing countries without modern energy, this implies a continuing role for donor assistance and subsidies from governments with G8 countries needing to take a lead role.

"Generally, promoting renewable energy can best be done through enlarging markets, increased, focused R&D efforts, and stimulating the market environment in both developing and developed countries," it adds. "Renewable energy systems are a key part of the portfolio of energy solutions" and "offer many advantages."

"For all of these reasons, renewable energy is a valuable resource in addressing the world's growing energy needs," but they form a "relatively small part" of current energy portfolios despite their falling costs.

"The Task Force believes that the G8 should give priority to efforts to trigger a step change in renewable energy markets," it recommends. "Concerted action is needed" and the report calls on G8 leaders to make a political commitment now and to take sustained action with particular emphasis on the next decade.

The report recommends that:

- developed countries implement national plans to expand domestic renewable energy markets using portfolio quotas and incentive tariffs;

- G8 countries expand support for R&D of renewables;

- G8 countries develop renewable energy projects where they are a least cost option on a lifecycle basis or where they achieve protection of the environment at reasonable cost, using well-defined subsidy programs which are temporary, competitively administered and performance-based;

- corporations be encouraged to make voluntary global commitments to use renewables;

- renewables be considered as part of energy policy in assessing priorities of countries participating in poverty reduction programs;

- G8 countries and development institutions establish a higher level of expertise on the role that energy policy choices can play in development;

- G8 provide support to renewable energy industries for the creation of joint ventures and other manufacturing, assembly, and distribution/installation capabilities in developing countries;

- G8 expand the scope and funding for developing countries to develop renewable markets;

- programs be strengthened to encourage sustainable forest management and efficient use of biomass resources;

- OECD be asked to address renewables and that renewables be selected for development projects when they are the least cost lifecycle option;

- investment agencies provide increased support for renewables which are small and have long pay back periods;

- G8 extend 'sector arrangements' for other energy lending to renewables and implement common environmental guidelines among Export Credit Agencies;

- G8 call for proposals to mobilize 'patient capital' from private industry through appropriate tax and other support schemes;

- G8 countries support access to renewables by the rural poor through micro finance organizations and competitive rural concessions;

- G8 ask the International Energy Agency to identify measures related to the competitiveness of renewables in economic and societal contests;

- G8 invite the IEA to support the evaluation of the benefits of national renewable certificate trading schemes;

- G8 support development of emissions trading, JI and CDM mechanisms that are conducive to the support of renewable energy projects; and

- G8 countries remove incentives for environmentally harmful energy technologies, and develop market-based mechanisms that address externalities to enable renewables to "compete in the market on a more equal and fairer basis."

The final recommendation has caused speculation that a number of G8 nations, notably the United States and Canada, will refuse to endorse the task force report.

Concerted action over the next decade could provide green power to 300 million people in developing countries and service another 500 million people who are connected to electricity grids around the world, 300 million of whom are in developing countries.

There will be a higher cost in the first decade to set up "a policy structure that rewards the benefits of renewables," but the successful promotion of renewables until 2030 "will prove less expensive than taking a 'business as usual' approach within any realistic range of real discount rates."

"Such an achievement will depend on full implementation and reinforcement of already agreed and planned national market strategies to develop renewables markets in G8 and other countries, as well as the use of mechanisms arising from international agreements on climate change," the report concludes. "Such an outcome of serving up to a billion people in the next decade with renewables should be our goal and aspiration."

http://www.solaraccess.com/download/g8report.pdf (July 17 release)


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