Yesterday, ECO enjoyed a full day of presentations and discussions on renewable energy (RE) during the Technical Expert Meetings. RE is now creating more jobs than the oil and gas sector: the success is truly inspiring. RE’s development potential, and current and future importance, is so noteworthy that it’s now referenced in the SDGs zero-draft document released yesterday. It’s long past time that RE appeared in the texts here in Bonn.
The cost of solar power has declined 80% and wind 60% just in the last five years. Generating RE is now cheaper than fossil fuel-based sources in many parts of the world. Investments in RE grew by 17% last year. Moreover, the largest investors in RE as a share of GDP are all developing countries: Mauritius, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, South Africa and Chile It’s clear that RE can be a viable and accessible development pathway, despite arguments to the contrary.
In the past year, China installed more RE than coal, while the US installed more wind power than coal and gas combined. Germany achieved almost 28% RE in its electricity mix. In India, RE is now double the capacity of nuclear energy. And the list goes on and on…
These trends demonstrate that a transition to 100% RE is already possible with today’s technology. Just imagine what we can do with future technology! However, the current growth rates of RE are not enough to stay below 1.5°C or 2°C degrees.
Given all of this, ECO thinks it’s more than a little surreal that RE isn’t reflected in the Paris negotiation text yet. The Paris agreement must mark the beginning of the end of fossil fuels and accelerate the transition to 100% RE for all.