Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) members have released a list of commitments to help increase clean energy projects and drive economic growth across the world. The seventh Clean Energy Ministerial took place in San Francisco at the start of this month. The event brought together energy ministers and high-profile attendees from 23 countries.
CEM members, representing 90 percent of global clean energy investment and 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, agreed to launch an enhanced effort – called “CEM 2.0” – to increase its effectiveness by creating an international secretariat to support CEM initiatives.
In addition, CEM members, nearly 60 companies and non-governmental organizations, and 10 subnational governments announced more than $1.5 billion in commitments to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies and increase energy access. CEM ministers launched three new, high-impact campaigns that will promote the procurement of electricity from renewable energy, commercial and industrial energy efficiency, and advanced cooling technologies.
Ernest Moniz, U.S. Energy Secretary, said: “As one of the first major gatherings of clean energy leaders since COP21, CEM7 is a key tool needed to implement the clean energy goals made in Paris. CEM and the commitments made today demonstrate how the United States and our global partners can speed the deployment of clean energy technologies to meet our climate goals, grow low-carbon economies, and strengthen our energy security.”
Hosted by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the meeting included, among others, Maroš Šefčovič, the European Union’s Vice President for Energy Union; Carlos Moedas, the EU’s Commissioner for Research, Science, and Innovation; James Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources; Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s Secretary of Energy; Motoo Hayashi, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; Harsh Vardhan, India’s Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Tord Lien, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, and Yin Hejun, China’s Vice Minister of Science and Technology. In a video address, President Obama welcomed participants to CEM7. A letter from China’s President Xi then invited participants to China for next year’s CEM meeting (CEM8).
The European Union today announced that, in cooperation with a member state, they will host CEM9 in 2018. European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas, said: “Clean energy is the future. We need innovation to bring down the cost of clean energy and to develop breakthrough technologies. International cooperation is needed to address the global challenge of the energy transition and CEM provides the platform for coordinated action. The European Commission is proud to support this initiative by bringing it back to Europe in 2018.”
James Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, said: “Home grown emission-reducing and clean energy technologies play an increasingly important role in Canada’s economic growth as we support the global transition to a low-carbon economy. Government and private sector investments in clean energy and technology research and development will help us meet our climate change objectives, increase Canada’s competitiveness and support employment opportunities across the country. The progress we are already making on global clean energy cooperation in making clean energy affordable bodes well for the future as we advance common energy, environment and economic goals.”
Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s Secretary, said: “Through the CEM, Mexico with its partners’ supports and commits to transition towards a clean and low carbon energy sector, and climate change mitigation. Through CEM initiatives on the power system transformation for renewables and energy efficiency for large users, Mexico’s new energy model promotes a conducive environment for public-private partnerships and investment.”
In addition to the campaigns launched this year, new commitments were announced for efforts initiated at CEM6 and COP21. These commitments will advance super-efficient lighting, help transform power systems for the 21st century, improve energy access, and enhance the deployment of clean energy policy expertise.
CEM7 also featured a Start-ups and Solutions Technology Showcase held in San Francisco’s Union Square. The Showcase featured around 100 innovative companies and organizations from six continents demonstrating the breakthrough technologies that will advance the clean energy sector and worldwide economy for years to come.
The week of CEM7 also included other clean energy-focused events such the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Symposium on Women in Clean Energy, EnergyAccessX, and Power System Transformation.
Speakers and panellists over the two day Ministerial included California Governor Jerry Brown, Apple Vice President Lisa Jackson, EDF RE CEO Tristan Grimbert, PG&E President and CEO Tony Earley, Jr., XPRIZE Foundation Principal Paul Bunje, former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, University of California President Janet Napolitano, Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Michael Liebreich, Advisory Board Chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The full roster of ministers and speakers attending is available online.
For all of the CEM Campaign Commitments visit the website.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!
What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?
It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?
The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.
A Strategy, Instead of a Plan
But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.
The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.
A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth
But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.
Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push
While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.
The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.
But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.
This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.
Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.
In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.
It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.
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