Energy News: Events for SDG 7 Implementation, Countries Advance with Renewable Energy and Storage
UN Photo/Ariane Rummery
story highlights

The IEA held a workshop on Enhancing the Impact of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Policies and launched an online resource to centralize its data and scenario projects relating to SDG 7.

The Sustainable Energy Forum for East Africa aimed to promote access to renewable energy resources for East African countries.

EU reports on gas an electricity use show that the EU's economic growth is decoupling from its electricity consumption.

South Australia and the Netherlands announced major projects in renewable energy generation and storage, as a report from the US predicts that US energy storage installations and market size will triple in 2018.

March 2018: In March, multiple conferences were held and data published to support the implementation of SDG 7 (Ensure access to affordable, reliable sustainable and modern energy for all), while falling costs resulted in several breakthrough announcements for hydrogen and offshore wind energy, and battery storage.

IEA Holds Workshop on Policies for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Launches SDG Online Resource

The International Energy Agency (IEA) brought together 200 senior policymakers, officials and business executives to discuss opportunities to integrate policy and deployment strategies of energy efficiency and renewable energy for a workshop titled, ‘Enhancing the Impact of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Policies.’ Participants reviewed case studies demonstrating novel approaches to improved integration of policy, business models and technology with a focus on the buildings sector.

To further strengthen its role as the lead agency and main data source for tracking progress towards achieving SDG targets for renewables (SDG 7.2) and energy efficiency (SDG 7.3), the IEA also launched an online portal to centralize all data and scenario projects it produces in support of the SDGs. Since 2002, the Agency has also collected annual country-by-country data regarding SDG 7.1 (access to electricity and clean cooking), and is analyzing current and long-term energy trends in its annual World Energy Outlook . With its project support and data services, IEA contributes to preparations for the review of SDG 7 implementation at the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July 2018. [IEA Press Release Workshop] [IEA SDG 7 Portal] [IEA Press Release SDG7 Portal]

Sustainable Energy Forum for East Africa

The East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) hosted the Sustainable Energy Forum for East Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, where 400 representatives from government, business, civil society and international organizations discussed actions needed to scale up sustainable energy development in East African countries. Plenary discussions focused on gender mainstreaming in energy access, off-grid renewables, clean cooking fuels, energy financing and policies. The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), a co-organizer of the event, released three reports in support of the forum’s activities, focusing on: barriers to, and achievements of gender equality in the energy sector in the East African Community (EAC); ongoing and planned initiatives of sustainable city development across the region; and clean cooking fuels in the EAC. [UNIDO Press Release] [UNIDO News Report]

EU GDP Grows as Electricity Consumption Decreases

The European Commission’s latest reports on EU gas and electricity market activity confirmed that electricity consumption in the EU has become decoupled from economic growth. The publications show that between 2010 and 2017, the EU’s GDP increased by 12% while electricity consumption decreased by 4%. The reports also found that wind energy production set a new record in December 2017 at 41 TWh, representing 16% of the EU’s electricity mix. [European Commission Press Release]

Breakthrough Announcements for New Energy Technologies Reflect Falling Cost of Renewables and Storage

The continuing decline in costs of renewable energy technologies is supporting a growing number of utility-scale projects for renewable energy generation and storage. Highlights in March included the following:

  • The government of South Australia announced a plan to build a 50 MW hydrogen storage plant, the largest of its kind to date. The plant will be co-located with a 300 MW wind and solar farm. The plan is part of the state government’s roadmap to develop hydrogen technology at scale. [Climate Action Programme News Report] [A Hydrogen Roadmap for South Australia]
  • The Dutch government has granted one of the first ever subsidy-free offshore wind contracts to Swedish energy company Vattenfall. The contract for a 700-750 MW wind farm, to be built off the Dutch coast, was won in the third of five rounds of Dutch auctions intended to increase offshore wind capacity in the Netherlands to 4,500 MW by 2023. [Climate Action Programme News Report]
  • Data released from the Energy Storage Association and GTM Research forecasts the installment of 1,233 MWh of grid connected storage in 2018, pushing the sector’s market value from its current value of USD 300 million to USD 1 billion by 2019. GTM research attributes this explosive growth to falling costs and favorable state-level policies. [Climate Action Programme News Report]

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