3 October 2017
Energy News: Partnerships and Tools on Clean Energy Aim to Contribute to Multiple SDGs
UN Photo/Ariane Rummery
story highlights

Gold Standard has launched a label to ensure that renewable electricity purchases support multiple SDGs.

UN Environment has partnered with China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group to boost district energy services.

The EU Islands Forum has discussed ways to boost clean energy on islands.

IRENA published guidance for clean mini-grids in SIDS.

UNIDO has released a technical guide for Biomethane Production.

25 September 2017: Switching to renewable energy sources not only contributes directly to SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy) and SDG 13 (Climate action), but can also support achieving multiple other SDGs, including SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and several others. Recent initiatives and partnerships highlights these co-benefits and aim to use synergies between SDGs to drive accelerated implementation.

Gold Standard Launches Label to Ensure that Renewable Electricity Purchases Support Multiple SDGs

While purchasing electricity from renewable sources is a good thing in general, the impact of such purchases on the environment and regarding the SDGs varies with the source of renewable energy used. If electricity is purchased from old power plants, for example, the purchase may have little impact on the expansion of new renewable generation capacity and thus provide less incentive to accelerate the global energy transition than other sources. Furthermore, some sources of renewable energy may provide additional benefits in terms of energy access, employment or health. To render these impacts transparent for consumers, Gold Standard, the standard certification body established by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), has introduced a Renewable Energy Label. The Label certifies that: electricity purchased comes from facilities adhering to a strict age limit; financing generated through purchases serves to maintain or expand renewable facilities; and projects certified contribute to at least three SDGs, including, for example, SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy), or SDG 8 (Decent and work and economic growth). The Label was developed by Gold Standard with the support of South Pole Group and the Overlook International Foundation as part of ‘Gold Standard for the Global Goals,’ which quantifies and certifies the impact of climate and development projects on the SDGs. [Gold Standard Press Release] [South Pole Group Press Release]

UN Environment Partners with Chinese Group to Boost District Energy Services

District energy systems that provide integrated energy, heating and cooling services in urban centers are an effective approach to deploy renewable energy sources and achieve greater energy efficiency. To promote the development and wider use of this solution, UN Environment and the China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP) have formed a partnership that will explore renewable energy opportunities and efficiency gains through district heating in Chinese cities. The two organizations will cooperate in supporting district energy systems through developing policies, incentives and business models; training and capacity building in support of the International Coalition for Green Development on Belt and Road; and increasing the participation of the Chinese private sector in international environmental activities. China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative is a development strategy focusing on improving connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries through infrastructure development along six land-based corridors, including the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road. The partnership will support communities along the OBOR corridors in developing and deploying renewable district energy systems as part of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SEforALL) contributing SDG 7 and its target 7.1 on ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services; and target 7.3 on doubling energy efficiency by 2030. [UN Environment Press Release. 15 September 2017. UN Environment-CECEP Partnership][UN Environment Press Release. 15 May 2017. International Coalition for a Green Belt and Road][CECEP Website]

EU Forum Discusses Clean Energy on Islands

EU countries include more than 2000 islands, many of which currently rely on fossil fuel imports to cover their energy needs. The first ‘Clean Energy for EU Islands Forum’ discussed how these islands can become more self-reliant by developing renewable energy sources and become “front runners” in the EU’s renewable energy transition. Participants also discussed how EU islands can improve energy efficiency and deploy low-emissions transport solutions while creating new jobs and economic growth. The Forum’s conclusions will inform discussions on energy solutions for islands to be held at the margins of UNFCCC COP 23 in November 2017. Held on 22 September 2017, in Chania, Greece, the Forum was part of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative launched in Malta in May 2017 with the adoption of the Valletta Declaration. [European Commission Press Release][Clean Energy for EU Islands Website][Valletta Declaration on Clean Energy for EU Islands]

IRENA Provides Guidance on Mini-grids in SIDS

One solution to deploy renewable energy on islands, especially Small Island Developing States (SIDS), is the development of mini-grids. Mini-grids comprise electricity generators and storage systems interconnected to a distribution network that supplies electricity to a localized group of customers. Falling costs of the components make mini-grids a cost-effective solution for renewable energy generation on islands. To support the deployment of mini-grids in SIDS, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has added a new component to its project navigator providing tools, guidance and best practices to assist in the development of mini-grid solutions. The Project Navigator is an online platform making available comprehensive, easily accessible, and practical information, tools and guidance to assist in the development of bankable renewable energy projects. [IRENA Press Release][IRENA Project Navigator]

UNIDO Releases Technical Guide for Biomethane Production

The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has released a publication with technical and legal advice for the safe and efficient production of biomethane. Biomethane is a direct substitute for non-renewable natural gas made from biogas through enrichment and cleaning. It can be distributed through existing infrastructure and represents a low-carbon alternative for transport heating and electricity generation. The publication covers technologies available to produce, upgrade and use biomethane, and describes the relevant European and German regulatory frameworks currently in place. It also provides an overview of technological innovations and perspectives, as well as UNIDO’s programme for the promotion of biomethane in developing and emerging countries. The report titled, ‘Biogas to Biomethane: Flexible Energy Supply from Biomass,’ was jointly prepared by the German Biogas Association (Fachverband Biogas), UNIDO, the European Biogas Association (EBA), and the German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW). [UNIDO Press Release][Biogas to Biomethane: Flexible Energy Supply from Biomass]

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