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  • Interactive Session with Dr. Ruud Kempener

  • Date / Time23 July 2013  13:15-14:00
    VenuePacifico Yokohama Room 414
    Guest speakerRuud Kempener, Technology Roadmap Analyst, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
    InterviewersTakeshi Kuramochi, Policy Researcher, IGES
    Chea Eliyan, Deputy Head, Department of Environmental Sciences, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    FacilitatorSatoshi Kojima, Principal Policy Researcher, IGES
  • Brief profile of Dr. Ruud Kempener

    Dr. Ruud Kempener is IRENA’s technology roadmap analyst. Before joining IRENA, Ruud was a postdoctoral fellow of Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, followed by a two-year fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Ruud received a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney, Australia and a MSc in Technology & Society from Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands.

  • Key Discussions points

    ---You are involved in IRENA’s Renewable Energy Roadmap 2030 (REMAP 2030) project, which aims to draw global and national roadmaps in order to double the renewable energy (RE) share in the global energy mix by 2030 compared to the current level. Could you first introduce us to this exciting international project with regard to the project’s inception, major objectives, differences from other international initiatives on enhanced RE deployment and key findings up until now?

    Kempener :

    As part of the 2012 International Year for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), IRENA assisted the United Nations High-Level Group in devising an action agenda for the SE4ALL initiative. At the same time, IRENA started with the development of REMAP 2030 – a global renewable energy (RE) roadmap to operationalise pathways towards a doubling of the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. The roadmap, whilst focusing on RE, will also consider the interaction between RE and the other two SE4ALL objectives on ensuring universal access to modern energy services, and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency. Previously there was little analysis done on how to achieve the doubling of the RE share and this is why we launched this project.

    There were renewable scenarios drawn previously by other international organizations but they were developed by a small, closed team using in-house models. What is unique about our roadmap is that it is much more transparent about the inputs and assumptions and more inclusive, using the knowledge of the governments to develop it. The global roadmap is based on country-specific analysis looking into different sectors and then, together with government experts, we combine them at the global level. We engage other stakeholders, such as industry, academia and NGOs, through the development of our sectoral technology roadmaps. For example, in our industry roadmap we are involving both multinational companies as well as small- and medium-size enterprises, and we have engaged local government in our cities roadmap. At the moment, we are specifically looking at the power sector with roadmaps on RE grid integration and electricity storage.

    With regard to our initial findings, firstly many governments are keen to work together to develop the roadmap. National governments provide experts and IRENA provides the platform for a transparent and interactive process for roadmap development. The transparent approach we provide attracts a lot of interest. Secondly, the challenges, with regards to achieving the global doubling target, vary considerably across world regions and from country to country. These challenges depend on the natural endowment of RE resources, current and projected energy use, current use of traditional biomass, local characteristics and national energy policy. We already see that our approach is creating a valuable platform where countries can share their experiences and evaluate their plans from a global perspective.

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    ---Doubling of the RE share in the global energy mix from 18% to 36% by 2030 seems like a huge challenge. When reading a REMAP 2030 report, it was stated that the gap between the doubling target and the RE share achieved in the Business-As-Usual case (21% in 2030) is very large (15%-points). Although the report indicates that the doubling target is still technically feasible, it is also mentioned that the energy decisions made today will largely determine the energy mix in 2030. Aren’t we too late to achieve the RE doubling target? Please suggest what immediate actions need to be taken at the government level in order to stay on track for achieving the target.

    Kempener :

    We aim to stimulate government actions by making additional RE options visible. One of the interesting features of the REMAP 2030 project is the country analysis which consists of two steps. Firstly, we identify the RE share in 2030 under the current national RE plans, which many countries have set out (reference case). Following this, we identify additional available RE options and develop cost supply curves for 2030. For many countries it will be a revelation to see how much more RE can be deployed in a cost-effective way in their countries. Because the cost supply curves are based on transparent information and validated by national experts, governments can consider how many of the additional options it should take up based on our outcomes. We will also stimulate national governments by providing sectoral potential assessments. It is interesting that many countries focus on RE in the power sector, such as hydropower and biomass, but that RE options in manufacturing, transport or buildings are not considered or considered by different departments. Even in the case of Germany, a country with extensive scenario development for renewables, the plans and studies on RE deployment in the manufacturing sector are still limited.

    Regarding how to bridge the "15% gap", the reduction of energy use through energy efficiency improvement is as essential as increasing the RE supply. At the same time, multiple benefits that will be delivered through RE deployment, particularly in developing countries, should be emphasized, whether or not the doubling target is achieved.

    The kinds of actions that can be taken immediately depends on the specific circumstances of each country. For some countries, the analysis of RE options in the different end-use sectors is a first step, whilst others first require an institutional framework for RE policies. REMAP 2030 should therefore be seen as part of a suite of activities that IRENA is undertaking to help countries develop actions. Our global atlas on RE resource potentials, our Renewable Readiness Assessments or our work on jobs and renewables are all activities that can spur action. By providing transparent information about the deployment potential, engaging various stakeholders, and connecting RE activities in our Member countries, we believe that RE deployment can be pushed forward.

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    ---What should be the policy responses (command and control or economic incentive options) to encourage RE application in developing countries?

    Kempener :

    We hope to provide answers in the later phase of the project. Some developing countries have information regarding RE deployment potentials and have developed some kind of RE plans with corresponding institution in place, while others do not have the capacity to develop them. We first aim to bring all countries to a stage where there is at least information about national RE deployment potentials. The next step is to engage these countries in order to share experiences regarding policies to promote RE. There are three points that should be considered: (i) available resources, (ii) development stage, and (iii) potential additional services delivered through RE deployment. On the third point, RE can deliver secure access to energy, this is a key for local development where access to energy is limited, positive health impacts as well as mitigation of environmental impacts including climate change.

    ---Recently there has been a trade conflict over solar PV exports from China to the EU. Do you think these trade conflicts hinder the accelerated deployment of RE that IRENA aspires to? Also, the latest studies indicate that the global investment on RE decreased last year. Does this suggest that RE deployment is slowing down?

    Kempener :

    With regard to the China-EU trade war, I think solar PV is in a phase that any new technology has to go through. It is inevitable for a growing market and therefore I’m not so worried about it. It should be stressed that China has announced that it will become a Member of IRENA. China sitting with the US and the EU on the same table is a very positive sign for global RE deployment.

    With regard to the RE investment figures, perhaps some of the reasons behind this include the recent economic recession and the decline of unit prices for RE system installation. To track the trends of RE deployment, I think it is better to look into the share of RE in newly installed capacity rather than the total investment. This share remains around 50% which means that our experience with RE deployment is growing at an enormous rate. As the absolute capacity is continuing to grow, and people around the world are becoming more and more familiar with RE deployment, I believe that RE investments will follow this demand.

    ---It has been reported that the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) for RE, particularly solar PV, is much higher in Japan than in other countries. Other Asian countries have introduced or are considering introducing a FIT scheme. Could you provide insights into optimal FIT policies?

    Kempener :

    The circumstances differ significantly among countries, thus the optimal level of FIT also depends on the country in question. It should be noted that for solar PV, the cost of PV panels is less than half of the total initial investment cost, with the rest attributable to installation etc. So a country where there is limited experience and higher installations costs will require higher FITs. Some lessons can be drawn from the case of Germany. In Germany the solar PV cost has reduced significantly because the installation cost decreased, which is mainly due to the fact that nearly all electricians in Germany know how to install solar PV panels. This local knowledge is a valuable asset, which subsequently results in a FIT that is declining over time.

  • Observation of the interviewers/acknowledgements

    Dr. Kempener has been at the forefront of developing global and national renewable energy roadmaps toward 2030. His experience through the REMAP 2030 project suggests two key elements for this kind of roadmap to successfully drive national governments into action. First, there needs to be transparency in the information underlying the roadmap and its development process. Second, there needs to be broad engagement of national experts and stakeholders in order to convince national governments that the roadmap is something worth serious consideration. Hereby we would like to thank Dr. Kempener for his valuable contribution to the ISAP.

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