The Director of DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development, Tariq Banuri, has called on international support for the rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies in developing countries.
Mr. Banuri said that such action would address the problems of energy poverty and climate change at once.
He said that at current prices, renewable energy technologies were too expensive for most developing country consumers to afford, but that a “rapid scale-up of investment would help drive down costs through learning and economies of scale”.
“If countries agree to expand the installed capacity of renewable energy technologies by anywhere between 500 and 1500 gigawatts between now and, say, 2025, these technologies will become the default option for all subsequent investment.”
Mr. Banuri’s comments came as the Division for Sustainable Development recently published a technical paper titled “A Global Green New Deal for Climate, Energy, and Development”.
The paper argued that co-ordinated public policies across countries in support of renewable energy deployment could help produce the necessary decline in price and make it universally affordable within one to two decades.
It said that a “global feed‐in tariffs program” would be a good example of such policy co-ordination.
“Feed-in tariffs obligate electricity grids to purchase renewable energy as it becomes available (to feed it in), and they offer to potential providers of renewable energy a guaranteed price (the tariff, or rate paid for the electricity),” it said.
The paper said that feed-in tariff programs had already seen “dramatic expansion in renewable energy capacity” in Germany and Spain.
It also called for a “global renewable energy fund” that could assist with financing the adoption of renewable power in developing countries.
“The investment fund will guarantee, for a fixed period of time, a subsidized price for the delivery of new renewable energy in developing countries,” it said.
“It will reduce uncertainty and ensure predictability in the renewable energy industry. Once it is in place and adequately resourced, it would help stimulate a rapid and massive expansion in the market for solar, wind and other renewable technologies- and speed them toward an economic tipping point, after which they would be on track to become the dominant energy option on the planet.”