Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (iisd)
Vol. 95 No. 02
Wednesday, 2 June 2004
TUESDAY, 1 JUNE 2004
Renewables 2004 opened on Tuesday, 1 June, in
Bonn, Germany. In the morning, participants heard opening statements,
followed by a Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue (MSD) addressing the value and
opportunities of renewable energy, and policy frameworks and regulatory
certainty. In the afternoon, the MSD discussed financing and capacity
building. Numerous side events were held throughout the day, including
the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) event, and the Science
Forum on research, development and education. The Sustainable Energy
Finance event also took place.
Jürgen Trittin, Germany’s Minister for the Environment, Nature
Conservation and Nuclear Safety, opened the Conference, calling on
renewables 2004 to send a signal for global environmental protection and
“globally fair” development. He stressed the need to “get down to
business” to make the global increase of renewable energy a reality,
underscoring that “the age of renewables has begun.”
Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Germany’s Minister for Economic Cooperation
and Development, said the Conference outcomes would provide the
strategic framework for a global sustainable energy future, and stressed
the importance of North-South energy partnerships.
Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Germany’s Parliamentary Committee on
Environment and Nuclear Safety, underscored the role of renewable energy
as a realistic choice for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),
and noted the need to address both renewables and demand-side energy
Bärbel Dieckmann, Mayor of Bonn, outlined the important role of local
authorities and municipalities in implementing renewable energy
programmes and projects. Peer Steinbrück, Minister President of the
Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, said renewable energy provides
a real opportunity to achieve sustainable development. Abigail Gay
Zuasula, Greenpeace Solar Generation, called for clear and binding
targets, projects with concrete action programmes and timeframes, and a
shift of subsidies from fossil fuels and nuclear power to renewable
energy. Yongamele Mbapa, Youth Energy Summit, presented the outcome of
the Youth Energy Summit, which includes a call for a 100% renewable
Rajendra Pachauri, The Energy and Resources Institute, India, said
renewable energy is no longer a fringe interest, and stressed the need
to break down barriers to implementation. He called for collaborative
research efforts between North and South to make renewable energy
technology more appropriate to the needs of developing countries.
Chakib Khelil, Algeria’s Minister of Energy and Mining, described
changes to national legislation and the introduction of several new
projects in Algeria to promote cleaner energy sources.
The MSD was co-chaired by Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and Jürgen Trittin,
and facilitated by David Hales from the Stakeholder Forum for Our Common
Future, UK. Each session included statements from stakeholder groups,
followed by a dialogue.
VALUE AND OPPORTUNITIES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY - POLICY FRAMEWORKS AND
The importance, value and contribution of renewable energy: NGOs
called on the Johannesburg Renewable Energy Coalition to establish
targets and mandatory policies to promote renewable energy. They
stressed the need to ensure that global temperatures do not increase by
more than 2°C due to climate change, as this would put millions of
people at risk. ACTORS IN DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION
highlighted the energy priorities of the poor, including clean and
efficient cooking technologies, and energy for income-generating and
social purposes. The RENEWABLE ENERGY MANUFACTURERS AND SUPPLIERS said
increases in fossil fuel prices due to environmental costs and the
depletion of resources will make renewable technologies more cost
effective. He emphasized the role of renewable energy sources in
providing energy to remote areas.
Discussion: MOROCCO said renewable energy could play a
major role in rural development. TURKEY described its national
legislation to promote renewable energy sources. DJIBOUTI argued that,
as oil prices had risen to over US$40 a barrel, renewable energy was now
a matter of survival for some countries. Supported by UGANDA, he called
for an international fund to finance renewable energy projects in
developing countries, and for the involvement of the private sector to
facilitate the transfer of renewable energy technologies. The SCIENTIFIC
AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY said research and development in renewable
energy technologies could provide multiple benefits, and suggested that
current investments in nuclear fusion be diverted to renewable energy.
NEPAL described the role of renewable technologies in countries with
topographical constraints in using grid-based energy technologies.
CONSUMERS stressed the need to build trust in renewable technologies.
WOMEN said the conference should also consider energy efficiency and
conservation, and recognize women as the main actors in energy
management in the domestic sector.
Promoting renewable energy - Policy frameworks and regulatory
certainty: NGOs called on governments to adopt clear and
differentiated targets to give credibility to their commitment to
renewables. Stressing the continued significance of the contribution of
fossil fuels and nuclear energy to total energy production, BUSINESS AND
INDUSTRY opposed global standards but said that the business community
is committed to ensuring universal access to clean and sustainable
energy for all by 2030. LOCAL AND REGIONAL AUTHORITIES called on
governments to replace fossil fuel subsidies with targets for increasing
access to renewable energy, highlighted the role of local authorities in
promoting renewables through procurement, and advocated subsidiarity.
RENEWABLE ENERGY MANUFACTURERS AND SUPPLIERS called for legally binding
targets, awareness raising, and increased support from IFIs.
Discussion: SAUDI ARABIA stressed the need for a balance
between different energy sources and, with IRAN, called for clean fossil
fuel technologies. BELGIUM said the relatively high cost of renewable
energy adversely affects demand. ICELAND urged a focus on the
development of renewable energy fuels for transport. WOMEN called for
gender mainstreaming in all aspects of renewable energy policies.
CONSUMERS called on governments to provide information to consumers and
develop technical standards for renewable energy products and services.
The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY stressed that current energy
markets are distorted and noted the need for increased support along the
whole innovation chain for renewable technologies. NIGERIA supported the
development of local technologies and ACTORS IN DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY
ALLEVIATION identified benefits from the local manufacturing of
renewable technologies. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY said renewable energies
can effectively fuel decentralized electricity generation for rural
populations and lead to local empowerment. TRADE UNIONS stressed the
need to harness synergies between renewable energies and employment
generation. The UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR AFRICA identified biomass as
the primary energy source in Africa and urged modernization of the
sector. MALI highlighted deforestation resulting from the domestic use
of wood fuels. RWANDA stressed the need for energy to fuel development
and BURUNDI called for increased cooperation to promote access to
renewable energy technologies. The US highlighted the benefits of energy
PROMOTING RENEWABLE ENERGY - DELIVERING FINANCE AND CAPACITY FOR
Promoting renewable energy - Financing the future: LOCAL AND
REGIONAL AUTHORITIES stressed the need to ensure access to credit and
competitive interest rates, and to lower the unit cost of renewables.
NGOs called for a level playing field and clear targets to increase
financing for renewable energy in developing countries by development
banks, export credit agencies and international financial institutions (IFIs).
The FINANCE SECTOR, speaking for Business and Industry, underscored the
need for a long-term strategy for attracting capital to the renewable
energy sector. ACTORS IN DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION urged a
focus on the finance of low-cost small-scale and primarily
non-electrical renewable technologies.
Discussion: DENMARK said target setting was a prerequisite
for the successful expansion of renewable energy and GERMANY outlined
its renewable energy target. WOMEN called for financial mechanisms to
improve the social and economic status of women, including credit
arrangements, targeted short-term subsidies and programmes to enhance
women’s entrepreneurial skills. BANGLADESH stressed the need to make
renewable energy affordable and accessible to the rural poor. BUSINESS
AND INDUSTRY said IFIs should harmonize the work of their private and
public sector departments. JORDAN called for large-scale renewable
energy power plants and increased regional cooperation. RENEWABLE ENERGY
MANUFACTURERS AND SUPPLIERS stressed the importance of removing
administrative barriers and harmful subsidies, and supported the call
for an international renewable energy agency. TRADE UNIONS underscored
the need to make financial provisions to ease the socioeconomic problems
facing workers currently employed in conventional energy sectors.
A representative from BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY highlighted the Clean Energy
Alliance between 12 US States to promote renewable energy over the next
ten years. ETHIOPIA said hydropower should not be excluded from the list
of renewable options. NGOs highlighted the recommendations of the World
Commission on Dams, and said a key priority was to ensure a “just
transition” to renewable energy.
The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY called on the OECD to
increase research spending on renewable energy. The UN FOOD AND
AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION called for the integration of agriculture and
energy policies. SOLOMON ISLANDS said renewable energy presented a
stepping stone for the future economic prosperity of countries that
spend a major share of their national budget on energy. ACTORS IN
DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION called for subsidies to aid the
maturation of clean technologies. PAKISTAN called for the creation of a
renewable energy development bank and promotion agency.
Promoting renewable energy - Capacity building: CONSUMERS
underlined the need to provide consumers and professionals with
information and advice. TRADE UNIONS said renewable projects should
include funds to train workers, involve civil society, and build
capacity at the grassroots level.
Discussion: MAURITIUS proposed a protocol or convention on
renewable energy. NEW ZEALAND urged the use of carbon charges to
internalize the cost of energy systems. GUATEMALA called for capacity
building among decision makers. ACTORS IN DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY
ALLEVIATION stressed the need to build on existing capacity and to
improve access and increase the purchasing power of people in poverty.
TRADE UNIONS urged the development of advanced technical skills.
INDONESIA stressed that, without strong financial support, renewable
energy cannot compete with other energy sources. RENEWABLE ENERGY
MANUFACTURERS called for a strong signal of support for renewables at
the international level. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY drew
attention to the importance of human capacity building for researchers,
producers and consumers of renewable energy. WOMEN called for enabling
policies to ensure their greater participation in decision making.
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY supported setting targets at the local rather than
global level. In order to give renewable energy a “fair” chance, NGOs
called for the external costs of all energy sources to be internalized.
He called for targets, support systems and “long, loud and legal”
frameworks. ACTORS IN DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION favored
small-scale renewable energy projects that generate employment and
stimulate enterprise at the local level.
CONSUMERS supported the establishment of an international institution to
promote the supply and demand of renewable energies. LOCAL AUTHORITIES called for decentralized governance and TRADE UNIONS urged
participants to address social concerns. KENYA called for efforts to
increase the diffusion of geothermal, solar and wind energy
technologies. TUNISIA and NIGER called for enhanced international
technical cooperation and capacity building. UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR
LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN stressed the need for electrification as
well as job creation.
Global Village Energy Partnership
Presented by the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP)
Judy Siegel, GVEP, explained that GVEP was launched at the WSSD and
seeks to increase energy access to over 50,000 communities in 30
countries. Noting that 1.7 billion people lack access to energy, she
stressed that energy is critical to achieve the MDGs.
Kamal Rajal, UNDP, discussed capacity development initiatives in Asia.
He outlined the Asia-Pacific Regional Energy Programme for Poverty
Reduction (2004-2006), which aims to enhance equitable access to
appropriate, reliable and affordable energy services to reduce poverty
and contribute to achieving the MDGs.
Roberto Gonzalez Diaz-Duran, Guatemala’s Minister of Energy and Mines,
discussed his country’s National Action Plan and planning process to
alleviate energy poverty. He outlined Guatemala’s programme with GVEP,
which aims to, inter alia, bridge the gap between investors,
entrepreneurs and energy users in the design, installation and operation
of replicable energy projects. Minister Diaz-Duran stressed that the
ultimate benefit of such programmes is not the provision of energy
itself, but the poverty reduction achieved.
George Mpombo, Zambia’s Minister of Energy and Water Development, noted
that 80% of people in Zambia lack access to electricity. Emphasizing
that “actions speak louder than words,” he called on developed countries
to “unlock” their financial and technical resources to assist African
countries in developing and investing in renewables.
Ma Shenghong, Renewable Energy Development Center, China, described the
Brightness and Township Electrification Programme in China, which aims
to accelerate the decentralized electrification of remote rural areas.
Outlining lessons learned and noting that rural populations have
difficulty financing renewables, he underscored the importance of
Links to more information:
Science Forum: Research, Development and Education
Organized by the Solar Energy Research Association (ForschungsVerbund
Sonnenenergie - FVS)
The Science Forum,
which was held at the Wissenschaftzentrum in Bonn, consisted of a series
of sessions focused on research, development and education in the
context of renewable energies. The Forum was attended by more than 100
experts from governments, UN agencies, international organizations, and
Jürgen Schmid, FVS/Institute for Solar Energy Supply Technology, opened
the day-long event, urging participants to use it to launch a process
that would encourage North-South cooperation on research and education
After the opening speeches, participants focused on issues of research
and development, followed in the afternoon by sessions on education and
On research and development, Joachim Luther, Fraunhofer Institute for
Solar Energy Systems, argued that a worldwide sustainable energy system
was achievable through a rapid increase in the use of renewables.
However, he suggested that such a transformation would require a global
approach involving sustained efforts to reduce the cost of renewable
energy, combined with ongoing political, institutional and financial
commitment. He proposed the establishment of an International Science
Panel on Renewable Energy, which could operate along the lines of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Other speakers assessed the specific needs of both industrialized and
developing countries, as well as the challenges involved in integrating
renewables within energy distribution systems.
During the sessions on education networks, several presenters discussed
the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Global
Renewable Energy Education and Training (UNESCO-GREET) programme. Noting
significant gaps in education, training, and public awareness raising,
Osman Benchikh, UNESCO, observed that these elements are often missing
from renewable energy projects. He highlighted GREET’s support for
collaboration between existing training programmes, the launching of
regional and global networks for information exchange, and other
activities to promote training and education.
Other speakers tackled a range of education-related issues, including
measures to integrate renewable energy into society in the US, European
postgraduate courses in renewable energy, the activities of the
International Institute for Renewable Energy in Asia, and a proposal for
an internet-based information exchange and education system.
As well as the main sessions, a number of side events were also held on
issues such as the role of research and academic institutions, the use
of renewable energy for heating and cooling, Germany’s renewables
activities, and capacity building in developing countries.
The Science Forum concluded with an announcement by Jürgen Schmid of a
German initiative to launch an internet-based information exchange and
Link to more
Osman Benchikh: email@example.com
Sustainable Energy Finance
Presented by UNEP and the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE)
Monique Barbut, UNEP, briefed participants on the Sustainable Energy
Finance Initiative (SEFI), which provides financiers with tools and
networks to drive financial innovations that improve the environmental
performance of the energy mix.
In parallel breakout sessions, participants discussed risk management
and venture capital for the renewable energy sector. The group on risk
management identified several investment barriers, including lack of
expertise and know-how about sustainable energy in the financial sector,
high initial investment costs and a risk/reward ratio not perceived as
attractive. Several speakers called for a change of thinking in the
financial sector and for new public-private partnerships to share risks
related to sustainable energy projects.
The group on venture capital heard presentations on the process to
obtain venture capital for start-up companies, an investor’s perspective
on a venture capital deal, and impediments to venture capital.
The 5th BASE International Investment Forum for Sustainable Energy
convened in the afternoon. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker encouraged
business participants to consider strong recommendations for renewables
2004. Entrepreneurs from five continents presented 12 sustainable energy
projects that require investments. These include various renewable
energy technologies, energy storage and conversion equipment. These
projects, which range in size, require total investments of more than €
In a separate session on consumer lending and micro-finance,
participants heard presentations and discussed the integration of energy
services into existing consumer lending products and micro-finance
activities, interest rates for micro-credit, and operational efficiency
of different micro-finance models.
Link to more
Monique Barbut: firstname.lastname@example.org
TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY SESSION: The Plenary Session will take place from 9:00 am-12:30pm to consider
policies for renewable market development. It will reconvene from
2:00-5:30 pm to address financing options for renewable energy, as well
as strengthening capacities, research and technology development, and
SIDE EVENTS: Side events and other related events will convene
throughout the day. See the daily conference journal for more