Beyond Greening the Blue Helmets: Renewable Energy Transitions for Peacebuilding in Conflict Settings
The Program on Conflict, Climate Change and Green Development and the United Nations announce a meeting on a new approach to clean energy: There is a striking overlap among the regions at greatest risk of conflict, those most vulnerable to climate change, and high levels of energy poverty – primarily in Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia. Renewable energy represents an under-utilized entry point. Yet conflict-affected settings are characterized by unique challenges, and the renewable energy revolution that is transforming much of the world risks bypassing the conflict-prone states that stand the most to gain. The potential for renewable energy to deliver multiple economic, social, environmental and peace benefits in conflict settings remains largely untapped.
This publication website supports the new paper, in press at Nature Energy, titled: Energy storage deployment and innovation for the clean energy transition as a site where users can download the Excel versions of the data sets used i that paper, whose authors Noah Kittnera,b, Felix Lillb,c and Daniel M. Kammen*a,b,d a Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA b Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA c Center for Digital Technology and Management, TU Munich, Munich, Germany d Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA give permission for open (but cited) use of these materials.
This website provides the data sets and links to actions resulting from this new research project: Energy storage deployment and innovation for the clean energy transition Noah Kittnera,b, Felix Lillb,c and Daniel M. Kammen*a,b,d a Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA b Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA c Center for Digital Technology and Management, TU Munich, Munich, Germany d Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
May 1, 2017, San Francisco - The Program on Conflict, Climate Change and Green Development, part of UC Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, convened on April 28, 2017, the first of two expert workshops on the Peace Renewable Energy Credit (PREC). A newly developed financing mechanism, the PREC is designed to encourage renewable energy investment in conflict and crisis settings. The workshops provide for leaders in the fields of climate change, renewable energy/finance and humanitarian/peacebuilding to examine, refine and help develop the PREC concept. The San Francisco workshop was hosted by the Law Offices of Wilson, Sonsino, Goodrich & Rosati, and brought together a range of experts with national and international experience on climate and energy issues, renewable energy development and finance, and environmental markets. The discussion took stock of the growing linkages between climate change and conflict and looked at the potential for renewable energy to contribute to promoting peace and development in the world’s conflict regions. They examined the rationale for developing the PREC, including the limitations of the current international toolkit to effectively address conflict and humanitarian crises, and were presented with scenarios of how the PREC might be applied in existing conflict settings. Participants developed strategic and technical recommendations for operationalizing the PREC mechanism in the near term. The second workshop is scheduled to be held on June 1, 2017 in Washington DC. “As the world struggles to cope with the growing humanitarian crisis which climate change exacerbates, there is an urgent need for new thinking and new solutions”, said Professor Dan Kammen, Director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. “The PREC is an important innovation that can help make sure that the benefits of the renewable energy revolution are also reaching the places of greatest need, and potentially greatest impact. We seek partners to refine the idea and to fund the pilot phase projects in South Sudan, Myanmar, and elsewhere.” “We can already see a number of conflict and crisis settings where new investment in renewable energy could provide multiple economic, social, political and peace benefits, but this is not current practice” said David Mozersky, Director of the Program on Conflict, Climate Change and Green Development. “The PREC can provide new impetus and financing solutions to help unlock the many near and longer-term benefits that renewable energy can offer in regions that suffer most from conflict risk, climate change vulnerability, and energy poverty.” The Peace Renewable Energy Credit (PREC) is one of several key initiatives that the Program has developed. More information is available at rael.berkeley.edu/conflict. For information contact: David Mozersky (firstname.lastname@example.org); Dan Kammen (email@example.com).
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The annual energy symposia by the Rutgers Energy Institute provide faculty, students, staff, government officials, and community members with the opportunity to learn about the new methods, processes, and initiatives being developed by energy thinkers at Rutgers, in New Jersey, and across the country.
Despite Its Oil-Industry Past, Energy Transitions Commission Foresees A Full-Renewables Future by Jeff McMahon, based in Chicago. Follow Jeff McMahon on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, or email him here. Renewables could provide nearly all the power in some regions in less than 20 years, reliably, and at a cost competitive with fossil fuels, according to a report released today by the Energy Transitions Commission. The report's striking confidence in solar and wind is likely to surprise not only critics of those technologies but also environmentalists, who greeted the commission with skepticismwhen it was founded in 2015. The commission was launched by Royal Dutch Shell and includes executives from Shell, GE Oil and Gas, Australia's BHP Billiton, Norway's Statoil and other traditional-energy companies. "We believe that close to zero-carbon power systems with very high levels of intermittent renewable penetration (up to 98% in countries like Germany) could deliver reliable power in many countries at a maximum of $70 per MWh by 2035," the commission states in its flagship report. In 2015, Carbon Tracker's Anthony Hobley criticized the ETCbecause of its initial goal to study how to fuel half the power sector with zero-carbon energy sources by 2050, a path that Hobley said would put the world on course for 4˚C of warming. The ETC appears to have raised its ambitions since. Worldwide, zero-carbon sources could represent 80 percent of the global power mix by 2040, the commission now says, with solar and wind comprising the majority of that. That still leaves 20 percent of the world power market to fossil fuels. But that's a big drop from the current state of affairs, in which fossil fuels provide about 80 percent of primary energy production. “We are ambitious but realistic," said commission chairman Adair Turner, a British businessman, via email. "Despite the scale of the challenges facing us, we firmly believe the required transition is technically and economically achievable if immediate action is taken.” When I contacted Carbon Tracker Monday, Hobley had not had an opportunity yet to review the report or comment. The report calls for reducing CO2 emissions more rapidly than the Paris Agreement. Its reliance on solar and wind depends in part on its projection that the cost of batteries will continue to drop. But it stresses there are cheaper means than battery storage to smooth out the intermittent performance of solar and wind. It cites a suite of technologies and techniques, including:
demand management, especially of industry
flexible electric vehicle charging
load shifting between regions
automated load shifting
better grid management
large-scale heat storage
distributed thermal storage in the built environment
compressed air storage
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wave energy has the potential to power over 100 million US homes, but is completely underutilized at the moment. Wave energy has the advantage of higher predictability, nighttime availability, and a high energy density (~30 kW/m of coastline). Such high energy densities also enable the use of the renewable resource for desalination. The Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at UC Berkeley has partnered with CalWave Power Technologies, one of the winners of the US Wave Energy Prize, to better assess this potential. To learn more about CalWave, please visit http://calwave.org. This presentation will include preliminary results from this collaboration including appropriate siting, economic modeling, and performance characterization for wave energy technologies.
Using resource mapping tools, a UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory team assessed the potential for large solar and wind farms in 21 countries in the southern and eastern African power pools, which includes more than half of Africa’s population, stretching from Libya and Egypt in the north and along the eastern coast to South Africa. They concluded that with the right strategy for placing solar and wind farms, and with international sharing of power, most African nations could lower the number of conventional power plants – fossil fuel and hydroelectric – they need to build, thereby reducing their infrastructure costs by perhaps billions of dollars. “The surprising find is that the wind and solar resources in Africa are absolutely gigantic, and something you could tap into for relatively low cost,” said senior author Duncan Callaway, a UC Berkeley associate professor of energy and resources and a faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab. “But we need to be thinking now about strategies for fostering international collaboration to tap into the resource in a way that is going to maximize its potential while minimizing its impact.” The main issue, Callaway says, is that energy-generating resources are not spread equally throughout Africa. Hydroelectric power is the main power source for one-third of African nations, but it is not available in all countries, and climate change makes it an uncertain resource because of more frequent droughts. The team set out to understand where wind and solar generation plants might be built in the future under a range of siting strategy scenarios, and how much renewable generators might offset the need to build other forms of generation. Based on the team’s analysis, choosing wind sites to match the timing of wind generation with electricity demand is less costly overall than choosing sites with the greatest wind energy production. Assuming adequate transmission lines, strategies that take into account the timing of wind generation result in a more even distribution of wind capacity across countries than those that maximize energy production. Importantly, the researchers say, both energy trade and siting to match generation with demand reduces the system costs of developing wind sites that are low impact, that is, closer to existing transmission lines, closer to areas where electricity would be consumed and in areas with preexisting human activity as opposed to pristine areas. “If you take the strategy of siting all of these systems such that their total production correlates well with electricity demand, then you save hundreds of millions to billions of dollars per year versus the cost of electricity infrastructure dominated by coal-fired plants or hydro,” Callaway said. “You also get a more equitable distribution of generation sources across these countries.” “Together, international energy trade and strategic siting can enable African countries to pursue ‘no-regrets’ wind and solar potential that can compete with conventional generation technologies like coal and hydropower,” emphasized UC Berkeley graduate student Grace Wu, who conducted the study with fellow graduate student Ranjit Deshmukh. Wu and Deshmukh are the lead authors of the study. The is available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and on the RAEL publications site. Charting Africa’s energy future The team set out to tackle a key question for electricity planners in Africa and the international development community, which helps fund such projects: How should these countries allocate their precious and limited investment dollars to most effectively address electricity and climate challenges in the coming decades? Wu and Deshmukh gathered previously unavailable information on the annual solar and wind resources in 21 countries in eastern and southern Africa, and hourly estimates of wind speeds for nine countries south of the Sahara Desert. They developed an energy resource mapping framework, which they call Multi-criteria Analysis for Planning Renewable Energy, or MapRE, to identify and characterize potential wind and solar projects. They then modeled various scenarios for siting wind power and examined additional system costs from hydro and fossil fuels. The team concluded that even after excluding solar and wind farms from areas that are too remote or too close to sensitive environmental or cultural sites — what they term “no-regret” sites – there is more than enough land in this part of Africa to produce renewable power to meet the rising demand, if fossil fuel and/or hydroelectric power are in the mix to even out the load. Nevertheless, choosing only the most productive sites for development – the windiest and sunniest – would leave some countries with little low-cost local renewable energy generation. If, however, countries can agree to share power and build the transmission lines to make that happen, all countries could develop sites that are low-cost and accessible, and have low environmental impact, while reducing the number of new hydro or fossil fuel plants that need to be built. Callaway says that a few countries already share power, such as South Africa with Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but that more countries will need to broker the agreements and build the transmission lines to allow this. International transmission lines are being planned, but primarily to share hydropower resources located in a handful of countries. These transmission plans need to incorporate sharing of wind and solar in order to help them be competitive generation technologies in Africa, he said. Other co-authors are Daniel Kammen, a UC Berkeley professor of energy and resources, Jessica Reilly-Moman and Amol Phadke of the International Energy Studies Group at Berkeley Lab, Kudakwashe Ndhlukula of the Southern Africa Development Community Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at the Namibia University of Science and Technology in Windhoek, and Tijana Radojicic of the International Renewable Energy Agency in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The International Renewable Energy Agency supported much of the initial research. The National Science Foundation and the Link Foundation supported the expanded analysis on wind siting scenarios.
Brooke Maushund, who has worked on energy access in Nicaragua and in Africa, wrote the conference report for the Energy Net Limited summit that preceded the COP22 Climate Summit in Marrakech November 2 - 4, 2016.