REN21 chief: RES policies must also look beyond electricity

Renewable energy sources are gaining greater presence but their growth rate is insufficient to cover gaps in sectors beyond electricity generation, professor Arthuros Zervos, president of REN21, a global energy policy network supporting a rapid transition to renewable energy, has made clear in an interview with energypress.

The main focus is still on electricity generation but it is vitally important that the attention is also turned to other domains such as heating, cooling and transportation, as these fields represent more than 80 percent of energy consumption, Zervos noted, reiterating positions included in REN21’s Renewables 2020 Global Status Report, just presented.

A total of 143 countries implemented decarbonization policies between 2004 and 2019, while green policies for transportation and heating/cooling during the same period were limited to 70 and 23 countries, respectively, the report showed.

Taking a look at the bigger picture of the global energy mix shows that renewable energy sources represented a mere 11 percent of total energy consumption in 2018, the REN21 chief noted.

The RES sector’s share of total energy consumption has increased by just 1.4 percent between 2013 and 2018, from 9.6 to 11 percent, he pointed out.

Fossil fuels maintained a dominant share of total energy consumption, at 79.9 percent, while the biomass sector registered 6.9 percent and nuclear energy 2.2 percent, the REN21 chief noted.

An anemic investment growth rate in green energy and renewables, worldwide, during the age of energy transition is another cause for concern, Zervos underlined.

RES investments grew by just 1 percent between 2018 and 2019 to reach 282 billion dollars, the REN21 head noted.

“The objective should be to accelerate RES growth and not slow it down,” Zervos explained, adding that policies supporting RES growth need to be shaped and supported.