Energy ministers from 23 of the world’s leading economies met to discuss challenges and solutions around advancing clean energy technologies at the 5th Clean Energy Ministerial, or CEM, in New Delhi, India from April 16 -18. The CEM, launched in 2010, brings together governments representing 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of global clean energy investment with the goal of accelerating the adoption of clean energy technologies.
This week in Delhi governments and the private sector discussed smart policies and technical solutions to increase low-carbon energy, expand the reach of energy, and advance energy efficiency building on 13 CEM initiatives to achieve these goals.
Analyses of clean energy trends by International Energy Agency and Bloomberg New Energy Finance revealed the promise of clean energy and the challenges ahead. Despite investments in clean energy, an increase in global energy demand by 46 percent between 1990 and 2010 has translated to a global energy supply that is as carbon intensive today as it was in 1990, according to IEA. There was an 11 percent slowdown in renewable capacity investment in 2012 and energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) has declined significantly. IEA presented opportunities for grasping low-carbon trajectories, such as energy efficiency and the adoption low carbon transport policies that are both largely untapped on a global scale.
The first ever Global EV Outlook by the IEA was also released at the CEM showing promising progress on the development of electric vehicles. Between 2011 and 2012, EV passenger car sales more than doubled to more than 180,000 vehicles today. EVs, however, only represent 0.02 percent of total passenger car supply, indicating a need for further international cooperation to advance clean energy vehicles.
The Electric Vehicles Initiative that includes 15 member governments has a goal of global deployment of at least 20 million passenger car EVs by 2020.
During a CEM public-private roundtable on accelerating the global adoption of clean vehicles chaired by John D. Podesta, chair of the Center for American Progress, governments and business leaders shared knowledge about national and industry efforts and lessons learned. Energy ministers and representatives from the government and private sector talked about the case for accelerating the adoption of clean energy vehicles to protect to reduce dependence on oil, reduce pollution and shield economies from fluctuations in the price of oil. They shared similar experiences about barriers to developing infrastructure for clean energy vehicles and the lack of consumer demand, and the role of policies that have already proven effective to address these challenges.
For instance, governments have made progress in lowering the costs of vehicles electrification through investments in RD&D totaling USD 8.7 billion since 2008, which has helped to reduce battery development costs –the most expensive part of the cars– by more than 50 percent over the last five years. In addition there are other incentives which have proven effective such as consumer incentives and access to restricted highway lanes.
The Government of India announced its joining of the EVI at the CEM. The country is aiming to be a leader in EV sales through its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 with a mission is to yield sales of 6-7 million EVs by 2020. The country is already the world’s 6th largest vehicle manufacturer and the auto industry contributes 22 percent to the country’s manufacturing GDP. The goals for India’s leadership on EVs is twofold: to gain fuel security and also increase the share of manufacturing in the overall economy to 25% by 2022.
Though market penetration of clean vehicles has increased as a result of strong government support in participating countries of the EVI, consumer demand remains a significant challenge. Mayor Gregory A. Ballard of the City of Indianapolis, Indiana who was participating in the EVI roundtable, said “consumer acceptance is a huge barrier. People don’t know that we can move in this direction.” On December 12, 2012 Mayor Ballard signed an executive order converting Indianapolis’ non-police municipal fleet to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2025, making it the first large city in the US to do so.
Mayor Ballard is raising awareness about the benefits of EV firsthand in addition to city initiatives. He recently drove a Chevy Volt eight hours from Indianapolis to Atlanta watch his hometown play in the final four college basketball tournament to showcase that these technologies are here now and dispel myths about range. “We’re not getting the word out enough,” said the mayor.
He pointed to national security as a compelling argument for the transition from fossil fuels. The US is producing more oil than ever but demand is growing around the world and the price keeps going up. “We have to look at the global security of that,” said Mayor Ballard, who is a former U.S. Marine and understands the national security implications of reliance on oil. The mayor reasons, “We can stop spending money to protect [oil] infrastructure and stop spending money on the war on terror,” the mayor continued, “The technology is changing to the point where we don’t have to do it. That’s why I’m pursuing electrification and natural gas.”
In addition to clean vehicles, there were also public-private roundtables on business innovation to reduce the costs and accelerate the deployment of solar pv, the intersection of policy and finance for renewables, and market barriers to mini-grid development.
Key accomplishments of the fourth CEM
The model advanced by the U.S. to encourage professional women in the field of clean energy through the Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) initiative to advance professional women in clean energy was replicated by Mexico and Finland. The US C3E program has recruited 30 Ambassadors, who are leaders in clean energy, to champion and mentor the next generation. At the CEM Mexico named Undersecretary for Electricity Lourdes Melgar as a C3E Ambassador and Finland named thee women: Maria Panstsar Kallio, Satu Helynen and Heli Antila.
The Super-efficient Appliance and Equipment Deployment (SEAD) awarded winners of the SEAD Global Efficiency Medal competition for most energy efficient flat-panel televisions, which are 33 to 44 percent more energy efficient than TVs with similar technology. A new SEAD Global Efficiency Medal competition for electric motors will help increase the development and adoption of electric motors, which account for 43 percent of world electricity consumption.
A new database for national and subnational clean energy and energy efficiency policies and incentives in India, the Indian renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy Database, developed with the Clean Energy Solutions Center will help drive the expansion of these programs in the country. And the World Bank launched a South-South-North Knowledge Exchange to promote the exchange of ideas among policymakers, the private sector and civil society in CEM economies.
In a sign of buy-in the next two Ministerials are already lined up. We can expect continued forward movement in multilateral collaboration on clean energy between governments and the private sector next year in the Republic of Korea and in Mexico City in 2015.