Webinar Lecture Series on Renewable Energy in Developing Countries

Leonardo Energy is offering a series of 10 free webinar presentations on Regulation and Sustainable Energy in Developing Countries. The course begins on Thursday, December 1. Registration on the site permits one to attend any or all of the webinars. Topics to be covered during the webinars include:

The schedule for the webinars is as follows:

Sessions 1 & 2 – 1st , 8th December 2011

  • Renewable Energy and Rural Electrification Policies Renewable energy and access to energy services in rural areas & planning
  • Implementation of rural energy services companies
  • Regulatory and institutional framework
  • Cases of succesful electrification policies with RE

Sessions 3 & 4 – 12th, 26th January 2012

  • Feed In Tariff Policies & Grid Integration
  • Correct level of tariff
  • Selection of technologies / grid integration
  • Link between RE policies and industry policy
  • Analysis of existing FIT in developing countries

Sessions 5 & 6 – 9th, 23rd February 2012

  • Other Renewable Energy Support Mechanisms and Policies
  • Green certificates/ RPS schemes an their limitations
  • Fiscal incentives and tax breaks
  • Financing RE / mobilisation of CDM (post Kyoto)
  • Cases of massive scale RE dissemination in developing countries

Sessions 7 to 10 – 8th, 22nd March 2012 – 5th, 19th April 2012

  • Energy Efficiency in Developing Countries
  • Standards and labels/white certificates/ESCOs
  • Revenue decoupling and EE Energy audits / EE in buildings and in the industry
  • Cases of successful EE policies in developing countries.


The State of Climate Adaptation Financing

The International Institute for Environment and Development produces some excellent brief reports suitable for student readings. If you’re looking for some readings for the Durban COP, there are a number of new reports, including one that caught my eye, on adaptation financing, Ciplet, et al.,, Adaptation Finance: How Can Durban Deliver on Past Promises?, Briefing (Nov. 2011).  Among the chief take-aways from the report:

  1. When developed countries agreed to provide $30 billion in “fast-start” financing by 2012, scaling up to $100 billion a year, part of the agreement was that it would be balanced between mitigation and adaptation initiatives; however to date, only 19-25% of fast-start finance ($4.8-6.3 billion) has been allocated to adaptation efforts, up slightly from 11-15% pledged a year ago;
  2. It is uncertain what proportion of adaptation funding will be in the form of pure grants, concessionary loans, or market-rate loans; vulnerable countries are ill-equipped to repay loans, nor should they be required to;
  3. Wealthy countries have failed to “scale up” their funding in anticipation of the post-212 era when fast-start financing ends, nor did the agreements in Copenhagen or Cancun provide a roadmap for doing so;
  4. There is a serious lack of transparency with fast-start financing, including a failure on most contributors to report their fast-start activities to the UNFCCC; moreover, the vast majority of fast-start funds have not flowed to UNFCCC-controlled funding mechanisms;
  5. The UNFCCC has failed to develop effective guidelines for identifying vulnerability, obviating efforts to target funding to those most vulnerable to climate impacts, as outlined in several recent agreements, including Cancun;
  6. Among the recommendations offered by the writers for Durban and beyond:
  • Develop other sources of funding beyond national revenue sources, e.g. a small level on international airline travel, bunker transport fuel or international financial transactions;
  • Develop defined targets for adaptation funding in the “hole” between when fast-start financing ceases in 2012 and the $100 billion annual pledge begins in 2020;
  • Develop a central account framework and registry to ensure transparency in financing, as well as provide guidelines for assessing whether pledges constitute “new and additional:” adaptation finance

This brief could generate some lively discussion on some core issues in climate policy making, including the following:

  • Should fast-start and long-term financing be equally balanced between mitigation and adaptation initiatives in developing countries?
  • Are developing countries entitled, as the authors argue, to outright grants for adaptation and mitigation financing initiatives?
  • Do developing countries have any recourse under international law should developed countries fail to meet their financing pledges?
  • Why is it important that financial flows primarily go through UNFCCC institutions?

Transforming U.S. Energy Policy: Belfer Center Report

The Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs at Harvard recently released a 348-page report entitled “Transforming U.S. Energy Innovation.” The Center has also released a policy brief summarizing the report that would be a good reading in an energy or climate change course. Among the take-aways from the brief, which provides a framework for effectuating a “revolution in energy technology innovation”  in the United States:

  1. Energy research and development expenditures in the United States should be approximately doubled to $10 billion annually; this relatively minimal increase in investment could result in hundreds of billions of dollars in savings annually by 2050;
    • There would be decreasing marginal returns from expenditures above $10 billion annually, subject to reassessment as technologies evolve;
  2. Both expanded R&D expenditures and imposition of a substantial price on carbon are essentially to effectively address climate change and reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy;
  3. Private sector energy innovation is critical; however, the U.S. Department of Energy hasn’t formulated a comprehensive strategy to interact with the private sector, including collection and analysis of data critical to learning from past projects;
  4. The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy is a good role model for energy research; policymakers should provide consistent, multi-year funding for  ARPA-E and brook some failures, which are inevitable with high-risk projects of this nature;
  5. The United States need a strategic approach to energy RD&D (research, demonstration and development) with other countries. There is substantial energy research and development in developing and transition countries. For example, Brazil, Russia, India, China, Mexico and South Africa is as larger or larger than government-sponsored energy RD&D by all developed counties combined. The DOES should set aside a small portion of its funds for international energy RD&D and a new interagency committee should be established to identify priorities for funding and action for international cooperation.


IEA World Energy Outlook 2011

The Executive Summary of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2011 was published recently. The seven-page document would be an excellent reading in energy or climate courses, albeit a pretty depressing one.  Among the take-aways from the publication:

  1. Global energy demand bounced back from depressed levels by a “remarkable” 5% in 2010;
  2. Energy subsidies that encourage profligate use of fossil fuels also increased to over $400 billion in 2010;
  3. Demand for energy in the IEA’s New Policies Scenario, which assumes cautious governmental commitments to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, rises by one-third from 2010 to 2035, with 90% of increases in energy demand occurring in non-OECD States;
  4. Demand for fossil fuels is projected to only decline from 81% of primary energy consumption in 2010 to 75% in 2035;  the share of non-hydro renewable power generation rises from 3% in 2009 to 15% in 2035;
  5. Four-fifths of total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions permissible by 2035 to keep greenhouse gas concentrations at 450ppm are already locked in by existing capital stocks; without “stringent” new measures by 2013, energy-related infrastructure in place by that point will generate ALL of the carbon dioxide emissions permitte in a 450 scenario up to 2035. Thus, all other energy-generating infrastructure, factories, etc. would have to be zero-carbon to not pass the 450ppm threshold;
  6. For every dollar of investment avoided in the power sector before 2020, we would need an additional $4.3 after 2020 to compensate for increased emissions;
  7. All of the projected net increase in oil demand to 2030 will come from the transport sector in developing countries;
  8. Maintenance of current policies in terms of coal use would see coal use rise by a further 65% by 2035, overtaking oil as the primary fuel source in the global energy mix;
  9. While $9 billion is currently invested globally to provide access to modern energy, more than 5 times this amount would need to be invested to provide universal access by 2030.


New Article: Where Do We Go Now After the Kyoto Protocol?

Arizona State University’s Dan Bodansky recently published an excellent analysis of where we may be heading after 2012, Bodansky, [W]hither the Kyoto Protocol? Durban and Beyond!, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements (Aug. 2011).

Among the take-aways from the article are the following:

  • There are various factions in UN climate change negotiations, including: a. the European Union, which might embrace a new commitment period under Kyoto if part of a comprehenisve framework engaging all major economies, including the United States and China; b. Japan, Canada and Russia, which wish to replace Kyoto with a new comprehensive agreement with commitments by both developed and developing countries, and c. large developing countries, such as China and India, which desire for the Protocol to continue, with quantiative limits only on the emissions of developing countries; and d. The United States, which is willing to negotiate a legally-binding agreement if the mandate applies with equal legal force to all major emitters;
  • Bodansky sets forth 3 potential post 2012 scenarios:
    • Scenario 1: denominated as the “most likely scenario for Durban and beyond,” envisions that negotiations for a second commitment period come to naught by the end of 2012. As a consequence, the only limits to emissions would consist of the  political commitments made at Copenhagen and Cancun. Some parts of the Kyoto Protocol, such as “assigned amount units” would no longer be operational;  however, other provisions not tied to emissions limits would continue in force, such as the CDM, though it is unclear how much impetus there would be for projects, well as reporting requirements and major institutions, e.g. the Meeting of the Parties and the Secretariat. Bodansky also notes that failure to reach an agreement on a second commitment period might further discourage developing countries from engaging in the negotiation process;
    •  Scenario 2: Adoption of an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol establishing a second commitment period. Bodansky argues that the opposition of several Annex I States, including Russia, Canada and Japan, to a second commitment period, would likely result in only a rump of original Kyoto parties, with the EU playing a decisive role. It would be virtually impossible for a second commitment period amendment to be adopted in time to prevent a gap in legally binding commitments; however, an amendment could avoid this by providing for “provisional application” pending entry into force.
    • Scenario 3: Political agreement on a second commitment period. An intermediate outcome would be a transition regime that established a political second commitment period rather than legally binding commitments. It’s unclear what the effectiveness of such an agreement would be. Bodansky argues that some political agreements are strongly adhered to by States, while others are not. It’s also possible that States will view such an agreement as affording them greater flexibility, and thus will be more amenable to accept more ambitious commitments.  Such commitments could extend the Kyoto Protocol in an unchanged fashion, or a different approach might be taken, e.g. establishing economy-wide targets that would generate assigned amount units (AAUs) that could be traded, or a less ambitious approach could be taken, such as conditional targets or targets specified in a range.

Online climate conference

4th on-line Climate Conference deals with Climate Change and Disasters Management

Climate 2011, the 4th on-line Climate Conference, deals with the topic of
“Climate Change and Disasters Management”. A set of scientific papers and
chats around this important issue will be available from the 7th to 12th November
2011. Participation at the on-line event, organised by the International Climate Change
Information Programme (ICCIP – http://www.iccip.net) in cooperation with key agencies
such as UNEP, UNESCO, WMO, GIZ, IDRC, ICIMOD, UNITAR and many others, is free of charges and offers a unique
opportunity to gain valuable insights into a matter of great concern to both
industrialised and developing nations. Take part at the event: http://www.climate2011.net