Discussion
12 Apr - 30 Apr 2021

Discussion Room 2: Energy Transition

Caroline Tresise • 1 April 2021

The Thematic Discussion rooms are now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated in our consultation, we will be sharing the summaries and the key results shortly. The Networking Lounge and News Room will remain open, please check back for more updates.

 

You are now in the Discussion Room for Energy Transition.

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The context

The energy transition refers to the transformation of the global energy sector from largely dominated by fossil fuels to zero-carbon.

The energy sector alone accounts for 73% of greenhouse gas emissions. A widespread, permanent transition to renewable energy is our only way to curb the climate crisis. The technology is known and feasible, however, there are many other barriers preventing us from achieving a just and inclusive energy transition. 2020 profoundly challenged our relationship with energy.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the cost of tying economies to the fate of fuels prone to price shocks. The very real challenges facing healthcare systems with unreliable energy access were magnified. The difficulties people faced continuing work or schooling were amplified, with many households without remote access. The energy system – along with the rest of economy – has been shaken to the core. How the world emerges from this crisis will determine our shared future and we have a small window of opportunity this year with the High-Level Dialogue on Energy.

Renewable technologies, coupled with energy efficiency, provide an immediate, cost-effective solution in the quest for economic prosperity, social inclusion, and a resilient future. The energy transition requires coordinated, urgent action on a global scale.

Join the discussion to raise your voice and address one of the greatest challenges of our time.

What is the overall goal of this consultation?

To hear real experiences and ideas from youth on how to address the challenges related to the energy transition, where the opportunities lie, how to empower local governments and the role of technology and academia.

The questions

Challenges

  1. The Clean Energy Transition Agenda is a strategic roadmap for achieving clean energy. Within it are major challenges that we need to work together to overcome.
    i. Based on your own experiences, what are the most significant challenges for the energy transition? (what needs our attention the most?)
    ii. What enabling conditions need to be in place to overcome these challenges?

Opportunities for youth

2. How do we assure that energy transition is giving importance to the creation and security of green jobs for youth and opportunities for young entrepreneurs?

3. What other opportunities can clean energy bring for young people?


Empowered local governments

4. In some countries we are seeing local governments take climate action even when central governments do not. What role and support should local governments have in the green energy transition?

Technology and academia

5. What is the role of technology and academia and what are their benefits in the energy transition?


For background information, please read the official materials uploaded by the HLDE Secretariat:


Our lead moderators, who will be preparing recommendations for the Technical Working Groups, are:


Rules of Engagement:

  • This discussion is open to any young person between 16-30 years

  • Please be respectful of each other and the moderators

  • Please respond to the questions and let us know which question you are answering in your comments.

  • You may post anonymously

  • You may post in any language

  • Click follow at the top of the page to receive notifications

Comments (69)

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

As a summary of your inputs throughout the consultation period, we have the following; we agree that to reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions significantly, the transition into becoming reliant on renewable and sustainable energy resources for our increasing energy demand is of utmost importance and urgency. To transition into sustainable energy use is to change the system that endangers not only the environment that we live in but also the present and future generations of humanity.

The following challenges have been brought out as general challenges with regards to the transition to renewable energy. These include unawareness of renewable energy options in some communities, weak political and socio-economic institutions, status quo bias from most countries, high initial investment cost for renewables, conflict of interest from oil-rich countries, lack of inclusion in policy framework implementation, lack of confidence, and trust to novel element and in this case, clean energy,  and poor financing mechanisms from both government and foreign investments to finance development projects that will increase the renewable energy generating capacity of a country.

The following points have been brought up as some recommendations to achieving the energy transition;

  • Implementation of academic research focused on energy access and sustainable development need is crucial to youth involvement in the energy transition. To ensure implementation of research findings and recommendations, youth organizations (IRENA Youth Forum for example) must devise mechanisms to ensure the acquisition of funding from stakeholders: Governments, international energy institutions, the general public, etc.
  • Governments should develop price-based policies as these have proven to be effective in most cases. Given that the energy transition is a long-term process, the first step would be to create incentives for investment in renewable energy and impose taxes or higher energy prices for non-renewable energy.
  • Equally highlighted is the importance of raising awareness in schools and smaller communities so that people and groups know about the alternatives and can actually demand the transition from their governments and businesses. Raising awareness does not impose much of a financial burden and can be volunteer/community-driven.
  • Youths believe many governments may be neglecting the suggestions and recommendations of academia. Academia definitely plays a great role in gathering evidence, bolding the necessity, pushing forward the science and tech aspects of it, but in the implementation stage, all of that might go to waste or get ignored.
  • We advocate that governments should implement policies that help provide direct cash flows towards renewable and sustainable energy research to lower the Levelized Cost of electricity of technologies, making it more affordable for the end-users (responsibility of the government).
  • Also mentioned as a recommendation was that governments institutionalize incentivizing renewable energy development and energy efficiency and conservation measures to encourage the investments and utilization of cleaner, more sustainable energy technologies (and even demand-side practice).
  • Decentralized solutions such as the PAYGO model have been around for over a decade as a means of fast-tracking energy access for off-grid low-income communities. Youths advocate for the restructuring of these models to make their adoption socially and economically inclusive which will accelerate the energy transition.
  • Many participants mentioned the fact that some of the factors driving energy transition in the urban areas are the quest for cleaner atmosphere air due to high levels of air pollution, and that political will is very critical in achieving this energy transition while sharing examples of these from Iran and Cameroon.
  • It is recommended that the rest of the world with more capital (i.e developed countries) can focus on the more innovative parts of the energy transition, but basic energy needs must be met first. 

Equally mentioned was the connection between urban planning and energy transition. The form of urban development will strongly influence the medium and long-term future of the energy transition and visa-versa.  Spatial planning is a long-term endeavor compared to the short-term gains that can be made from switching energy production and consumption patterns, but it is no less important.

Identified is the fact that some people are reluctant to switch to clean energy, thus they need to be persuaded and gain their confidence. Organizations at the grassroots level need to interact with reluctant people and persuade them to show how beneficial the energy transition could be for them and how harmful nonrenewable sources of energy usage are. When people are prepared and confident to transit, it would reflect in their demand, and then only we could institute energy transition on the required massive scale.

Identified as a good example for other developing economies to emulate is the Arab Republic of Egypt as it has become a leading country in the Middle East and North Africa region at the level of policies and procedures for the transition towards a green economy through a clear strategy to promote the use of renewable energy and implement environmentally friendly projects. The intent is for the Egyptian model to become an inspiration for emerging countries and countries of transformation Economists willing to shift towards a green economy, according to the Solar Energy Outlook 2020 report.

Also recommended are the importance of creating "giga-grids" running primarily on renewable energy, and the increased partnership between the private sector and the public sector with regulatory authorities to scrutinize the efficiency of these partnerships.

Finally, the setting up of local industries that will produce the renewable technology components is of great importance as these present a great opportunity for the youth to be actively engaged in the energy transition.

 

We would like to thank you all for your active participation throughout the consultation and for sharing your invaluable opinions. All your voices, thoughts, experiences and recommendations are being taken up to the High Level Dialogue on Energy 2021. Keep pushing foward the energy transition in your various local jurisdictions to move the world towards a clean energy future!

Arnaud Debauge Moderator

Many thanks Jaff for this excellent synthesis! I would also like to thank all participants from all around the world for their meaningful and inspiring contributions in the past 3 weeks, as well as the lead moderators from this group. So interesting to read and learn from each other's perspectives! As mentioned by our IPCC scientists, the next decade will be crucial in terms of climate policy so I really hope our collective actions and dedication will bring impact to the current status quo. By participating in this consultation, you are already helping paving the way ahead for a zero-carbon future. A big thanks for this! 

Arnaud Debauge Moderator

Also as just discussed with Ms. Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo, we wanted to add one of the recommendations from one of the contributors which was the importance for cities and local governments to make their own (early) zero-carbon objectives and associated strategy. This is instrumental to advance the agenda on carbon change, and facilitate larger scale decisions at national levels. The corollary is that it implies strengthening capacity-building for local policymakers to be able to make these zero-carbon commitments, identify realistic strategies and implement them successfully. 

Alexander Kormishin

Hi, trust you all doing well. Pleased to join the discussion at the appropriate time.

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

You're Welcome Alexander. Looking forward to fruitful discussions on energy transition from us all. 

Caroline Tresise Moderator

Discussion Room 2 on Energy Transition is now open!

Vladislav Kaim Moderator

Good afternoon/evening/morning dear colleagues! On behalf of the moderators of the Discussion Room 2 dedicated to the Energy Transition Track of HLDE we are glad to officially welcome you here! We are looking forward to you sharing your perspectives and bouncing off ideas on the issues at hand in our track. For you to orient yourselves simpler in the guiding questions, think about them the following way - first we address the "why" questions (why energy transition is of special importance for us, youth), then we move on to the "how" ones (how do we actually achieve youth-friendly energy transitions) and then to the "who"/"what" ones (who are the best-placed stakeholders, what solutions are scalable and where they could come from).

I am Vlad, and as one of the members of the TWG #2 at HLDE and one of the moderators in this discussion room, I am looking forward to facilitate this discussion so that its outcomes will help you feel represented at the 'big table'! As for my work on energy and climate, you can find out more here and here.

Very warm welcome again... and let the wonderful ideas flow!

Anahita Hosseini

Hello everyone,

 

My name is Anahita. I am super happy to be here. So to give you a background on why I am interested in this area and why I am going to talk about the challenges: I am from Iran and I am currently living in Iran. As you may already know Iran is rich in resources such as oil and gas and therefore the price of energy is pretty low in the country, hence very inefficient use of energy and highly energy-intensive manufacturing and productions. This has affected out lives in different way: the air pollution is pretty evident in my city, Tehran. So I always wondered when and how is this going to be fixed? So I am going to talk about some of the challenges and suggest some ideas as of how this issue can be tackled. (also about role of Academia)

I believe there are general challenges with regards to transition to renewable energy such as political, social and economic institutions, high fixed cost for starting renewable energy plants, status-quo bias on using non-renewable energy, especially in countries that are oil/gas-rich, etc.

The political and socio-economic factors include: 1. Not enough awareness in the society about different types of renewable energy and the fact that common belief is this is a large-scale thing. Many people might not be aware that they can use solar panels in their own homes. 2. Non-renewable energy producers have a lot at stake. Therefore there is a conflict of interest here that needs to be resolved. Usually these firms have high powers in societies and therefore might create barriers for transition. 

Another challenge for transitioning into renewables is the high fixed cost. It requires great investment for a country or city to make the transition, to build the plants or even do the evaluation in the first place. Therefore financial reasons are inevitable.

And last but not least the status-quo bias. You may be familiar with this term but I will explain for those who are not. Status-quo bias refers to the unwillingness to change or to experience change. This term which is used quite often in Behavioral Economics, is believed to have emerged due to loss aversion which is another behavioral economics concept. When you've doing something is one way for years, it is highly likely that you are reluctant to change your method as there's always a chance for loss and failure, and that chance, even if small, in many of our minds have a higher weight. Therefore, people rarely change their way of living or their approach to taking care of the task. The case on energy transition is no different. When countries and governments and firms and frankly also people have been using non-renewables for decades, the bias creates a friction and the change does not happen easily. 

So these were some of the challenges I could think of. Now a couple of ideas:

Having studied Economics, I think price-based policies have proven to be effective in most cases and since the energy transition is a long-term process, the first step would be to create incentives for investment in renewable energy and impose taxes or higher energy prices for non-renewable energy. This way, not just governments and firms but also people will have more incentive to to use renewable energy. The first investments may need to be made by the government or huge firms, but along the way there will be ways to engage people as well, for instance through micro investments in renewable energy plants.

Another important solution is to raise awareness in schools and smaller communities so that people and groups know about the alternatives and can actually demand the transition from their governments and businesses. Raising awareness does not impose much of financial burden and can be volunteer/community driven.

With regards to the role of Academia, personally I've seen academic papers in journals such as Energy Economics pointing out and illustrating the effect of wrong policies with regards to energy prices, etc. but I think many governments might neglect the suggestions and recommendations of academia. Academia definitely play a great role in gathering evidence, bolding the necessity, pushing forward the science and tech aspects of it, but in the implementation stage all of that might go to waste or get ignored. So that's also a challenge.

 

Looking forward to hearing from everyone else.

Best,

Anahita

Josh Edem Kojo Dotse

Awesome! I couldn't agree more.

Politics will definitely play an influential role in the quest to transition towards clean and sustainable energy. We have the solutions as technocrats and academia, however, are governments ready to collaborate and sail in the same boat? No, and can we effectively change that narrative before 2030?

Vladislav Kaim Moderator

Thank you so much for such a profound review Anahita! I believe that in Iranian context there are even more layers of complexity to this situation due to the sanctions, which means that many technology transfer solutions and foreign investments into clean energy sector are off the cards.

I understand your point on lack of awareness - my colleague who is also member of the UN Secretary General's YAG on Climate Change, Sophia Kianni, an Iranian American herself, started her project, Climate Cardinals, based on the same realization after one of her trips back to Iran.

What frameworks are out there in Iran when it comes to encouraging production AND distribution of the renewable energy (especially off-grid and mini-grid), if any?

Path dependence of the economy in Iran when it comes to the oil and gas sector is indeed clear - I wonder how, in your opinion, recent investment agreement with China can relieve or entrench it.

It is completely understandable that as far as economic science goes carbon pricing, particularly through carbon taxes, is considered a gold-standard, but how do we deal with its redistributive impact? After all, we have seen what happened when those measures are not implemented right (like in France), and in Iran itself not so long ago fuel price hikes caused protests (even though elimination of fossil fuel subsidies is an environmentally progressive measure). I am sure that contexts like Iranian one will give us a lot of food for thought when it comes to the just transition part of the conversation, so we are looking forward to hearing from you more on it if you'd like to elaborate!

Bigambia

Great! I have also experienced this situation during my first year living in the city of Douala in 2017. I was having breathing difficulties which were sign showing the high level of pollution of the city, which is the most polluted of the whole country.

From this experience, i can say transition energy is very important and will be necessary for us and the youth of the futur. This energy is of special to us becuase it would not cause any harm to our to both our organisms and to the environment but instead will act as a regulator of climate change. Secondly, this will permit us and the youth for a good adaptation in the management of transition energy and thirdly constant innovation and monitoring on order to maintain the long lasting of transition energy.

Anahita Hosseini

Vladislav Kaim 

First of all sorry for the late reply. 

Second, exactly! the Iranian context is quite complex both for external and internal reasons. I know people who used to word in the renewable energy sector a couple of years ago, but they don't anymore because after the sanctions, the FDI was no longer there to finance the projects, also the companies who were implementing the projects left the country. I'm not quite aware of the energy sector in Iran and whether there has been any progress after the sanctions in the renewable energy sector, but even if there has been any progress, I'm pretty sure it has been quite slow.

I had an opportunity to virtually meet Sophia in an online event and I've been following her activities on LinkedIn! She's doing a pretty good job! The lack of awareness is a serious issue in most developing countries, and sometimes this is intentional. The education system does not provide students with up-to-date information about current trends and global issues, and most certainly not about the energy transition. One of my friends did her undergraduate studies in energy engineering and she said the course did not provide her with the slightest piece of useful information about renewable energy.

Regarding the frameworks, I have no information. I know there are a number of clauses in some of the upstream documents such as the national development plan (not quite sure) or others. But most of them revolve around the government's obligations and activities, not so much around incentives for the private sector.

Regarding the Iran-China deal, many Iranians all around the world criticised the deal for many reasons. But fact is, no official document with details and numbers has been published on this deal, except for one that was tweeted by someone in MFA, who was trying to clarify this. The document he shared was merely a general roadmap without any specifications, numbers or amount of statement. So the picture I have in my mind from this deal is pretty vague and I don't know what changes it is going to bring. Truth is, after the sanctions, the Iranian economy learned to become less dependent on oil and imports. The sanctions were both on the oil sector AND the banking sector. Therefore, it was difficult for companies to import goods because they simply had no means of payment. Overall I'd say the Iran-China deal is likely to bring back the dependency on oil, not the opposite. Something to keep in mind is that the oil sector is mainly public in Iran, and therefore it is intertwined with government's fiscal policy and budget. The private sector on the other hand, has less to do with the oil sector and therefore if because of the deal, Iran can export more oil, the initial effect will probably be on the public sector and later on on the private sector. (I got off-topic :D)

Regarding the environmentally progressive actions, personally I'm a big fan of carbon credits. As far as I know, we don't have that in Iran. I think one of the reasons why we don't have it is that there's not much of transparency and data on carbon emissions by firm/entity and therefore it is difficult to track. Also, even if the emissions were clear and transparent, it would not benefit the government, so the conflict of interest there would prevent the government from implementing the carbon credit mechanism. There are a few environmental measures in place. For instance in Tehran (The capital city), there's a traffic zone called "Air pollution zone". Each vehicle has an air pollution zone credit in number of days per month/season they can enter and exit the zone. If they go beyond the credit, they must either buy allowance, or pay a fine and that zone is in the city centre so it's pretty crowded all the time. I don't know if this strategy has in fact lowered the number of vehicles used or it was just a way for the government to have some revenue. We also have some standards for vehicles. All private vehicles must get tested every once in a while to make sure they are in the standard range of (I think) the volume of smoke released. 

With regards to fuel subsidy cuts, I have to say, I was quite shocked! The fuel subsidies had been in place for as long as one can remember and most economists and people who care about the environment were for fuel subsidy cuts. But once this actually happened, everyone was outraged. I mean, if we want to think about WHY the government finally did that, I highly doubt it was because of the environment. The government was facing a lot of fiscal deficit after the sanctions because oil revenue dropped and probably couldn't afford the subsidies anymore. On the other hand, the way this was implemented wasn't gradual. They could have increased the fuel price step by step over the course of a year or two. Instead, the price doubled/tripled over night and this came as a shock to everyone. So the protests probably had to do with the implementation as well. But overall something to keep in mind is the cultural side of it. In my experience, simply from speaking to different people, the Iranian society is not a fan of market-oriented mechanisms. This is to some extent paradoxical. But I think it's a great case study for those studying sociology, history and economics. 

 

Looking forward to more discussions!

 

Best,

Anahita

Anahita Hosseini

Bigambia Hi Bigambia, sorry for the late reply.

 

Yes I went through the same issue last year. In winter 2020, before covid, and the year before that, the air pollution was so bad in Tehran, I went straight to the hospital after a day at the university. We were wearing masks in the pre-covid era because of air pollution. Breathing clean air is a basic human right I think. 

I think youth of now are more aware than the previous generation of youth. They are willing to take action and they are risk takers. If given proper opportunities maybe we can have clean air in a decade or so. (fingers crossed)

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

Anahita Hosseini interesting learning the challenges of the energy transition in Iran and mitigation strategies put in place especially the 'Air pollution zone'. I think most (if not all) oil-rich economies are generally reluctant to transitioning their energy systems and only oil price shocks are getting them on the transition train. 

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

Bigambia thank you for this example. Douala is definitely a highly economically viable city but with very high pollution rates as well both for the air, land and water . Most high electricity consumers (industries particularly) are not too reliant on the utility as it is not totally reliable, reason why most of them use dirty sources of energy for back-up electricity for their activities. Do you know of any actions being taken by the city councils in Douala to combat the pollution rates with regards to energy use patterns?

Bigambia

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo from my observations actions taken are very insignificant. We have a company managing waste in the country that started transforming waste into clean energy in partnership with councils. For now this action is very insufficient, because the increase in the number of enterprises in the city causes an increase in dirty energy consumption. 

Anahita Hosseini

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo 

I think in the case of Iran the oil price shocks haven't proven effective either. I mean last year the oil prices dropped, but because Iran was already experiencing a revenue drop because of sanctions, the oil price drop didn't do much.

But even years back, I think if was decades ago, when the oil prices dropped, but still Iran didn't do much for the energy transition. I think the institutional factors play a huge role in this status quo. The drive is simply not there.

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

Hi everyone, welcome to discussion room 2 on energy transition. I am one of your Lead Moderators along side Vladislav Kaim and Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao . I'm very happy to see some of you have started sharing pertinent insights on this topic, ( Anahita Hosseini's contribution is a good example). Please keep the conversation going! We are listening and taking down notes!

At the end of the consultation, we will consolidate your inputs and present them to the Technical Working Group who are making recommendations on Energy Transition to our governments. So this is really our chance to address the key questions in the description and be heard by decision makers.

When posting your comment, please kindly indicate which question you are tackling. It will be useful in consolidating your inputs.  

Thank you very much and I am looking forward to hear more from everyone! 

Anahita Hosseini

very kind of you to use me as a good example :D I hope we all can have fruitful discussions.

Godfrey Katiambo

PayGo models have been around for over a decade as a mean of fast tracking energy access for offgrid low income communities. My thoughts is that we need to rethink and/or restructure this model for it to make social and economic sense not just for the companies but for the end-user

Anahita Hosseini

That's interesting Godfrey. Could you please elaborate more on the models you mentioned, because personally I know nothing about them.

Vladislav Kaim Moderator

Welcome to the platform and our discussion room Godfrey! Companies absolutely should put customers first, regardless of how affluent they are. For implementing pay-as-you-go models in the off-grid, low-income communities we usually need payment and financing solutions that are off the conventional radar, as those people are unbanked and many may lack any identity at all. It would be great if you could share some stories/best practices on that - I have heard, for example, many great stories, about how increased MPesa penetration in East Africa helped with that. Looking forward to hearing more from you!

IYUMAME ALVAN NWUCHE

Good to be here.

Am IYUMAME ALVAN NWUCHE from NIGERIA .

Bigambia

In other to achieve youth friendly energy transition, it's through the follow up of youth research work done in school. i am saying so because most of innovation come from youth still at school. Organisations and government can better oriented training is school for the facilitation in the achievement of youth friendly energy transition.

 

Vladislav Kaim Moderator

That's a great point Bigambia! It shows how much of our success in energy transition depends on the equality of our education system. Do you know of any best practices in this field in Africa you would like to bring up?

Anahita Hosseini

I totally agree! 

I think, despite youth having proven that they have what it takes, youth are still not being given enough space and opportunity to bring their ideas into reality.

Bigambia

Also suitable stakeholders:  NGO's, enterprises and lobbying are best -placed for the follow up or engagement in such projects

Jackson G. White

Couldn’t agree with Bigambia more. Implementation of academic research focused on energy access and sustainable development need is crucial to youth involvement in the energy transition. However, results from simulation softwares is only a subset of reality. To ensure implementation of research findings and recommendations, youth organizations (IRENA Youth Forum for example) must devise mechanisms to ensure acquisition of funding from stakeholders: Governments, international energy institutions, the general public, etc. For instance, we should focus on the bankability of energy projects by remodeling the results from research to considerably match reality. Youths will have to actively engage with government agencies to discuss and enact policies that will help de-risk financial investments in the green energy sector.

Bigambia

How can youth engage or involve or have an interest to energy transition while they haven not been shown at base the advantages of such and energy or even start discussion with agencies?

Williams Afolabi

How can private companies participate in energy transition such that it does not affect our books negatively? 

Vladislav Kaim Moderator

That's a great question to put, thank you! Especially since young energy entrepreneurs have nowhere near the financing opportunities that the energy majors do.

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

Thank you everyone for your contributions thus far. We can see that some challenges to the energy transition include;

- unawareness of renewable energy options in some communities,

- weak political and socio-economic institutions, 

- status quo bias from most countries,

- high initial investment cost for renewables,

- conflict of interest from oil-rich countries,

Some solutions to the challenges identified include;

- creating price-based policies such as creating incentives for renewable energy investments,

- restructuring existing off-grid distribution models to have a more inclusive socio-economic impact for it's stakeholders. 

Most participants identify the crucial role of academic research in creating opportunities for youth engagement in the energy transition and the importance of follow-up of academic research. Youth engagement with government agencies to enact policies that help de-risk renewable energy investments have been identified as favorable to the energy transition.

We'll love to get your thoughts as well on the role of local governments in the green transition, sharing best-practices of these from your own experiences.

Equally, keep sharing more thoughts on opportunities for youths in the the energy transition.

 

 

 

Anahita Hosseini

Exactly! Very well categorized, Thank you.

Chinye-Ikejiunor Ifechukwude

Hello Everyone,

My name is Ifecukwude Chinye-Ikejiunor, I am currently taking a Master's Program in Energy and Environmental Management in Developing Countries at the Universitat Universitat Flensburg. I am also really happy to be here.

The role of the local governments in this value chain can never be over-emphasized as they are needed also to implement a sustainable green transition. 

I would give an analogy, a story to buttress my point;

An International body decided to build infrastructure in a certain village for the people since they observed that the women had to travel long distances to fetch water. This was a welcomed development and for the first few months after the implementation of the project, it was noticed that the women continued to go the long distance to get water. When officials came back to check the bore-hole water supply system and see if it still functioned properly but to their greatest surprise everything was in order. At this point, they had to call the women and ask why they hardly used the newly developed Infrastructure and the response they got was that "the distance from our houses to the stream is quite a distance and we are really busy women but the time we take to the stream is the only time we get to catch up with our friends".

The need for inclusion is very important. The local government knows where the shoe is pinching. They should be carried along in every step of this transition. From organizing trainings to allocating youths that could help at this grassroots level, their opinion is very valid.

Also, their participation in the transition usually reduces the chances of sabotage in the implemented projects  and transition steps over the course of time.

Vielen Dank!

Arnaud Debauge Moderator

Thank you Chinye-Ikejiunor for this very insightful example! Indeed, even the best strategy engineered by the most talented persons is nothing without inclusion, local participation and capacity building. This is true for water systems as well as for any local energy-related projects (solar, biomass, etc.). Like Chinye-Ikejiunor, please do not hesitate to share any other stories on local inclusion problems or success - this will be key in making our contributions to this consultation stronger. Many thanks! 

Bigambia

Opportunities clean energy can bring to people are : reduction of global warming, generate income and employment, contribute toa good healthness of people, bring in of new technology etc

Benjamin Basmaci

Hi Bigambia, 

Many thanks for writing and sharing insightful information, you are absolutely right, there are several opportunities with implementing clean energy, many of which you have already written. I am currently working on a project where we are mapping how clean energy can accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Sphere Standards (standards which aims to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance)... and spoiler alert - the opportunities are endless!

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

Benjamin Basmaci this sounds very interesting. Please do expatiate more on this project and it will also be useful in discussion room 3 which tackles the linkages of SDG7 to other SDGs. 

@everyone, many participants mention the fact that some of the factors driving energy transition in the urban areas is the quest for cleaner atmosphere air due to high levels of air pollution, and that political will is very critical in achieving this energy transition, while sharing examples of these. Do you agree as well? And could you share other experiences from other parts of the world pushing the energy transition? What are the main drivers for the transition in the rural world where there is little/no air pollution? 

Vince Davidson Pacañot

Hi, everyone! I'm Vince from the Philippines. Allow me to share my sentiments and views about the energy transition agenda that we should all workout to achieve the SDGs.

To reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions significantly, the transition into becoming reliant to renewable and sustainable energy resources for our increasing energy demand is of utmost importance and urgency. 

Countries across the globe have been steadily increasing their fossil fuel investments to address the increasing energy demands of their growing populations and economies. This increase (and support) is deeply unwarranted and should not be the instance given the commitments of the countries to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to maintain warming below the 1.5 deg C threshold and in contrary to the findings of the 2018 IPCC report regarding the need to reduce global emissions by 45% come 2030. Thus, achieving the SDG 7 targets, especially those focused on energy transition, is necessary to achieve these commitments.

However, such transition is no easy task. As they say, it is difficult to keep away from things that we got used to no matter how dangerous it is (e.g. smoking, drinking alcohol, etc.). But, energy transition is not as easy as a lifestyle change, nor does it only affect the lives of a few individuals. To transition into sustainable energy use is to change the system that endangers not only the environment that we live in but also the present and future generations of humanity.

For the purpose of my commentary/recommendations, I would limit my discussion to contextualizing energy transition with respect to providing people access to cleaner, more sustainable energy to power their homes (power generation sector).

There are quite a few hurdles that makes clean and sustainable energy difficult to start and achieve. Some of these gaps/barriers are:

a) Government policies favoring or inexplicitly promoting continuous reliance to fossil fuels (especially to coal) as primary energy source;

b) Lack of infrastructures to facilitate the sustainable energy development for the generation of cleaner electricity most likely from renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, and hydropower;

c) Lack of both government and foreign investments and development projects to increase the renewable energy generating capacity of a country; and

d) Less informed people on both short-term and long-term benefits of cleaner and more sustainable energy such as renewables to their communities and their environment.

It is necessary to recognize these issues/gaps in discussing how to speed up the momentum of energy transition globally and locally. It must be acknowledged that one of the main reasons as to why there is a slow pace or progress in achieving energy transition targets under SDG 7 is the lack of appreciation and foresight towards this crucial sustainable agenda for everyone by our respective governments.This must not continue. This must change. Therefore, I humbly recommend quite a few measures on how we can advance the energy transition initiatives and address the gaps it faces. Here are those measures:

a) Impose indefinite and iron-clad moratorium for existing and greenfield fossil fuel projects and future investments starting with coal investments to facilitate in the entry of more renewable energy projects in every country.

b) Increase the renewable energy generating capacities of countries by prioritizing the deployment of renewable energy technologies to far-flung communities, an intersection of energy transition and energy access; 

c) Institutionalize incentivizing renewable energy development and energy efficiency and conservation measures to encourage the investments and utilization of cleaner, more sustainable energy technologies (and even demand-side practice); and  

d) Direct cash flows towards renewable and sustainable energy research to lower the levelized cost of electricity of technologies, making it more affordable for the end-users (a responsibility of the government).

Every second counts as an opportunity to remove fossil fuels in our society, in our systems, especially in the context of providing electricity access. The solution is obvious, is already existing, and is possible. Let us all embrace renewable energy as we transition into a more sustainable future. May our governments realize that today's policies will not only affect the present but also the future generations. The time to end fossil fuels is NOW and the time to embrace renewable, more sustainable energy starts TODAY. 

IYUMAME ALVAN NWUCHE

For every country to achieve clean energy and pollution free environment, most especially countries who are linked to illegal oil and gas refining. The government and the IOCs must take responsibility by engaging the host communities who have this petroleum deposits in their lands . However, not engaging this host communities will be more disastrous,the government and the IOCs are greedy ,for example the NIGER DELTA area of NIGERIA are facing lots of challenges due to the neglect of the government and the international oil companies (IOCs).No access to clean energy, but polluted environment and the water ways are the order of the day. 

Karishma Asarpota

Hi everyone,

I would like to share some thoughts on the links between the energy transition and spatial planning. 

Cities consume about two thirds of the world’s energy and contribute to more than 60-70 % of greenhouse gas emissions. This makes the spatial and urban form of cities a key factor in achieving more efficient energy production and consumption. Thus, city planning of the urban dimension is a potentially powerful lever for the energy transition, especially given rapid urbanisation. The urban dimension—that is the pattern of spatial development and urban form and the planning that shapes it—is inseparable from the energy system. Cities and energy systems have evolved on mutually dependent paths, not least in the dominance of car traffic. Thus, the form of urban development will strongly influence the medium and long-term future of the energy transition and visa-versa. 

Energy strategies concentrate on energy production and renewables, and to some extent transport, and waste. They are much less well connected to the energy performance of cities that arises from their spatial layout and urban form, and the planning system that seeks to shape them. This weakens the city’s response to climate change. Spatial planning is a long-term endeavour compared to the short-term gains that can be made from switching energy production and consumption patterns, but it is no less important. The cities’ development plans will be paying attention to the relation between urban development and climate change, but we would expect the corporate energy strategy to address the urban dimension too. 

How does the organisation of space and urban form in cities contribute to the efficiency of energy systems and how can it assist with the energy transition? What are the measures in the planning and design of the urban dimension that are critical in the energy transition? 

My master thesis focused on this topic so I am very curious about other people's opinion on this topic. 

Best,

Karishma

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

Very well put out Karishma Asarpota . It is obvious that there is a strong correlation between urban development and energy transition and both have a significant effect on climate change. This further supports the inputs from Anahita Hosseini and Bigambia far up in these discussion room. Government ministries concerned with urban planning need to work in close collaboration with those concerned with energy development to be able to define more adaptable long-term goals for the energy transition, and design more sustainable clean energy projects for medium and long-term adaptations. It will be interesting to get the findings from your master's thesis research to understand further on this topic. 

Pratham Maheshwari

One of the requisite aspects for a large scale transition requires confidence and trust to novel element and in this case, clean energy. People, who are reluctant to switch to clean energy, should be persuaded and gain their confidence. Organisations at grassroot level need to interact with reluctant people and persuade them that how beneficial the energy transition could be for them and how harmful non renewable sources of energy usage are. When people are prepared and confident to transit, it would reflect in their demand and then only we could institute energy transition on the required massive scale.

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

You raise a very important point. Confidence and trust in adopting new technologies especially for clean cooking is a very big problem faced mostly in the developing world. This explains the very high numbers of people that still lack access to clean cooking. With the rapid deployment of clean cooking technologies, adoption constraints  become more of a problem of traditional beliefs (leading to reluctance in adoption) rather than a problem of unawareness. 

Maisarah Kadir

Hi everyone, Maisarah here from Malaysia. I'll chip in a few personal words since this relates directly to my own work within IRENA. If we try to focus on the simplest aspects of energy transition, I believe most countries are already aware of the benefits of renewable energy vs FFs and eager to invest in these technologies.

The challenge remains in the implementation or policy framework that allows ordinary citizens to also participate in this. Speaking specifically on power/electricity - this would allow a community/municipality based ownership instead of large national projects might allow for faster deployment in some countries - as there is interest to 1) have reliable energy access 2) affordable electricity 3) participate directly in the energy transition.

The rest of the world with more capital (i.e developed countries) can focus on the more innovative parts of energy transition, but basic energy needs must be met first. 

 

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

Thank you for your contribution Maisarah Kadir .  Like you say, most developing economies face the problem of policy implementation after defining bold transition commitments. One of the reasons is due to the unbundled nature of the electricity structure of some developing countries, thus their governments are more focused on grid extension (even if it's tier 1 energy access) which equally doesn't allow for greater participation of the populace. I think one problem is the political will for the implementation of the clean energy targets in these economies. In Cameroon for example, energy doesn't appear in the first ten priority sectors for annual public investment budgeting, and this is the case in many developing countries.  This is the reason we are here, to contribute in defining the roadmap for governments to further commit to accelerate the energy transition. 

GRACE JAMES

Am not too much far from dear there from Iraq 

  Am from the United republic of Tanzania where we have plenty of resources but no awareness of using them . We are still paying a high price to obtain energy .  

I wish to be the change I want to see but don't know how to reach to the officials 🥺

Jaff Epse Bime Marilyn Bongmo Moderator

@everyone, thank you for your valuable contributions this far. We'll further like to hear from you; What do you consider to be the #1 action your government should take to accelerate the green transition?

Williams Afolabi

More media awareness campaign  of the need to save our planet and conserve energy to have a healthier future.

I think the Nigerian government also needs to conduct energy audit of the total consumption of each local government area. I say local government area because at Juststandout limited where I work, we believe in decentralized transmission. Knowing what we consume at a much smaller scale will help us know how to conserve and make critical decisions concerning transition.

Ease of access to financial funding for both the academic sectors and private sectors working on green energy research and projects.

Pratham Maheshwari

The primary step that I believe government should take is accelerate implementation of various solutions with regards to the transition of green energy.

Okeil Esmail

Thanks to the policies adopted in the field of renewable energy, the Arab Republic of Egypt has become a leading country in the Middle East and North Africa region, at the level of policies and procedures for the transition towards a green economy through a clear strategy to promote the use of renewable energy and implement environmentally friendly projects, so that the Egyptian model becomes an inspiration for emerging countries and countries of transformation Economists willing to shift towards a green economy, according to the Solar Energy Outlook 2020 report.

Abdel Rahman Abou Zeid

As a young person, I would want to see more partnership between the private sector and the public sector. This partnership can facilitate renewable energy project funding, as well as share technology and know-how among one another. Additionally, the partnership could potentially create more jobs for the youth that are willing to work and take on the challenge of combating climate change.

Furthermore, I would like to stress the importance of creating "giga-grids" running primarily on renewable energy. I wrote an article which I named One Grid One Africa which focuses on that! Please find below the link on academia.edu:

https://www.academia.edu/43298243/One_Grid_One_Africa

Many thanks to all of the Moderators for this opportunity to express our (the youths') thoughts on the subject matter.

AbdelRahman Abou Zeid

 

Pratham Maheshwari

Acknowledging the suggestions made by respective members pertaining to public-private partnership, I believe a regulatory authority is needed to scrutinize the efficiency of such partnerships. If not vertical, even horizontal framework of checks and balances could be used because such partnerships often delve into less productivity due various issues. I believe those issues have to be addressed by third party.

Dr Sibusiso Nxumalo

Response to question 1: Challenges

  • Cost of transition from fossil-fuelled based to renewable energy

The significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions requires the transition from fossil-fuel based energy production systems to renewable and sustainable energy systems that highly take into the costs associated with transitioning.

  • Sharing the case in South Africa.

Coal and biomass are cheap and affordable, yet lead to persistent negative climate change effects. Renewables i.e. solar panels/ photovoltaic cells and storage batteries are extremely expensive and unaffordable yet are anticipated to lead to better future climatic conditions.    

In South Africa, we are still experiencing energy poverty divide, with a large population and poor communities still not connected to the energy grid, nor have access to renewable energy. This rural-urban divisions continue to worsen under climate change.   

For the poor living in remote rural communities, solar energy provides a great opportunity for people to have access to lighting and electricity. But the costs of renewable technologies needs to be heavily incentivised with urgency.

In addition, the setting up of local industries that will produce the renewable technology components presents a great opportunity for the youth to be actively engaged in the energy transition. Installation and maintenance alone will not be enough.

For example, it became evident under the Clean Development Mechanism and Fast Start Financing initiatives implemented in 2012/2013 that the rolling out of the solar heaters in low-cost housing in urban communities yielded little opportunities for young people to partake in the green transition. A robust integration of young people in the energy transition needed.    

The socioeconomic costs of the energy transition can be further associated with the severe job losses that will be incurred. The costs associated with training an experienced coal miner to work in the manufacturing plant of photovoltaic and renewable energy components will be costly for the economy. According to the business sector, the integration of young artisans in the manufacturing industry will make the wage bill affordable.     

IYUMAME ALVAN NWUCHE

The academia ,the industry and technology must contribute reasonably in the transition of energy. More research works must be done to ascertain the transition of energy. 

   More grants should be given to those in the academia and in the industry for more research to be carried out I'm order to achieve a better ways of transformation and so as to avoid gas emissions and other greenhouse effects. There should Technologies that will help out in achieving zero gas emissions and having a total green environment.

Lại Thị Luyến

Ở Việt Nam cơ cấu kĩ thuật dành cho việc khai thác năng lượng sạch đang còn hạn chế. có nhiều công trình nghiên cứu cần được thực hiện để chuyển đổi năng lượng. Rõ ràng việc sử dụng điện than hiện nay gây ô nhiễm môi trường rất lớn trong khi các nguồn năng lượng như gió mặt trời chưa được khai thác một cách tối đa. Hạn chế đến  thấp nhất việc xây dựng thêm các nhà máy điện than là điều thực sự cần thiết. Cần có các công nghệ tiên tiến để giúp việc xử khí thải từ các nhà máy để bảo vệ môi trường.

Trương Phương Thùy

Nhưng rõ ràng là không phải nước nào cũng có thể tiếp cận và áp dụng công nghệ tiên tiến được. Chúng ta còn cả một chặng đường dài để hiện thực hóa việc sử dụng đại trà năng lượng sạch.

GRACE JAMES

Hellow friends ..my name is Grace James a Tanzanian girl of 22 years a old, a third year student taking my bachelor degree of accounting in the university of Dodoma here in Tanzania .

    I know this is inappropriate to say here but I really ask you to help me in this .Am expecting to graduate in july 2021 and I tried to apply for different scholarship I got one but now their telling me that they can't give me full funded scholarship. Am asking you if anyone has heard that scholarship thing anywhere or you can help me get different opportunity like essay writing competition am good in writing essay and I have participated I many easy writing competition here in our country Tanzania and won almost all competition and managed to finance my bachelor degree that I'm completing in July this year. I was given a full funded loan from the higher education loans board from Tanzania. 

Am kindly asking you to help me with either the two the scholarship  for masters or  any competition to write essays that take contestants from all over the world including Tanzania .I hope to get so much help from you 🥺 because I have a sister and brothers to help in future . If you get any of the two plz kindly check me through gracejames685@gmail.com

 +255 719918002 my WhatsApp number

Julia Hu

Hello everyone, I’m Hu Shiyu, a junior student from China. 

Based on my own experiences, I think the most significant challenges for the energy transition is dissemination of all kinds of information about this area. Here are some reasons to exemplify this idea.

As a junior student majoring in Portuguese, I have been following the news of SDG goals and related topics closely. But I found that it seems a little difficult for me when I decided to put down something on comments, because in my bank of information about this area, only exist shallow understanding about energy transition, there are little critical thinking of this topic, not mention to those people who have little interest about this area. Therefore, if people can’t understand well about energy transition, many ideas and policies will not be realized in the efficient way.

I hope we could have more time to respond those questions.

Caroline Tresise Moderator

This consultation will close shortly. Your moderators will post their summaries in the next few days.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participants for your excellent and thoughtful inputs and to encourage you to remain engaged in this group. We will leave the Networking Lounge and the News Room open so please keep posting and stay tuned for "the next steps" and new opportunities from UNDP.

We look forward to continue working with you!

Caroline Baxter Tresise
Facilitator, Community of Practice on Energy, UNDP

Ashlin Naidoo
  1. The challenges of the energy transition can have two elements. One is the technical element of actually getting significant capacity online that will be reliable and of quantity and quality. The other is the social element. This is the most difficult one to overcome. In South Africa politicians see coal as a way to lift the economy as there is job creation throughout the coal supply chain which is continuous. In RE plants there is less human capital needed.

The need for a pilot project, to show how people can be upskilled/ reskilled for the green economy cannot be overstated. South Africa is at more than 50% youth unemployment and the thought making that worse is to overwhelming so a strong and proven framework/roadmap is needed to demonstrate how clean energy is in in fact a BETTER future.

2,3.  I think we have many skilled and qualified young people within the country. Therefore, there a need for job creation. There needs to be development of in-country energy experts as most of the RE developments are given to Multinationals. The creation of more opportunities for youth lies in not only investing in young people’s ideas but also embedding their ideas in policy. Technologies developed by young people in the country need to be pushed to the forefront of what is happening the country. Thus, allowing innovation.

 

Youth unemployment being more than 50% in South African is having a devastating impact. I myself as a young person do not see, exactly, how this will be done with longevity as well. How does one create employment for 50% of the country ??

 

4.In South Africa it is evident that the Cities drive change and National government develop policy to help manage these changes.

 

The City of Cape Town, for which I work, is developing its Climate change policy like all the other major Cities in the Country. Cape Town will be the first to develop its own RE plants to supply the City. This is major news as the electricity supply industry in SA is monopolised by the parastatal Eskom.

 

The Solar Water Heater initiative of installing SWHs in low income houses was first started by Cities then taken on be National government as way of demand management.

 

I believe through energy efficiency and RE capacity increases local governments can drive the transition. National government needs to set polies that assist local governments in doing so this also means guarding against too much red tape but also against corruption.

I also believe all local government operations should strive to be net zero carbon as soon possible. SSEGs and the proper tariffs and policies will allow the transition to be more effective. In SA developing the appropriate mechanism to register and meter SSEGs is an ongoing project. Providing support to local government in the space of Electric vehicles and its infrastructure will allow rapid electrification of the transport sector.

 

5. Academia is vital to the transition. Governments will need to leverage academia as its own research partner. There is no capacity within governments to do deep dives in any research topic. Technology innovation is important in the sense of developing technology that is not necessarily more advanced but will be more accessible to the majority of the country. Academia can perform the pilot studies of any possible government policy intervention’s thus grounding all policy in science.

The energy transition needs to see more study’s on different energy efficient technologies that consumers that can buy “tomorrow” and have immediate demand impacts on the grid. Academia should also take on an advocacy role by making people aware of the transition and more importantly peoples energy culture. A practical study performed by academia showing how the energy transition will allow for more employment will have permanent repercussion on policy and decision-maker’s actions.

Trương Phương Thùy

Xin chào mọi người, tôi là Thùy, hiện đang sinh sống tại Việt Nam. Tôi cảm thấy rất tuyệt vời khi thấy các cuộc thảo luận của các bạn. Nhưng tôi có một băn khoăn rằng các nước đang phát triển có thể tiếp cận được các công nghệ tiên tiến trong việc tạo ra năng lượng sạch không, và bằng cách nào? Dường như các nước đang phát triển đang bị thụt lùi phía sau trong cuộc đua về năng lượng sạch.

Vladislav Kaim Moderator

Dear colleagues and participants in the Breakout Room, it has been a great pleasure to have you here and learn from your perspectives in terms of what you see for the main directions, challenges and benefits of energy transitions. Having a great, solidified youth perspective on it would allow us to represent your voices better in the HLDE, as well as those who prepare the Final Reports to have an integrated youth viewpoint. It wouldn't be possible without your implication, so thank you!

In order not to repeat what has already been so aptly summarized by Jaff, I will be more concise and try to capture more conceptual conclusions that we can carry out of the discussions had in this room. First and foremost, while we all recognize the tremendous benefits that energy transitions bring, not many countries and communities can afford the actual downpayment on it. Initial high costs preclude many communities from fulfilling the transition, which also leaves many youth behind in many other aspects.

Accessing previously untapped markets to transition to clean energy requires close and sincere cooperation between established businesses, young entrepreneurs, academia and governments. It is a systematic effort that requires all hands on deck, and for way too often our perspectives were deemed professional or worthy enough. Gladly your inputs are proving all the sceptics wrong!

Last but not the least, the inequality of access to resources, financial, scientific and other, in the process of energy transition has to be addressed for it to reach those populations that we are aiming to reach. The consequences of not being flexible and inclusive in designing clean energy systems, advancing new forms of payment for access, new designs of infrastructure maintenance are too dire - many cities will have their counts of dead from 'dirtier' use of energy increased, while the rural communities will remain shut out of the grid altogether. This could have particularly detrimental effects in multiple countries of the Global South.

We should continue fighting and advocating for the deployment of clean energy in our countries and communities to be front and center of energy policy in every country in order to stay on the 1.5C warming course, as well as getting access to new opportunities provided by a greener, more digital economy. Let's continue doing this on all platforms we have access to, and it has been great to see you seizing the opportunity to do so on SparkBlue courtesy of the UNDP as well!