The Renewable Energy Association of Turkey (EUROSOLAR Turkey) organizes the annual International 100% Renewable Energy Conference (IRENEC). The results of the conference in May 2016 have now been summarized in a conference resolution:
Economy is the determinant parameter for the transition to renewable energy (RE). In 2015 renewable energy investments accounted for more than 50% of the total new installed capacity worldwide. More than USD 250 billion was invested in RE. Even with the fossil fuels subsidies in total USD 500 billion, RE has become mainstream. The conventional power utilities had to transform their business strategy to RE, they’ve realized that they would not be able to survive otherwise. China has become the world leader in RE. Other leading countries like Denmark and Germany are getting reorganised to make the best use of efficient deployment in their countries.
The transition to 100% RE by replacing conventional fuel is a long journey. Energy is not just electricity, to reach the 100% RE target we need to convert the electricity system, but also the heating and cooling system and the transportation system. More attention should be paid to efficiency and the heating sector, both for buildings and industry. It is still not clear what the energy source the transportation will be based in the future. Bioenergy accounts for the biggest share of RE used in the world, and will remain so in the future. We should also pay attention to biomass, not only to wind power and solar photovoltaic. There are differences about RE support (especially with regard to bioenergy) among countries and also among RE support organisations and institutions.
RE is decentralised by nature, in contrast to nuclear energy and fossil-fuels. For RE implementation the active participation of decision makers is very important. Energy policies change constantly, depending on who is in the government. Large penetration of RE is possible if the decision makers are on the solution side; e.g. it is approximately 40% in Denmark. RE became economically attractive, as proved during the last wind power tender in Morocco ended with 2.8 eurocents/kWh and the last solar power tender in Dubai which ended with 2.99 USD dollar cent/kWh.
The involvement of communities and distribution of benefits throughout the local communities is a necessity for effective implementation of RE projects. Since climate change is a global concern we need to figure out how to speed up the global transition to 100% RE. The conference participants confirm that the priority in energy is energy end-use efficiency to reduce the size of the problem and work further 100% RE target.
To reach this target there are factors to be considered and measures to be taken by each community, town, city and country such as:
- Stakeholders involvement,
- Smart grids development (for restructuring of grid to allow higher penetration of renewable energy and effective end-use efficiency),
- Renewable Energy storage (in order to free the solutions based on “100% renewable energy” from the problems based on “fossil fuel and nuclear”)
- Education and training of enough expert teams that have sufficient capacity for the overall transition of the energy system from fossil fuels to RE,
- Following preconditions for the RE use (1) the right to connect to the grid, (2) the grid operator to be obliged to buy electricity from all producers, (3) fair and guaranteed electricity prices.
Regarding education, we cannot wait for the children to be educated and become adults to change the energy system and mitigate climate change. It is an urgent change we need! It is our responsibility! The technology is available and affordable; we have the solutions to do it. There is no excuse not to do it now. RE is not the energy of the future, it is the energy of today! We should be flexible and talented enough to make the most of the RE for the common good of the society and the well-being of future generations. Joined efforts from many individuals, communities and other stakeholders of the sector will be indispensable.
Further information can be found online at http://www.irenec.org/eng/.