The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on clean energy progress

The Covid-19 pandemic is having a major impact on energy systems around the world, curbing investments and threatening to slow the expansion of key clean energy technologies. Looking at all the data so far on how the Covid-19 crisis is impacting clean energy transitions, 10 key themes emerge – and this article examines each of them.

 

CO2 emissions: Short-term shock does not guarantee sustained decline

The global pandemic has imposed unprecedented constraints on social and economic activity – particularly on mobility – with severe impacts on energy use. Global energy demand is expected to contract by 6% in 2020, the largest drop in more than 70 years. Global CO2 emissions are expected to decline 8% in 2020, falling to their lowest level since 2010. This drop in emissions is no cause for celebration, since it is the result of a global health crisis, surging unemployment and tremendous economic hardship. Even the flattening of CO2 emissions during the robust economic growth of 2019 was far from the annual 6% reduction required in the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), which is fully aligned with climate goals of the Paris Agreement.

 

Furthermore, after past economic downturns, emissions recovered rapidly as economies regained their footing. While the current crisis may have accelerated some structural changes – such as the decline of coal in Europe – the temporary drop in energy use resulting from mass restrictions on movement is far from sufficient. Smart and ambitious government policies will be needed to bring about the kind of sustained structural adjustments needed across a full range of sectors to achieve long-term climate goals.

 

Renewables have been resilient so far, but government support remains key

Renewable power sources have so far demonstrated resilience in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. The share of renewables in global electricity supply reached nearly 28% in the first quarter of 2020, up from 26% during the same period in 2019. 

Despite this resilience, renewables’ growth is expected to slow down in 2020. The world is set to add only 167 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity this year – 13% less than in 2019. This decline reflects delays in construction due to supply chain disruptions, lockdown measures and social distancing guidelines, as well as emerging financing challenges. The majority of delayed utility-scale projects are expected to come online in 2021, but installations of rooftop solar PV for businesses and households may continue to be depressed in the medium term without strong government support.

The share of renewables in global electricity supply reached nearly 28% in the first quarter of 2020, up from 26% during the same period in 2019.

Beyond electricity, renewables have been less resilient. Transport biofuel production is expected to contract by 13% in 2020 – its first drop in two decades. Renewable heat consumption is also likely to decline in 2020, mainly due to lower activity in the industrial sector. Adding to these difficulties, low oil and gas prices are making biofuels and renewable heat technologies less cost-competitive.

Governments have an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate clean energy transitions by making investment in renewables a key part of stimulus packages to reinvigorate their economies. Investing in renewables, whose costs continue to fall rapidly, can stimulate job creation and economic development while reducing emissions and fostering further innovation.

 

Read more>>>>>HERE

How to Use Socially Innovative Policy-Making for an Inclusive Energy Transition

Social innovation should accompany environmental policymaking. Policies will have little effect without the acceptance and understanding of the people directly affected by the changes. Much of the climate change discourse centers on wide-scale economic, social and cultural change – this rhetoric gives people little agency, leaving many feeling alienated.

Policies will have little effect without the acceptance and understanding of the people directly affected by the changes.

Social innovation in the context of the energy transition is a process of change in social interaction and the sharing of knowledge leading to – or based on – new environmentally sustainable ways of producing, managing, and consuming energy that address social challenges. There are many pioneering European cities applying socially innovative approached in local energy transitions with replicable approaches. Based on studies in such cities – the following nine practical recommendations are a red thread for any policy maker to follow when planning and implementing novel energy policies.

Recommendation 1: Build on existing engagement. Pro-environmental dispositions have been found to be important drivers of social innovations in the energy sector. This is the case irrespective of the actor involved, whether a citizen or a NGO. Connecting with individuals or groups with existing environmental engagement or taking a step further and develop environmental engagement in stakeholders is good way to build support.

Recommendation 2:  Welcome resistance. People often demonstrate resistance when faced with ambiguity, such as the financial ramifications of a new energy policy. It is important to acknowledge these concerns as valid and to be transparent about associated risks and costs. Identifying hesitant groups and involving them in trial periods and planning, can help alleviate concerns.

Recommendation 3: Be trustworthy. Trust in the abilities and good intentions of stakeholders and decision-makers is a key factor for the acceptability of new policies. A recent study[1] in France indicated very few people deny climate change (irrespective of their social status), but they do not trust institutions to be able to fix it. Participatory processes are a good way to strengthen trust, especially with disadvantaged groups suffering from energy poverty. Giving people opportunities to express concerns and fostering wider dialogue in order to avoid polarisation of opposing groups is important.

Read more >>> HERE

INTERVIEW: Can Micromobility-Sharing Work in Malaysia?

An Interview with Johan Sammy, Head of Expansion and Partnership, Anywheel

by Jade Chan, The Star Malaysia

Jade: Can you provide the details about the e-mobility project for Bukit Damansara (purpose, implementation, follow-ups)?

Bukit Damansara is a very interesting project for us and will be the first in Kuala Lumpur to provide sustainable urban mobility for first/last mile connectivity and short distance travel to the community. What we aim to achieve here is to create awareness and getting the local community to adopt the new mode of travel instead of driving. Our priority is to connect residents & employees (business district) to the MRT stations, and residents & employees to retail outlets or places of interest in Bukit Damansara. The challenge here will be the road condition, gradients and traffic, so we are still in the midst of identifying the operating zones, connectivity and routes that are safe for users to travel using our scooters. We expect to complete the study by end January and we will present the proposal to DBKL for their consent to operate. We are looking at end-Feb or March to kick start this trial.

 

Jade: I understand Anywheel had several e-scooters available for use at the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum in Penang. How was the reception to Anywheel e-scooters in Penang?

The response was overwhelming with strong support from MBPP’s Mayor and Urbanice Malaysia. We had 70 scooters within the vicinity of SPICE Convention Centre and we had more than 1000 users downloading the app and testing the scooters over the course of the event.

Read more >>>HERE

COVID-19 Recovery: A Game-changer for Sustainable Urban Mobility

Opportunities for non-motorized transport infrastructure

How can we ensure that the COVID-19 recovery phase is a game-changer for planning, implementing, and financing more sustainable urban transport systems instead of losing the momentum and returning to old habits of using individual, fossil fuel-based transport solutions that pollute, contest, and burden our urban spaces?

 

This dichotomy of opportunities and challenges requires customized strategies for realizing sustainable urban mobility systems through:

(a) Sustaining and capitalizing on the new mobility patterns of people and the emergence of dynamic policy-making to expand non-motorized transport infrastructure.

(b) Reinforcing and adjusting investments in public transport and sustainable mobility infrastructure that already commenced prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Financing solutions and supportive policy frameworks are needed for both strategies, not least because they will promote a sustainable recovery of our economies.

 

Opportunities and how we can leverage them?

To reduce the use of public transport given the infection risks, many city authorities announced and implemented ad hoc measures for repurposing road space and ensuring the safety of people walking and cycling in cities. Examples of this were observed in BrusselsMilanBerlinParisBogotá, Auckland, and many other cities around the world. It is important to build on this momentum of behavioural change and political agility to support the active mobility of people beyond the lockdown phase.

Read more >>> HERE

Indonesia Approves a New Non-Motorized Transport Strategy

The Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Indonesia has partnered with the Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP) Indonesia and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Share the Road initiative to develop a “National Vision for Non-Motorized Transport” document as a practical guide for city governments in planning and prioritizing the needs  of pedestrians and cyclists. The strategy aims to ‘create a safe, comfortable, inclusive, and comprehensive walking and cycling space which supports public transport usage.’

The strategy was developed following extensive consultations including stakeholder meetings with the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, business owners and citizens through capacity building workshops.

Read more >>> HERE

How the ‘15-Minute City’ Could Help Post-Pandemic Recovery

A new C40 Cities report touts Paris’s model for putting essentials within close walking or biking distance as an economic boost for coronavirus-ravaged municipal budgets.

 

An international coalition of cities believes that the only path forward for mayors is funding green stimulus plans focused on job creation. The newly released Mayors’ Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery, released July 15 by C40 Cities, an international coalition of urban leaders focused on fighting climate change and promoting sustainable development, was developed by the organization’s Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. The far-ranging series of plans offers a green prescription for financial stabilization that emphasizes several familiar pillars of progressive urbanism — renewable energy investment, energy-efficient buildings, improved mass transit, and spending on new parks and green space. One core idea: Cities are the “engines of the recovery,” and investing in their resilience is the best way to avoid economic disaster.

One of its recommendations has a more novel ring to it. The agenda recommends that “all residents will live in ‘15-minute cities.’” That term echoes the transformative ambitions of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has doubled down on car-free transit and pedestrian infrastructure in the French capital. Hidalgo made the idea that Parisians should be able to meet their shopping, work, recreational and cultural needs within a 15-minute walk or bike ride a centerpiece of her recent reelection campaign.

Read more >>> HERE

How cities are reshaping streets to prepare for life after lockdown

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“If we all need to be healthy and move in a healthy way, there’s no better way to do that than to walk and bike, and providing the infrastructure to do that is absolutely key,” says Mike Lydon, principal at the urban planning and design firm Street Plans. “Traffic volumes will go back up. But it’s at this point where we get to decide in our cities how much of it we let back in, and to what degree it’s a guest.”

 

Read more >>> HERE

From Minneapolis to the Putrajaya Lake

How the Bicycle Access Ramp is helping reduce emissions.

By: Andy Lambert, Global Sales Manager

From the bush fire in Australia to the flooding in Venice, the impacts of the global climate crisis are being realized before our eyes. Greta Thunberg’ s book uses the title “Our House Is on Fire” and this isn’t hyperbole, our planet is literally burning up (while glaciers melt) and we need to start acting like it. One way you can act is by choosing your bicycle for transportation any chance you get.

We at Saris Infrastructure look at the places we live and visit through the lens of bicycle infrastructure. Where are the bike lanes and are they designed to protect cyclists? Is there a network of these lanes and is that network connected? How easy is it to get around on a bicycle for everyone in the community? Do public stairways have ramps so I don’t have to carry my bike up and down them?

The need to reduce our carbon emissions is highlighting these questions in more people’s minds around the world. One example of a country taking action is the Green Technology Applications for the Development of Low Carbon Cities project (GTALCC). This is a collaboration between the Government of Malaysia, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and funds are available for projects that help communities reduce their carbon emissions.

The original article was posted on Saris Infrastructure

Read more >>>HERE 

Oslo saw zero pedestrian and cyclist deaths in 2019. Here’s how the city did it.

By on 

 

City data for the Norwegian capital, which has a population of about 673,000, show a dramatic reduction in traffic fatalities, from 41 deaths in 1975 to a single roadway death last year. One adult man was killed in 2019 when his vehicle struck a fence.

 

According to a story in the Norwegian paper Aftenposten, safety advocates are directly attributing the virtual elimination of roadway deaths to recent initiatives which have allowed fewer cars into the city’s center.

Over the last five years, the city has taken dramatic steps to reduce vehicular traffic in its downtown, including replacing nearly all on-street parking with bike lanes and sidewalks. Major streets have been closed to cars, and congestion pricing raised the fee to drive into the city center, with the goal of making most of downtown car-free by 2019.

 

Read more >>> HERE

‘Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy’ spells out capital’s plan to take on global climate crisis

BY OSCAR BOYD, The Japan Times

Tucked into the tail end of the decade was Friday’s release of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s “Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy,” which unveils a blueprint for achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

In the strategy, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government states that it recognizes a climate crisis and that the city “will implement concrete policies and effective measures,” such as making all buildings in Tokyo zero-emissions buildings and making all cars driven here completely carbon-free by the middle of the century.

 

 

Read more >>> HERE

Download the document Zero Emission Tokyo Strategy