Kathmandu, December 11
Number of countries with strong policy frameworks for sustainable energy more than tripled — from 17 to 59 — between 2010 and 2017, and many of the world’s largest energy-consuming nations have significantly improved their renewable energy regulations since 2010, as per RISE 2018, a new World Bank report charting global progress on sustainable energy policies.
Progress was even more marked in energy efficiency, with the percentage of countries establishing advanced policy frameworks growing more than 10-fold between 2010 and 2017. And among countries with large populations living without electricity, 75 per cent had by 2017 put in place the policies and regulations needed to expand energy access.
But as the report makes clear, there are significant barriers to global progress on sustainable energy. While countries continue to be focused on clean energy policies for electricity, policies to decarbonise heating and transportation — which account for 80 per cent of global energy use — continue to be overlooked.
RISE 2018 measures policy progress in 133 countries on renewable energy, energy efficiency, electricity access, and access to clean cooking — the four target areas of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which calls for achieving access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.
“Policy matters. RISE 2018 confirms the numbers that make it clear that policy is a leading indicator of the world’s sustainable energy transition,” said Riccardo Puliti, senior director for Energy and Extractives at the World Bank. “But the report also contains a warning: That without accelerated adoption of good policies, and strong enforcement, the world’s climate goals and SDG7 are at risk.”
This momentum was particularly marked in renewable energy. Among the countries covered by RISE, only 37 per cent had a national renewable energy target in 2010. By 2017, that had grown to 93 per cent. By 2017, 84 per cent of countries had a legal framework in place to support renewable energy deployment, while 95 per cent allowed the private sector to own and operate renewable energy projects. Over the same period, the share of countries that had put in place national legislation on energy efficiency rose from 25 per cent to 89 per cent.
In countries with an electricity access deficit, policymakers are increasingly turning their attention to off-grid solutions to close the gap. The share of low-access countries adopting measures to support mini-grids and solar home systems has soared from around 15 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent in 2017.
A version of this article appears in print on December 12, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.