Energy sector should be central player in transitioning to green economy, says UNEP chief

Sunday, September 23, 2012
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
Nairobi: Ahead of a high-level event Monday (24 September) at United Nations Headquarters that will bring together world leaders, international organizations, the private sector and civil society on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's 'Sustainable Energy for All' initiative, the head of the UN Environment Programme, Achim Steiner said the energy sector should be a "central player" in transitioning to a green economy.

In a recent interview for UNifeed, Steiner said that 'Sustainable Energy for All' was "one of the very encouraging outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference" held earlier this year in Rio de Janeiro.

He believed the initiative's "triple thrust" - access to energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy – was "perhaps one of the most promising avenues in which we can demonstrate that the transition towards a low carbon green economy is very much also an opportunity that the energy sector can drive and be a central player in".

Steiner said the economics of renewable energy have shifted significantly. In contrast to a rise in prices for fossil fuels, he noted that the price for wind power had come down by ninety percent since the 1980s.

Price drops have also occurred in photovoltaic technologies, he said, with price reductions of forty to fifty percent in the world market just in the last 18 to 20 months.

"The threshold for entering into a renewable energy technology era is coming down almost by the day", he said.

Steiner said the question of financing therefore "becomes critical", and called on international institutions, national financial and planning institutions and the banking system to help small and medium scale enterprises and households access the finance that allows them to make that transition. -UNifeed
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