Best Practices in Gathering and Using Energy Data for LEDS Development

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Apr 102014
 

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Best Practices in Gathering and Using Energy Data for LEDS Development

Recording of Webinar Presentation here: LEDS-GP_140410

Accessible, reliable, and up-to-date data is a critical factor in Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) energy planning. Unfortunately, policymakers often struggle with significant data gaps. This webinar presents an overview of the importance of energy data collection, best practices, and strategies for linking data collection and LEDS development processes. This is the first of a series of webinars organized by the LEDS GP Energy Working Group. The webinar series features insights and experiences drawn from the Energy Working Group’s diverse membership.

  • Alexander Ochs, Worldwatch Institute
  • Laura Williamson, REN21
  • Eder Semedo, ECREEE
  • Nicola Bugatti, ECREEE.

More information on the Energy Working Group of the LEDS GP can be found here: http://en.openei.org/wiki/LEDSGP/sector/energy. Worldwatch currently runs the secretariat of the EWG and Alexander Ochs acts as its chair.

Presentations on Reform of Water and Electricity Regulatory Systems in Caribbean and Pacific Small Island States

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Mar 252014
 

Just gave these two presentations here at the Pacific and Caribbean  Conference on Effective and Sustainable Regulation of Energy and Water Services organized by ADB and SPC in Nadi, Fiji:

ADB_logoSPC_logoCaribbean Energy and Water Policies: An Overview of 8 Case Studies
This presentation gives an overview of key preliminary findings from an examination of water and energy regulations and regulatory structures in Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, and St. Lucia.

Statutes and Regulation: The Low-Discretion Model of Saint Lucia
Like many small-island developing states, one of the major regulatory challenges facing Saint Lucia is how to regulate effectively with limited financial and human resources. Its experience with a Low-Discretion Model provides important insights.

I would like to thank my whole team at Worldwatch for contributing to, and particularly Evan Musolino and Katie Auth for taking the lead on, preparing these two presentations.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies at $2 Trillion, Despite Global Condemnation

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Jan 302014
 

Despite a growing consensus that support for the oil and gas industry is unfair, inefficient and globally dangerous, there’s no actual implementation of plans to change it.

By Carey L. Biron | January 30, 2014
WASHINGTON – Global tax breaks, incentives, and various other consumption and production subsidies for the fossil fuel industry are likely topping $2 trillion each year, amounting to 2.5 percent of total gross domestic product for 2012. After a dip in the immediate aftermath of the global financial recession, these figures have risen in recent years, according to a new report from Worldwatch, a Washington-based think tank. Incentives for renewable energy sources remain tiny by comparison, estimated at just $88 billion for 2011. (…)
“In the U.S., a lot of this is just lip service. The country is really not yet walking the walk,” Alexander Ochs, director of climate and energy at the Worldwatch Institute, told MintPress. “Both nationally and internationally, we have not made any significant progress toward the goal of reducing subsidies, which was actually declared quite a long while ago. In my view, it’s outrageous that we’re not making any more progress.”
[You can find the whole story here]

Jamaica Sustainable Energy Roadmap

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Nov 212013
 

Worldwatch’s Climate and Energy team just launched its groundbreaking Sustainable Energy Roadmap for Jamaica, a look at the measures that the country can take to transition its electricity sector to one that is socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable.

The report, Jamaica Sustainable Energy Roadmap: Pathways to an Affordable, Reliable, Low-Emission Electricity System, is the culmination of years of intensive investigation. It analyzes the potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment in Jamaica and discusses the social and economic impacts of alternative energy pathways. Click here for more information about the project and to read the report.

Worldwatch Institute Launches Sustainable Jamaica Initiative

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Nov 072013
 

The Worldwatch Institute has launched its Sustainable Energy Roadmap for Jamaica, a look at the measures that the Jamaican government can take to transition its electricity sector to one that is socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable.

Jamaica Sustainable Energy Roadmap: Pathways to an Affordable, Reliable, Low-Emission Electricity System, analyzes the potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment in Jamaica and discusses the social and economic impacts of alternative energy pathways, concluding that a scenario of high renewable penetration can bring significant savings, greater energy security, gains in competitiveness, and many other important benefits to the country.

The Jamaican government, with whom Worldwatch worked closely on the project, has set a nationwide goal of 20 percent renewable energy use by 2030. Worldwatch says the roadmap will help to realize this goal.

However, Worldwatch says the bar can, and should, be set much higher: Jamaica can become a zero-carbon island in a matter of decades, and its people would benefit enormously from such a transition, according to the WI. Continue reading »

Worldwatch Institute Launches Groundbreaking Sustainable Energy Roadmap for Jamaica

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Nov 012013
 
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New Worldwatch Institute Roadmap explores the renewable energy status and potential in the country
 
Washington, D.C.—The Worldwatch Institute today launched its groundbreaking Sustainable Energy Roadmap for Jamaica, a look at the measures that the Jamaican government can take to transition its electricity sector to one that is socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable. The report, Jamaica Sustainable Energy Roadmap: Pathways to an Affordable, Reliable, Low-Emission Electricity System, is the culmination of years of intensive investigation. It analyzes the potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment in Jamaica and discusses the social and economic impacts of alternative energy pathways, concluding that a scenario of high renewable penetration can bring significant savings, greater energy security, gains in competitiveness, and many other important benefits to the country.

“Jamaica is paying a colossal price to import polluting and health-threatening fossil fuels, even when it has the best clean energy resources at its doorstep: wind, solar, hydro, and biomass,” says Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy at Worldwatch and a co-author of the study. “The Jamaican government has set a nationwide goal of 20 percent renewable energy use by 2030; our Roadmap will help to realize this goal. What’s more, our analysis shows that the bar can and should be set much higher: Jamaica can become a zero-carbon island in a matter of decades, and its people would benefit enormously from such a transition.”

Worldwatch collaborated closely on this project with the Government of Jamaica. “I am very confident that the outcome of this project will enable Jamaica to map, in more precise ways, the additional electricijamaicaty generation capacity that we seek,” says Jamaican Energy Minister Philip Paulwell. “We intend to use the Roadmap to determine the next phase of new generation capacity, and it will enable us to be far more efficient than we have in the past.” Continue reading »

Philippines’ People’s TV Network Interviews Alexander Ochs

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Jul 032013
 

Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy Director Alexander Ochs on “Good Morning Boss” on the Philippine’s People’s Television Network talking about the potential for the nation to transition to a zero carbon economy.

3 July 2013

Latin America Enjoys Abundant Renewable Energy but Lacks Policies for Use

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Jun 182013
 

South and Central America could generate 100 percent of their electricity with renewable resources, a new study finds

By Lisa Friedman, Climatewire, picked up by Scientific American [here] and others

Latin America and the Caribbean could meet 100 percent of their electricity needs with renewable energy, a new Inter-American Development Bank study finds. From Mexico to Chile, countries already are producing higher levels of clean power, but the study notes the region still has a long way to go. Last year just 5.4 percent of the $244 trillion global renewable energy investment went to Latin America. But with Latin America’s economy expected to grow 3 percent annually, the study argues that the region will need to nearly double its installed power capacity to about 600 gigawatts by 2030 at a likely price tag of $430 billion.

The report, “Rethinking Our Energy Future,” will be released today at a Global Green Growth Forum meeting in Bogota, Colombia. It comes amid growing concern among energy experts that the region is not living up to its clean energy potential. (…)

Last week the Worldwatch Institute think tank in Washington, D.C., unveiled a Central America report also showing the region has the resources and the technical capacity to meet all its electricity needs with renewables. But, it argues, governments are undermining their own investments in geothermal, biomass, wind and solar with plans to increase imports of oil, coal and natural gas.

“Central America is at a crossroads,” Alexander Ochs, director of climate and energy at the Worldwatch Institute, said in the study. According to the study, Latin America currently generates about 7 percent of the world’s total electricity production, but demand is skyrocketing as population levels rise and the region’s economy improves. By midcentury, Latin America’s power demand is expected to triple while carbon emissions from the power sector will double. Continue reading »

Global Energy Assessment West Coast Launch

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May 212013
 

Panel Discussion: Yi Cui, Moderator; Arun Majumdar, Alexander Ochs, Diana Urge-Vorsatz, Robert Schock, Wim Turkenburg, Sally Benson

INTEGRATING EXTERNALITIES INTO ELECTRICITY SUPPLY DECISIONS

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Apr 022013
 

Applications of ESMAP’s Model for Electricity Technology Assessment (META) in the Caribbean Islands and Central America  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 | 12:30 – 2:00pm 1850 I Street, NW, Washington, DC | Room I2-220

The selection of electricity supply technology is critical for designing new power generation projects, and associated transmission and distribution facilities. These choices are increasingly complex due to the pace of technological change, rapid shifts in equipment and fuel prices, availability of comparable data, and the challenge of reducing carbon emissions.To help electricity policy-makers and planners select the most appropriate options, ESMAP has developed the Model for Electricity Technology Assessment (META).  The tool provides a comparative assessment of the levelized costs for a range of electricity supply options, including renewable energy.

Chair: Rohit Khanna | Program Manager, ESMAP, The World Bank

Presenters:
Alexander Ochs| Director of Climate and Energy, Worldwatch Institute
Fredric Verdol  
| Power Engineer, LCSEG, The World Bank
Michael Weber  | Research Coordinator, Worldwatch Institute

World Bank Group Staff
External participants

ESMAP

WORLDBANK

WORLDWATCH INSTITUTE

 

The model takes into account changes in capital and operating costs over time, environmental externalities, and transmission and distribution options. This session will present examples of META’s use in the Caribbean Islands and Central America by the World Watch Institute and The World Bank.

The session will particularly focus on presenting excerpts from Worldwatch’s work in Jamaica and The World Bank’s work in Haiti.

Or, use this link:  http://worldbankva.adobeconnect.com/metabbl/

 

Moving Renewable Energy Forward in Nicaragua

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Sep 132012
 

Adam Dolezal and Alexander Ochs | ReVolt | 13 September 2012

Para una versión en español de este blog, por favor hacer click aquí.

Last week, the Worldwatch Institute’s Central America team – together with our partners from the INCAE Business School – convened a working group of nearly 40 renewable energy experts and decision-makers in Managua, Nicaragua. The emphasis: access to energy for marginalized communities through sustainable energy options. With presentations and participation from the government’s renewable energy office, Nicaragua’s renewable energy association, an array of rural energy initiatives, and the region’s largest wind power developer, the working group took our research and potential for impact to a new level.

Participants from the workshop The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Nicaragua at INCAE Business School Campus in Managua, Nicaragua.

Worldwatch Director of Climate & Energy, Alexander Ochs, incited the round table forum to recall that the overarching goal of our efforts is not to promote renewable energy technology for its own sake– as so often the discussion can remain caught in technical details – but for the environmental, social and economic outcomes that clean and locally-generated energy provides. Renewable energy is a means to reach overarching policy priorities: giving access to modern energy sources, mitigating local pollution and climate change, and addressing important gender, health, and education issues. In a region where countries ship 5 to 15 percent of their GDP overseas for the import of fossil fuels-the use of which produces high additional social, environmental and economic costs- harvesting domestic renewable energy sources is a prerequisite for sustained economic growth. Continue reading »

REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report: North America Focus

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Sep 042012
 

Presented by Clean Energy Solutions Center, REN21, and Leonardo Energy | September 4, 2012

Vickie Healey – Moderator
Christine Lins – Presenter
Alexander Ochs- Presenter

[Please find my presentation, given jointly with my colleague Evan Musolino, HERE]

Experts Assess Future of Renewable Energy in Central America

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Aug 302012
 

The Worldwatch Institute and the INCAE Business School host high-level workshop on energy access and renewable energy potential in Central America

WASHINGTON – August 30 – The Worldwatch Institute (www.worldwatch.org) and the INCAE Business School’s Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS) are co-hosting two workshops on “The Way Forward for Renewable Energy in Central America” in Managua, Nicaragua and Alajuela, Costa Rica tomorrow and on September 3, respectively. The participative dialogues aim to promote the exchange of ideas and experiences among a select group of experts from regional institutions, civil society organizations, energy sector companies, and government agencies. The workshops will focus on the role of renewable technologies in broadening access to modern energy services and achieving regional development goals.
(…)
“This project is a joint effort aimed at speeding the development of renewables in Central America,” said Alexander Ochs, Director of Worldwatch’s Climate and Energy Program. “Key energy experts will gather in one room to discuss the region’s challenges and opportunities in embracing renewables, discussing state-of-the-art reforms as well as areas of local, national, and regional best practices.”

“It’s not just that all countries will need to contribute to mitigating and adapting to global climate change.” continued Ochs. “Central America can become a real leader on renewables, given the high price it pays for its current energy system—-some countries spend 10 percent or more of their GDP on importing fossil fuels. The region has also had exciting early experiences with adopting new, unconventional renewable technologies, including geothermal, solar, biomass, and wind technologies.”

The first workshop will take place at the INCAE Business School’s Managua campus from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 30, 2012. The second workshop will take place at the INCAE Business School’s Alajuela campus from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 3, 2012.

[You can find the full announcement HERE]

 

Biofuels Make a Comeback Despite Tough Economy

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Aug 292012
 

Global production of biofuels increased 17 percent in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 105 billion liters, up from 90 billion liters in 2009. High oil prices, a global economic rebound, and new laws and mandates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, and the United States, among other countries, are all factors behind the surge in production, according to research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy Program for the website Vital Signs Online.

The United States and Brazil remain the two largest producers of ethanol. In 2010, the United States generated 49 billion liters, or 57 percent of global output, and Brazil produced 28 billion liters, or 33 percent of the total. Corn is the primary feedstock for U.S. ethanol, and sugarcane is the dominant source of ethanol in Brazil.

“In the United States, the record production of biofuels is attributed in part to high oil prices, which encouraged several large fuel companies, including Sunoco, Valero, Flint Hills, and Murphy Oil, to enter the ethanol industry,” said Alexander Ochs, Director of Worldwatch’s Climate and Energy Program. High oil prices were also a factor in Brazil, where every third car-owner drives a “flex-fuel” vehicle that can run on either fossil or bio-based fuels. Many Brazilian drivers have switched to sugarcane ethanol because it is cheaper than gasoline.

“Although the U.S. and Brazil are the world leaders in ethanol, the largest producer of biodiesel is the European Union, which generated 53 percent of all biodiesel in 2010,” said Ochs. “However, we may see some European countries switch from biodiesel to ethanol because a recent report from the European Commission states that ethanol crops have a higher energy content than biodiesel crops, making them more efficient sources of fuel.”
(…)

[Find the full article HERE | The Worldwatch Institute’s Vital Sign Biofuels article can be found HERE]

A new sustainable energy model

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Aug 212012
 


Alexander Ochs, Director and Katie Auth, Researcher at the Worldwatch Institute welcome a new energy model, and encourage governments to undertake Sustainable Energy Roadmaps.

Climate change and the reliable, affordable supply of energy are among the most pressing issues we will face in the twenty-first century. Despite recognition of these unprecedented collective challenges, the international community has so far failed to take
aggressive action. Fortunately, signs point to the appearance of a new paradigm – fuelled in part by the growing efficiency and plummeting costs of renewable energy sources. Facilitating a shift to clean, low-carbon societies does not mean sacrificing
economic or human development. On the contrary, it increasingly represents our only way to attain both.

Already, people around the world are dealing with the effects of changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and biodiversity loss – with negative implications not only for the environment, but also for human health and well-being. Commonwealth countries, located across a wide geographic range, will face a broad array of climaterelated impacts. These include changes in the distribution of fish stocks, the melting of Arctic ice, coastal flooding, and drought. It is vital that Ministers within the Commonwealth take heed and look for sustainable solutions.

[Find the whole article, published in the 2012 Commonwealth Ministers Reference Book, HERE]

Fossil Fuel and Renewable Energy Subsidies on the Rise

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Aug 212012
 

Alexander Ochs, Eric Anderson, and Reese Rogers | Aug 21, 2012

A recent projection places the total value of conventional global fossil fuel subsidies between $775 billion and more than $1 trillion in 2012, depending on which supports are included in the calculation.1 In contrast, total subsidies for renewable energy stood at $66 billion in 2010, although that was a 10 percent increase from the previous year.2 Two thirds of these subsidies went to renewable electricity resources and the remaining third to biofuels.3

Although the total subsidies for renewable energy are significantly lower than those for fossil fuels, they are higher per kilowatt-hour if externalities are not included in the calculations. Estimates based on 2009 energy production numbers placed renewable energy subsidies between 1.7¢ and 15¢ per kilowatt-hour while subsidies for fossil fuels were estimated at around 0.1–0.7¢ per kWh.4 Unit subsidy costs for renewables are expected to decrease as technologies become more efficient and the prices of wholesale electricity and transport fuels rise.5

Globally negotiated efforts to reduce fossil fuel subsidies have been hindered by competing definitions of subsidies. Calculation methods also vary. The common price gap approach to calculating consumption subsidies uses the difference between the observed domestic prices of energy and the world market prices as an estimate of the impacts of a country’s policies on market prices.6 Some oil exporters, however, argue that production cost rather than market price should be used as the baseline.7 The difficulties in accurately measuring data are compounded by the lack of transparency among countries with regard to energy subsidies.8

 

[For full access to the complete trend and its associated charts, log in to Vital Signs]

Worldwatch Report on Fossil-Fuel Subsidies: With No Gain, Less Societal Pain

 newspaper article  Comments Off on Worldwatch Report on Fossil-Fuel Subsidies: With No Gain, Less Societal Pain
Aug 212012
 

By Cheryl Kaften, August 21, 2012 

Total subsidies for renewable energy stood at $66 billion in 2010 – less than one-tenth of the government financing provided globally to the fossil fuel industry, according to new research from the Washington, DC-based Worldwatch Institute.
(…)
“These so-called hidden costs, or externalities, are in fact very real costs to our societies
that are not picked up by the polluter and beneficiary of production but by all taxpayers,” said Alexander Ochs, director of Worldwatch’s Climate and Energy program and report co-author.  “Local pollutants from the burning of fossil fuels kill thousands in the United States, alone, each year, and society makes them cheaper to continue down their destructive path.”

Shifting official support from fossil fuels to renewables, Ochs pointed out, is essential
for “decarbonizing” the global energy system.

Such a shift could help create a triple win for national economies by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, generating long-term economic growth and reducing dependence on energy imports.
(…)
“At the same time, a phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies would level the
playing field for renewables and allow us to reduce support for clean energy sources as well,” said Ochs.  “After all, fossil fuels have benefited from massive governmental backing worldwide for hundreds of years.”

Progress toward a complete phase-out, however, has been minimal, according to Ochs. The
2009 pledge by the Group of 20 major economies to reduce “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” has been left “vague and unfulfilled.” The lack of a definition has left countries to make their own determination if their subsidies are inefficient. As of August 2012, G20 countries had not taken any substantial action in response to the pledge: Six members opted out of reporting altogether (an increase from two in 2010), and no country has yet initiated a subsidy reform in response to the pledge.

[You can find the whole article HERE; further reporting HERE | HERE | HERE | HERE]

 

Report finds ‘incredible’ renewable potential under the Dominican sun

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Jul 262012
 

 Thursday, July 26, 2012 – Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter

The Dominican Republic has “extensive” solar and wind resources and will be able to meet the  government’s ambitious renewable energy goals, a new study has found. Yet the Caribbean  nation’s road map — among the first of its kind — cautions that while the Dominican Republic has made important strides in weaning itself off fossil fuels and reducing its carbon footprint, it still needs stronger domestic policies and international funding to succeed.

“I think the Dominican Republic has to be credited. It’s a developing country, and it has really gone through the paradigm change that I wish so many other countries would have already gone through,” said Alexander Ochs, director of climate and energy at the Worldwatch Institute, which developed the study. “They have come a long way, and they have a long way to go,” Ochs said. But, he added, “I think the Dominican Republic can become a model country.”

Continue reading »

Research shows that by strategically harnessing its wind and solar resources, the country can achieve its goals for a low-carbon energy future

 newspaper interview  Comments Off on Research shows that by strategically harnessing its wind and solar resources, the country can achieve its goals for a low-carbon energy future
Jul 242012
 

    International Business Times, 24 July 2012, 08:53 BST

 

According to a new report released by the Worldwatch Institute’s Climate and Energy Program, the Dominican Republic will benefit economically, socially, and environmentally if it relied more heavily on renewable energy sources and less on fossil fuels. The report, Roadmap to a Sustainable Energy System: Harnessing the Dominican Republic’s Wind and Solar Resources, assesses the Caribbean country’s wind and solar energy resources and provides a policy roadmap for how it can cost-effectively harness its renewable potential and reduce its dependence on energy imports.

“Developing a stable energy infrastructure that can withstand both fuel price fluctuations and looming natural disasters is extremely important for a country like the Dominican Republic,” said Alexander Ochs, Director of Worldwatch’s Climate and Energy Program. “Installing a renewable energy system in a country that in some years spends ten percent or more of its GDP on the burning of foreign fossil fuels while having very strong domestic renewable resources is vital for its sustained—-and sustainable—-development.”

Continue reading »