With all the news about wind farms, record-breaking solar power stations, and burgeoning sales of hybrid-electric vehicles one could be forgiven for actually thinking that renewable energies were actually making our energy cleaner. They haven’t. A new report from the International Energy Agency shows that, despite the rapid spread of renewable technologies, the energy produced today is just as “dirty” as it was 20 years ago.
The Clean Energy Ministerial first convened in 2009 with the goal of bringing together world leaders to promote clean energy technology. Twenty-two countries participate in the CEM. Because these countries account for 75 percent of the world’s energy consumption, they are powerfully positioned to drive a global transition to cleaner energy.
But in a recent speech to the Clean Energy Ministerial, International Energy Agency Executive Director, Maria van der Hoeven, had some bad news: “The drive to clean up the world’s energy system has stalled. Despite much talk by world leaders, and despite a boom of renewable energy over the last decade, the average unit of energy produced today is basically as dirty as it was 20 years ago.”
The report lists three areas for which it gauged progress: (1) Technology penetration: how much are clean energy technologies being used? (2) Market creation: what is being done to foster the necessary markets? (3) Technology developments: how are individual technologies performing?