Stefan Jungcurt from the SDG Knowledge Hub of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) provides the latest update on global developments in clean energy commitments.
Clean Energy Commitments: South Africa, California, Facebook Update Targets as Cities Pledge Net-zero Buildings
Every day countries, sub-national actors, businesses and organizations announce new commitments supporting the global clean energy transition. At the end of August, South Africa, California, Facebook and members of the C-40 Cities Network were among the actors to present new and updated targets and pledges.
South Africa to Chose Gas and Renewables over Nuclear and Coal
South Africa’s Energy Minister Jeff Radebe presented an update of his country’s Integrated Resources Plan 2018 for public consultation. The update proposes a substantial shift in the mix of new electricity capacity away from nuclear and coal fired generation towards capacity relying on natural gas and a higher share of renewable sources. It suggests adding, until 2030, more than 15 gigawatts (GW) of wind, hydro and solar generation capacity, while also adding 1 GW of coal-fired and 8 GW gas-fired generation capacity. In contrast to the previous government’s policy, no new nuclear capacity is included in the updated plan. While the new additions will reduce the installed capacity of coal-fired generation to 46%, coal is expected to still supply about 65% of the electricity consumed in South Africa in 2030.
California Aims to Use only Carbon-free Electricity in 2045
The State Assembly and Senate of California passed a bill that accelerates and strengthens California’s targets for renewable electricity consumption and introduces a new target to achieve 100% renewable energy consumed in California by 2045. Bill SB-100 revises existing legislation on minimum quantities of renewable energy that have to be procured by retail sellers and local publicly-owned utilities, raising the target for 2030 from 50% to 60%. Beyond this timeline, the document notes that “it is the policy of the state that eligible renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources supply 100% of retail sales of electricity to serve California end-use customers and 100% of electricity procured to serve all state agencies by December 31, 2045.”
Facebook Commits to Use 100% Renewable Energy by 2020
Like other technology companies, social media corporation Facebook has been sourcing increasing shares of its power consumption from renewable sources. In a press release, the company has announced its intention to source all of its power needs from renewable sources by 2020, thereby reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 75%. The release further states that over the past 12 months, Facebook has purchased more than 2.5 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean energy and that clean energy accounted for 51% of its energy consumption in 2017, slightly exceeding its previous target of reaching 50% clean energy by 2017.
Mayors of 19 of the Largest Cities Commit to Net-zero Buildings Emissions by 2030
Buildings account for over half of a city’s total GHG emissions, on average. While retrofitting existing buildings is challenging, new buildings can be constructed as net-zero emission structures using the latest efficiency technology and clean energy sources. The Mayors of 19 members of the C-40 Cities Network have now committed to ensure that all new buildings in their cities will be net-zero emission buildings by 2030. To achieve this goal, the Mayors have committed to developing roadmaps, establishing incentives and programmes, and reporting annually on progress made.