Renewable Energy Delivery

Each project is unique depending on location, size, and end use. Clean and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are by nature intermittent and located far from consumer demand. Supply chain approaches may prove very useful in addressing these temporal and spatial disconnects. For example, battery storage would provide an “inventory” buffer for the grid when integrating the less predictable supply of wind and solar power. Renewable sources will not be commercially viable without a robust supply chain to deliver the energy.

The Renewable Energy Delivery (RED) collaborates with key organizations across the renewable energy space (e.g. generators, technology providers, and electric grid operators) to design new supply chain systems for cost-effective renewable energy delivery to end consumers. The aim to develop insights and tools for problems ranging from daily operations management to strategic planning for the phased deployment of renewable energy generation and transmission.

In addition, we can help companies outside the energy sector align their environmental initiatives, such as the carbon footprint, with economic opportunities from renewable energy procurement and, in some cases, generation.

Make renewable energy technology a global public good

For renewable energy technology to be a global public good, meaning available to all and not just to the wealthy, it will be essential to remove roadblocks to knowledge sharing and technological transfer, including intellectual property rights barriers. Essential technologies such as battery storage systems allow energy from renewables, like solar and wind, to be stored and released when people, communities and businesses need power. They help to increase energy system flexibility due to their unique capability to quickly absorb, hold and re-inject electricity, says the International Renewable Energy Agency. Moreover, when paired with renewable generators, battery storage technologies can provide reliable and cheaper electricity in isolated grids and to off-grid communities in remote locations.

Improve global access to components and raw materials

A robust supply of renewable energy components and raw materials is essential. More widespread access to all the key components and materials, from the minerals needed to produce wind turbines and electricity networks to electric vehicles, will be key. It will take significant international coordination to expand and diversify manufacturing capacity globally. Moreover, greater investments are needed to ensure a just transition, including in people’s skills training, research and innovation, and incentives to build supply chains through sustainable practices that protect ecosystems and cultures.

Level the playing field for renewable energy technologies

While global cooperation and coordination is critical, domestic policy frameworks must urgently be reformed to streamline and fast-track renewable energy projects and catalyse private sector investments. Technology, capacity, and funds for renewable energy transition exist, but there needs to be policies and processes in place to reduce market risk and enable and incentivize investments, including through streamlining the planning, permitting and regulatory processes, and preventing bottlenecks and red tape. This could include allocating space to enable large-scale buildouts in special Renewable Energy Zones. Nationally Determined Contributions, and countries’ individual climate action plans to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts, must set 1.5C aligned renewable energy targets. The share of renewables in global electricity generation must also increase from today’s 29 percent to 60 percent by 2030. Clear and robust policies, transparent processes, public support, and the availability of modern energy transmission systems are key to accelerating the uptake of wind and solar energy technologies.

Shift energy subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy

Fossil-fuel subsidies are one of the biggest financial barriers hampering the world’s shift to renewable energy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that about $5.9 trillion was spent on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry in 2020 alone, including through explicit subsidies, tax breaks, and health and environmental damages that were not priced into the cost of fossil fuels. That’s roughly $11 billion a day. Fossil fuel subsidies are both inefficient and inequitable. Across developing countries, about half of the public resources spent to support fossil fuel consumption benefits the richest 20 percent of the population, according to the IMF. Shifting subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy not only cuts emissions, but it also contributes to the sustainable economic growth, job creation, better public health, and more equality, particularly for the poor and most vulnerable communities around the world.

Triple investments in renewables

At least $4 trillion a year needs to be invested in renewable energy until 2030, including investments in technology and infrastructure, to allow us to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Not nearly as high as yearly fossil fuel subsidies, this investment will pay off. The reduction of pollution and climate impact alone could save the world up to $4.2 trillion per year by 2030. Although the funding is there, what is needed is commitment and accountability, particularly from the global financial systems, including multilateral development banks and other public and private financial institutions, that must align their lending portfolios towards accelerating the renewable energy transition.