To mark the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the members of the World Alliance for Decentralized Energy (WADE) have today launched a ‘DE 2012’ challenge to the world’s governments to create energy market frameworks which will double the worldwide use of decentralized energy (DE) by 2012.
DE is increasingly seen as an optimal solution for providing low cost and environmentally beneficial access to electricity in developing countries.
Today, DE (which includes high efficiency cogeneration and decentralized renewable energies) holds only a 7% share of the world’s power generation market. This compares to a 17% share for nuclear power and a 36% share for coal-fired electricity. The ‘DE 2012’ challenge is to move to a 14% share by 2012.
A key aim of the WSSD process is to promote the use of clean, efficient and low cost energy solutions in developing countries. If this is to be achieved, WADE members believe that the WSSD process must address head-on the gross imbalance between central power generation (93% global share), which is characterised by high losses from transmission and distribution (T&D) systems and inefficient power plants, and DE. Electricity losses are running at 13.4% a year from developing country T&D systems while the efficiency of central power plants is only around 33%.
Commenting on this situation, WADE Chairman Tom Casten said:
“This waste of energy, which is directly associated with the traditional model of central power generation but can be largely stopped by the use of DE, is causing massive social, economic and environmental damage to the world’s poor countries. Millions of people are failing to receive a supply of electricity as a consequence; national fuel bills are billions of dollars higher than they could be, and pollutant emissions are causing untold additional health and environmental harm.”
For a genuine path towards sustainable economic development to be taken, the balance between central power and DE must therefore shift strongly towards the latter. The achievement of ‘DE 2012’, a mix of 86% central power and 14% DE by 2012, would be only the first step towards an optimal hybrid between the two in which the majority of new installed capacity would be based on DE.
WADE Director, Michael Brown, said:
“For WADE, a key indicator of the success of the WSSD will be whether it leads to the cessation of the catastrophic waste of energy taking place every day in T&D systems and fossil-fired central power stations in developing countries”.
There are two main ways in which this can be done:
Developing country governments must be encouraged to eliminate the many regulatory and monopoly-based barriers to DE which exist in almost every country in the world. If this is done, there will be abundant and growing commercial opportunities in developing countries for high efficiency on-site cogeneration, based on fossil or renewable fuels, in addition to PV, wind power and small-scale hydro.
Power sector reform must be done in the right way.
A new report from the World Resources Institute confirms WADE research that electricity restructuring provides a clear opportunity to spur the transition to a future based on small-scale DE. Yet the report concludes that “closed political processes and politically powerful groups constrain attention to sustainable development objectives.” In other words, power sector reform is so far derailing the opportunity for DE to cut energy waste and improve social and economic conditions in developing countries.
For more information, contact:
Thomas R. Casten, Chairman, WADE Michael Brown
Chairman & CEO Executive Director
Private Power LLC WADE
2000 York Road, Suite 129 15 Great Stuart Street
Oak Brook, Il 60523, USA Edinburgh EH3 7TP, UK
+1 630-371-0505, fax 0673 +44 131 625 3333, fax 3334