Day 4 – From the Ivory Tower


– From the Ivory Tower –

Learn about policy diffusion of renewable energy targets with this video.

The day went by relatively quick, and I attended to only one talk. After listening to so many people throughout the week, my priority became talking to them, specifically.

I had approached a couple of persons the day before, and they had agreed to meet on Thursday. Fortunately, none of them cancelled – even considering that busy people have busy days at COP.

As my Master’s thesis I have been researching, for the past year, the diffusion of renewable energy targets. In 2005 there were only 43 countries with renewable energy targets, whereas in 2015 this number went up 164. I want to find out how did this happen.

Renewable energy targets in 2005, from IRENA with data from REN21.
Renewable energy targets in 2015, from IRENA with data from REN21.

In the pursue of leaving the Ivory Tower I had embarked myself on, I talked to people about my research, and heard from different characters what they had to tell me about renewable energy targets.

You can learn a lot from reading – and you need to read. But there is something different about talking with people involved in the processes you are studying. People, the so-called “experts” can actually share their expertise.

From Germany to a more international scenario, the message was clear: some countries started pursuing renewables as a way to phase out nuclear, and this development made it cheaper for the rest of the world to pursue renewable energies. Of course, first-movers benefited from this development as well.

Today, it makes economic sense to install renewables, since a lot of times they are cheaper than fossil fuels. You can see a graph below showing the decrease in costs of different renewable energies.

There are different reasons for why different countries adopted renewable energy targets, and it is important to identify and understand them.

Today, renewable energy targets for the power sector are almost everywhere. However, in other sectors such as transportation and heating these targets are still relatively novel, although they are increasing as well. This was pointed out by Duncan Gibb, from REN21.

Click image to see report.

Conclusions from Day 4

There are a lot of people working towards energy transitions.

Although there is data available, not a lot is known about how these transitions happened.

It is important to gain a better understanding of this.

Highlights from Day 4

  • Talking to people involved in tracking energy transitions was very good.
  • I had been carrying the tripod every single day, in case I got an interview. The one day I decided not to take it, I had one interview. And a unipod I became.
  • We had a press conference with two people in the audience (both of our professors).
  • I was able to hear Al Gore talk, which was pretty cool.
Al Gore at the Indonesian Pavilion at COP24
  • To close the day, we were able to go to a Chopin’s concert, who, as French as his name sounds, was Polish.
Chopin’s concert.