Dr Raturi during his presentation. Photo courtesy: KIREC2019
The University of the South Pacific (USP) took part in the Korea International Renewable Energy Conference (KIREC) held in Seoul, South Korea from 23rd -25th October 2019.
KIREC2019 was the 8th conference in the IREC series organised by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century (REN21), a think tank and global multi-stakeholder network which is focused on renewable energy policy.
Dr. Atul Raturi from the School of Engineering and Physics was invited to speak at KIREC2019 by the REN21 and Korea Energy Agency. He was a speaker on the panel entitled ‘Social dimension of energy transition: How can citizens benefit from the uptake of renewable energy in their communities?’
This session moderated by Mr. Takada from UNDESA began with a paper presentation by Dr. Rabia Ferroukhi, Director, IRENA which described IRENA studies on the impact of renewable energy development on the number of new jobs. Other speakers on the panel represented Power for all – an international NGO, Orsted – the largest energy company in Denmark and The Bridge International - a Korea based impact financier that supports renewable energy SMEs.
In his contribution, Dr. Raturi introduced the energy trilemma faced by the PICs- energy security, energy access and climate change.
Citing case studies from PNG and Fiji, he then deliberated on how productive use of renewable energy can help alleviate a number of SDG challenges in the island countries.
He talked about how pico-solar systems are helping PNG farmers to utilise mobile phones to access markets while Fijian fishing communities are seeing an improvement in their livelihoods when solar powered freezers were made available in remote locations (a USP project).
The audience, comprising energy professionals was very keen to learn more about the sustainable energy development in the Pacific as evidenced by the ensuing question and answer session.
IRECs are considered one of the most eminent biannual high level policy events and have taken place in Beijing, Bonn, Delhi, Abu Dhabi, South Africa and Mexico previously.
According to REN21, “IRECs bring leaders from across society to meet and discuss policies to help build collective know-how to advance renewables at the international, national and sub-national levels”.
One special feature about KIREC 2019 was the inclusion of Seoul Metropolitan government as a joint host emphasising the importance of renewable energy solutions for sustainable cities. Seoul aims to be known as a ‘solar city’ by 2022 by generating most of its electricity with solar PV.
The conference programme was divided into five tracks viz Policy and Market Design; Cities; Finance, Technology and Industrialisation; Innovation; and Special Topics including globalisation and trade issues.
The conference was inaugurated by Dr. Yunmo Sung, Minister Trade, Industry and Energy of Republic of Korea who talked about renewable energy policies and performance in Korea. Korea is striving to replace its coal and nuclear power based electricity generation with renewable energy resources which includes 68 GW of solar PV and offshore wind power.
The conference keynote was delivered by the Former U.N. Secretary-General and Chair of Korea's National Council on Climate and Air Quality, Ban Ki-moon.
Mr. Ban talked about the interlinkages between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and renewable energy development. Stating that ‘nature does not forgive’ he elaborated how clean energy systems will also help reduce the air pollution levels encountered globally. This was followed by a roundtable on Vision for Renewable Energy and Energy Transition with IRENA DG Mr. La Camera, Minister Sung and GGGI DG Dr. Rijsberman as speakers among others.
REN21 also launched its 2019 Asia and the Pacific Renewable Energy Status Report on the margins of this conference. This report was prepared in collaboration with ADB and UNESCAP and presents the current status of renewable energy in the region.
Dr Raturi was one of the project advisors and also a contributor for this report. The report can be downloaded from: https://www.ren21.net/wpcontent/uploads/2019/05/REN21_Asia_Report_2019_Web.pdf .
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