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If we’re going to solve the challenge of climate change, drive economic growth and ensure energy security, we need to make a rapid shift to clean energy -- not just here in the United States, but around the world.
That’s why the Energy Department helped launch the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in 2010. CEM is a forum where the nations who lead the world in clean energy innovation can share ideas and work together toward a low-carbon future. At this year’s Seventh Annual Clean Energy Ministerial meeting, CEM7, energy ministers and business leaders from more than 25 countries will tackle a number of challenges, including laying the groundwork for meeting the goals outlined in the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement and pushing for even more ambitious action over time.
But CEM is more than just a meeting. It's also a collection of groundbreaking campaigns and initiatives that provide people around the world with the tools they need to join the clean energy revolution.
Here are 10 ways that CEM is advancing clean energy worldwide:
1. Rallying the countries with the biggest potential impact.
CEM may seem like a small group -- just 23 countries and the European Commission -- but together, its members represent about 90 percent of global clean energy investment and 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. If we get it right with this group, we can change the energy trajectory for the rest of the world.
2. Bringing leaders together to discuss clean energy, clean energy, and more clean energy.
Source: CEM photo
The CEM is the only regular meeting of energy ministers focused exclusively on clean energy, which provides a vital opportunity for collaboration. The U.S. is about to host the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial annual meeting, to be held June 1-2 in San Francisco, California. Coming six months after the Paris Agreement, CEM7 is a key milestone for the United States and other CEM countries to show tangible follow-up on clean energy policies, programs and technologies.
3. Making our lights and appliances more energy-efficient.
Source: Energy Department photo by Quentin Kruger
Through the CEM’s Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative, South Korea, South Africa, Chile and India have either adopted or proposed 16 standards and policies to make things like water heaters, televisions and ceiling fans more energy-efficient. In addition, India became the first country in the world to comprehensively set quality and performance standards for LED lights -- standards that could save as much as 277 terawatt-hours of electricity and avoid 254 million metric tons of CO2 emissions (equal to 90 coal-fired power plants) between 2015 and 2030. The CEM also launched its Global Lighting Challenge at COP21 as a race to reach sales of 10 billion LED lights as quickly as possible.
4. Accelerating the deployment of solar and wind.
The CEM’s Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group partnered with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and our own National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to develop the groundbreaking Global Atlas for Renewable Energy. The Atlas is the largest initiative ever undertaken to assess renewable energy potential on a global scale and now provides energy professionals and policy makers around the world with free, high-quality, uniform data for solar and wind project assessment, investment decisions and policy planning.
5. Providing fast, free expert help on clean energy policy.
Many countries need help and need it fast to develop effective, ambitious clean energy policies. The CEM’s Clean Energy Solutions Center helps government policymakers design and implement policies and programs that advance deployment of clean energy technologies. To date, the Solutions Center’s Ask-An-Expert service has provided no-cost clean energy policy support to 95 developing countries. During COP21, a major expansion of the Solutions Center was announced to help countries achieve their climate and energy goals, including the launch of a new Finance Solutions Center to help mobilize clean energy investment.
6. Expanding access to energy where it’s needed most.
Through the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), the CEM is helping extend access to modern energy to the more than 1 billion people without electricity around the world. Global LEAP just launched the new Efficiency for Access coalition in conjunction with Sustainable Energy for All to harness the power of energy efficiency to make limited amounts of energy go further. The partnership also aims to unlock a wider range of energy services -- such as communication, cooling and health services -- while radically reducing the energy supply investment required, making off-grid energy services more affordable.
7. Shrinking the gender gap in clean energy careers.
Source: C3E Initiative
The CEM’s Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) initiative advances women’s leadership in clean energy and helps harness all talent in driving the clean energy revolution forward. C3E has expanded globally through an International C3E Ambassador Corps and the online community forum C3Enet.org. Everyone benefits: gender diversity can drive innovation, open new pathways for technology deployment, and boost the bottom line.
8. Driving the transition to low-carbon transportation.
The CEM’s Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) works to get more and more drivers around the world into zero-emission electric vehicles. EVI’s analyses and reports provide policy makers and practitioners with information and solutions to accelerate the global push toward cleaner, electric-powered transportation. For example, EVI analysis helped inform India’s goal of deploying 5 to 7 million hybrid and electric vehicles in the country by 2020. The data showed that if those targets were met, India could save 4.8 billion barrels of oil and 270 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2030.
9. Partnering with businesses to save energy and money.
The CEM’s Energy Management Working Group builds on 10 years of Energy Department investment to encourage businesses to adopt ISO 50001, an international energy management standard that helps companies and industry in the U.S. and around the world save energy and save money. Worldwide implementation of ISO 50001 by large energy-using organizations could lead to estimated energy savings of 80 exajoules by 2025, cost savings of $800 billion, and 4,500 million tons of avoided CO2 emissions, roughly the annual output of 40 coal-fired power plants.
10. Supporting the transition to 21st century power systems.
Technical assistance provided through the 21st Century Power Partnership (21CPP) is helping countries like India, Mexico and South Africa manage the integration of renewable energy and the deployment of large-scale energy efficiency and smart grid solutions. In partnership with other CEM initiatives, 21CPP also launched the CEM Power System Challenge to support the development of country-specific implementation plans for power system transformation.