UNECE holds 4th Session Group of Experts on Renewable Energy

Getting more renewables into the global energy mix

By Antoinette Price

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Renewables Market Report series for 2017, renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world in 2016, thanks to a strong solar PV market. The Report forecasts that though coal will still be the largest source of electricity generation, renewables are expected to halve the gap down to 17% by 2022.

Triton platform tidal energy device (Photo: TidalStream) Marine energy comes from waves, currents, tides, and heat they collect from the sun (Photo: TidalStream)

Many countries around the world are working towards producing more power from and increasing the amount of renewables to be integrated into national energy supplies.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) met in November for its fourth session of the Group of Experts on Renewable Energy Efficiency (GERE). Attending the event were ministers, companies developing RE equipment and systems, and international organizations, such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

How standards and certification promote renewables

The aim of the meeting was to look at progress on implementing activities under the current two-year plan and those for the 2018-2019 period. Four themes discussed were:

  • Tracking progress of renewable energy (RE) development (based on the key findings in the REN21 UNECE Renewable Energy Status Report 2017)
  • Best practices on how to increase RE uptake
  • Integration of RE in future sustainable energy systems and cross-cutting collaboration
  • Promotion of RE investments 

Jonathan Colby, Chair, Marine Energy, Operational Management Committee for IECRE, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications, presented during the event.

He highlighted the importance of third party certification to consensus-based International Standards, which can reduce risk, improve market access and support the commercialization of marine energy.

Colby is also Chair of IEC Technical Committee (TC) 114: Marine Energy, which develops Standards that cover design and safety, including reliability and survivability; performance measurements of wave, tidal and water current energy converters; testing: laboratory, manufacturing and factory acceptance, measurement methodologies of physical aspects of the device and more. These Standards are used for certification within IECRE Marine Energy sector.

IECRE helps drive marine energy development

“The most important outcome of the GERE meeting was to have three conclusions included in the GERE Meeting Report, which is great for marine energy and for the work we do on Standards and certifications”, said Colby.

Conclusions reached:

  • “Requestes the Secretariat to explore how to promote dissemination and education of the value of consensus-based International Standards and Certification Systems for accelerating the uptake of renewable energy technologies, depending on availability of funding and in cooperation with key players.”
  • “Invite the Expert Group on Resource Classification to extend the United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources (UNFC) Task Force to include Marine Energy resources in close cooperation with the Group of Experts.”
  • “Recommended to prepare an ECE Renewable Energy Report for the entire ECE region including the full spectrum of renewable energy technologies, depending on availability of funding.”

More about IECRE

IECRE was created in 2014, because the ever-increasing demand for electricity, and the need to reduce power generated by fossil fuels, have led to rapid development and growth of the RE sector. IECRE also addresses the specific requirements of the RE sector, which are not covered by the existing IEC Conformity Assessment Systems.

The System aims to facilitate international trade in equipment and services for use in RE in the marine, solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy sectors, while maintaining the required level of safety. Each of these sectors will be able to operate IECRE Schemes that cover products, services and personnel, to provide testing, inspection and certification.

Find out more at IECRE.

GERE poster UNECE Group of experts on RE, meeting
Certification Scheme for RE equipment and services IECRE Certification Scheme for RE equipment and services
Triton platform tidal energy device (Photo: TidalStream) Marine energy comes from waves, currents, tides, and heat they collect from the sun (Photo: TidalStream)