Renewable electricity output has increased in total world electricity output for the fourth year in a row. Its share has risen by two percentage points since 2007, which has taken it across the symbolic 20% mark. This growth is no quirk of fate, but is the result of an ambitious and concerted policy pursued by a number of nations that have worked for over a decade on developing production capacities and renewable energy technologies. In the electricity-generating sector, almost half the world's newly installed capacity in 2011 was for renewable energy facilities. Already more than a hundred countries have committed to renewable electricity production targets. This fact alone demonstrates the growing worldwide interest in these technologies.
Notwithstanding, the emerging energy transition is faltering as the recession, which is taking an increasingly severe toll on developed countries, is leading to dwindling support for renewable energies. If this ominous trend continues, it could undermine the momentum that has been gathering and curb progress in greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
EDF views energy transition as being centred on development and environmental issues, for our current development model must be reconciled with mounting environmental and social challenges.
If environmental transition is to be successful, our industrial artefacts must be greener; we must work on existing infrastructures and integrate environmental and societal constraints, primarily by greening today's competitive technologies through regulations that set out long-term frameworks. Each and every industry, enterprise and employee should be involved in contributing to social wellbeing and economic development. A new collective action model is called for that encourages mechanisms to enable public funds to support private investment that must be promoted to encourage the funding and general propagation of locally-based actions.
We need to start over from existing needs, those of our fellow citizens, and deliver specific, intelligent and powerful energy responses if we hope to enjoy a sustainable future.
At the start of this new century, energy transition is an issue of prime importance for Crédit Agricole, a major funding operator on the French economic scene. When the Crédit Agricole group penned its last project, it selected four areas of excellence as priorities for development. The "energy-saving and the environment" area is naturally one of them, and at the centre of its analysis, supporting energy efficiency and renewable energies developments are two major elements.
The group has already financed almost a quarter of the solar and wind power installations in France to meet the European and national targets set for 2020. It also has a firm foothold in the biomass sector through wood-fuelled heating networks and the development of anaerobic digestion projects. On the strength of the Group's expertise developed in these two sectors, its funding and investment bank is involved in supporting their growth in emerging countries.
We must be on our guard and conscious that changes towards a more energy-efficient world will be slow to come through. The bank supports the movement, but customers first need to be convinced that deciding to invest in a better-insulated dwelling or in economic industrial processes will enhance the economy and the environment. Awareness is increasing, but it is now a matter of urgency!
Observ'ER and its partners work on renewable energy sector monitoring projects producing an inventory, the "Worldwide of electricity production from renewable energy sources". In parallel with publication of this reference work, the Observatory also analyses renewable energy developments at European and national levels in the EurObserv'ER barometer (The state of renewable energies in Europe) and the Baromètre des énergies renouvelables électriques en France [Barometer of renewable electricity energies in France in French only].
President of the Observatoire des énergies renouvelables
Environment and Sustainable Development Director, EDF
Senior Manager, head of Environment, Sustainable Development Division, CA.sa