The World Bank on Monday praised India’s success in renewable energy auctions that delivered record-setting low prices for solar power and said that the number of countries with strong policy frameworks for sustainable energy more than tripled — from 17 to 59 — in the eight years till 2017.
Many of the world’s largest energy-consuming countries significantly improved their renewable energy regulations since 2010, said the World Bank’s report — Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE) 2018, charting global progress on sustainable energy policies.
The report was released on the sidelines of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change(COP24).
Progress was even more marked in energy efficiency, with the percentage of countries establishing advanced policy frameworks growing more than 10-fold between 2010 and 2017.
Among countries with large populations living without electricity, 75 per cent had by 2017 put in place the policies and regulations needed to expand energy access.
But there were still significant barriers to global progress on sustainable energy.
While countries continue to be focused on clean energy policies for electricity, policies to decarbonize heating and transportation, which account for 80 per cent of global energy use, continued to be overlooked.
Senior Director for Energy and Extractives at the World Bank Riccardo Puliti said that the report contained a warning that without accelerated adoption of good policies and strong enforcement, the world’s climate goals and Sustainable Development Goal 7 were at risk.
This momentum was particularly marked in renewable energy. Among the countries covered by RISE, only 37 per cent had a national renewable energy target in 2010. By 2017, that had grown to 93 per cent, the report said.
By last year, 84 per cent of countries had a legal framework in place to support renewable energy deployment, while 95 per cent allowed the private sector to own and operate renewable energy projects.
Among the four SDG7 target areas — renewable energy, energy efficiency, electricity access and access to clean cooking — the last one continued to be the most overlooked and underfunded by policymakers.
There had been a little progress on standard-setting for cookstoves or on consumer and producer incentives to stimulate adoption of clean technologies, the report said.
“How did India structure its renewable energy auctions to deliver record-setting low prices for solar? At the same time, we need urgent action to address critical gaps, such as failing utilities, clean cooking, and the slow progress on decarbonizing heating and transport,” said Puliti.