John Christensen
John Christensen
Topic: Sustainable Energy for All
John Christensen, is a Danish national and has both his Masters and Ph.D. degrees from the Technical University of Copenhagen. John is an energy and climate specialist and first started work with UN...
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Number of questions: [2]
Posted on 12/01/2017 12:04:47
Dear Mr. Christensen,

Here I have two questions about SE4ALL.
1) How would you see the role of fast-growing developing countries like China and what would be your advices to the government to get engaged and realize the goals of SE4ALL?

2) what's the concrete plan for SE4ALL in 2017? especially any potential events/work in Asia-Pacific area?

Thank you in advance!

Rong Rong (from China (People's Republic of ))
Dear Rong Rong

Thanks for the good questions, they are hard to cover completely but I will provide some answers.

Fast growing economies like China are evidently crucial to the achievement of all three Sustainable Energy for ALL/SDG 7 goals. On access China has over the last decades made dramatic progress and apart from small remote areas most of the population now has at least basic access to modern energy especially electricity. A number of progressive government and province level programs have been instrumental in this development.

India has in recent years embarked on a similar dedicated set of programs and is making significant progress although there are still many millions unserved.

For both countries the cooking situation has not changed equally fast, as cooking requires significantly more power that simple lighting and electronic devices. But both countries have focus on this issue.

On renewables again China has made very significant investments in both wind and solar technologies and e.g. on wind China has by far the largest installed capacity of around 150 Giga Watts and recently announced investment plans will increase this over the coming years.

On energy efficiency the latest 5 year plan includes ambitious action, but like in other countries it is more difficult to ensure Energy Efficiency implementation in a number of sectors than enhancing the number of Giga Watt power production. So most countries will need to make more dedicated efforts in the area of energy efficiency to make use of the huge potential. UN Environment is currently working with a number of Chines cities examining the potential for increasing building energy efficiency and increasing the use of district energy systems. The potential is huge and city managers are very interested and this effort is also supported nationally with the NDRC.

On events I can recommend you to look at the SEforALL,org website but just want to draw your attention to one major event the Asia Clean Energy Forum in Manila in June, this has become one of the really influential events providing an excellent opportunity to connect with some of the most innovative and forward-thinking clean energy advocates and practitioners in the Clean Energy arena, with speakers from around the world. Last year, more than 1,200 participants attended from 60 countries, and this year we expect an even greater turnout.

all for now

best regards


Posted on 11/01/2017 14:44:07
Could you elaborate your vision on how sustainable energy can be provided for all? Does "all" mean provision of energy to population without sufficient energy (which means expansion of energy supply) or replacement of fossil fuel with renewable energy? I guess that we need to look into both aspects. What are the challenges and opportunities? Thank you very much!
Yunae Yi (from Kenya)
Dear Yunae

Thanks for the question, let me give a bit of background.

The Sustainable Energy for All has three overarching targets:

- Ensure universal access to modern energy services
- Double share of renewable energy in global energy mix
- Double global rate of improvement in energy efficiency

These are almost identical to the targets for the Sustainable Development Goal 7 on Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

So yes the aim is to provide affordable and clean access to modern energy sources for the more than 1 billion people currently unserved, and at the same time at the global level through increase use of renewable energy and enhanced energy efficiency contribute to addressing the climate change mitigation challenge.

Each of the targets has its own challenges in terms of implementation, but if we focus on access than there is significant progress in esp. India and some select African countries where esp. the urban populations are increasing being served either through grid systems or local solutions. Rural areas in many other countries are not making the same progress and the challenges are many from political, financial and institutional and simply being able to implement the solutions.

On the opportunities side small scale renewables have increasingly become competitive and attractive for decentralised solutions. Many local initiatives are gaining momentum independent of central efforts. In the end it is evidently desirable to have integrated national plans and solutions but this is not possible in all countries at present.

UN Environment has been instrumental in supporting the establishment of the African Renewable initiative (AREI) which was launched at the COP in Paris and is currently moving towards implementation. UN Environment is also engaged in a number of activities supporting decentralised solutions, innovative finance schemes etc.

I could go on but stop here and will elaborate further related to other questions.

best regards