Phasing-out of Inefficient Lighting, Can Culminate in Major Economic And Climate Benefits


 

By Marianne de Nazareth

22 June, 2012
Countercurrents.org

Rio is not all negative, with positive national decisions being taken by countries, keeping the environment firmly in focus. Phasing out of inefficient lighting has been found to provide both major climatic benefits but also salient economic savings as well. In Rio ,countries have agreed to 2016 as the target date for transition to energy efficient bulbs. Plus looking at the various countries new policy status map and huge savings potentials have been assesed with these measures.

As high as a total of five percent of global electricity consumption could be saved every year ,through a transition to efficient lighting, resulting in annual worldwide savings of over US$ 110 billion, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners have said in a statement in Rio de Janeiro .

In some cases, the assessments show that the financial savings and climate change mitigation benefits achieved by phasing out incandescent lighting in developing and middle-income countries are much more significant than previous studies suggested.

The staggering yearly savings in electricity of the phase-out, has been found to be equivalent to closing over 250 large coal-fired power plants, resulting in avoided investment costs of approximately US$ 210 billion. Additionally, the 490 megatonnes (Mt) of CO2 savings per year is equivalent to the emissions of more than 122 million mid-size cars. A group of 14 pilot countries will seek to benefit from such opportunities as part of a Global Efficient Lighting Partnerships Programme, co-ordinated by UNEP and partners, that will get underway next month.

Interested countries can receive support to develop national phase-out plans for inefficient lamps from experts provided by the en.lighten initiative: a public-private partnership led by UNEP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in collaboration with Philips Lighting, Osram AG, and the National Lighting Test Centre of China.

Plus a new global policy map was launched, also produced by the en.lighten initiative, shows in detail the status of efficient lighting policies in countries around the world. The first resource of its kind in the lighting industry, the online map provides an overview of efficient lighting policies and successes, specifically in the residential sector. The information for each country covers standards, labels, supporting policies, product quality control activities and end-of-life policies, as well as a national ranking in terms of policy development. Ratings say en.lighten will be regularly updated according to a country’s progress in achieving a sustainable transition to efficient lighting.

“One of the most cost-effective ways to contribute to the reduction of global carbon emissions is the phase-out of inefficient lighting technologies,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director.

“Increasing numbers of countries are now achieving major financial savings, generating green jobs, and seeing reductions in mercury, sulphur dioxide, and other pollutants from power stations, through a switch to efficient lighting. As the Rio+20 negotiations continue, these new findings from the en.lighten initiative demonstrate that ambitious policies and partnerships must be seized if the social, economic, and environmental benefits of a transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient green economy are to be realized.”

“The en.lighten initiative is a showcase for the benefits of public private partnership,” said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility.

“Working together, we are accelerating the understanding of technology options, establishing quality and certification protocols, and promoting sound policies for countries to achieve their climate mitigation goals. We need more private sector leaders to follow the example of Philips and Osram and join the GEF in advancing technologies to protect the environment and foster sustainable development.”

Country lighting assessments, were released in Rio +20 which analyzed the benefits of shifting from inefficient light bulbs for consumers, the industrial, commercial and street lighting sectors. Products cover a wide range of technologies including innovative LEDs.The assessments were produced in conjunction with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and over 150 countries including Russia , India , China , and Brazil .

“The cleanest, most secure type of energy is the one that is not needed, which is why the IEA attaches so much importance to energy efficiency in our 28 member countries and beyond,” said Maria Van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA)

“Lighting has a key role to play in improving energy efficiency, and continuing efforts to phase-out inefficient lighting products at a global level will enhance energy security and reduce global energy demand.”

The new assessments show that India could cut its lighting electricity consumption by over 35 percent, which is equivalent to avoiding the construction of 11 large coal-fired power plants and taking over 10 million cars off the road. The annual saving would be over US$2 billion. Due to the technological shift towards innovative LED technology, there is a great opportunity for countries to leapfrog to this advanced lighting solution in national markets.

Although LED lamps are currently expensive to buy for individual consumers, bulk procurement by governments, tax incentives and subsidies are making them a viable alternative. LEDs do not contain any mercury and last up to ten times longer than their CFL counterparts.

“Lighting accounts for around 20 percent of global electricity consumption. Therefore, energy efficient products are key to a sustainable and green future. Green is lean,” said Constantin Birnstiel, Chief Sustainability Officer, Osram AG. “As a long-term partner of the UN’s en.lighten initiative, OSRAM strongly supports the combat against climate change with energy-efficient lighting around the globe. Private partners can accelerate the success of global initiatives with their experiences and resources in individual countries.”

“Already many emerging and developing countries have committed to phase out inefficient lighting, thereby helping to create the first global industry sector transition to low-carbon innovative and sustainable solutions,” said Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs, Philips Lighting.

To date, almost 50 developing and emerging countries supported by en.lighten have committed to phasing out incandescent lamps by 2016. Work also begins next month in 14 new pilot countries to develop national plans towards phasing out incandescent lighting, as part of the UNEP en.lighten Global Efficient Lighting Partnerships Programme. The first national workshops will be held in July in Uruguay and Chile , followed by Belize , Costa Rica , Dominican Republic , El Salvador , Guatemala , Honduras , Nicaragua , Panama , Morocco , Jordan , Philippines and Tunisia .

2012 marks the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, which aims to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. For the lighting sector, this goal can be reached in just four years, if the target to phase out inefficient incandescent lamps worldwide by 2016 is met.

Key facts at a glace:

· Electricity for lighting accounts for almost 20 percent of electricity consumption and 6 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide. According to the IEA, approximately 3 percent of global oil demand can be attributed to lighting.

· The global demand for artificial light will be 60 percent higher by 2030 if no switch to efficient lighting occurs.

· Incandescent lamps have already been phased-out, or are scheduled to be phased-out in most OECD countries, Argentina , Brazil , China , Colombia , Mexico , Vietnam and other developing countries.

· If Brazil extends current legislation to include commercial, industrial and street lighting applications, the country could save close to US $ 4 billion and reduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 400,000 cars being removed from the road.

· The complete transition to efficient lighting in all sectors throughout Africa could reduce electrical demand enough to electrify over 14 million presently un-serviced households.

· Up to 95 percent of the energy emitted by incandescent lamps is heat, and their efficiency is low. In comparison, incandescent bulbs last around 1,000 hours which is significantly shorter than compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) which can last up to 12,000 hours.

· Like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs contain small amounts of mercury, which complicates their disposal.

· Some countries, such as Nigeria and China , are leapfrogging directly to light emitting diodes (LEDs) from incandescent lamps. LEDs do not contain mercury and have other advantages such as long life and low heat generation.

(The writer is a UNEP and UNFCCC fellow)

 

Solar Panels Reflect Bright Future for Rural Papua New Guinea


GOROKA, Apr 2, 2012 (IPS) – In Papua New Guinea (PNG), which has no national power grid but large river systems and abundant sunshine, renewable energy has tremendous potential to transform remote rural lives with clean and sustainable electricity.

Ten years ago Nick Nait, who lives in a small village near Mount Sion in the Eastern Highlands with his wife and children, introduced electricity to his household for the first time. While working for a missionary organisation Nait learnt how to make solar power systems and subsequently built a small one for his two-room dwelling.

The single solar panel powers a radio, lighting and television.

For Nait, solar power is affordable and dependable. “It depends on the weather, but when there is sun, there is no problem,” he said, “It is very reliable and I rarely have to do repairs.”

After the initial cost of making and installing the solar unit, he has had few ongoing expenses and, once fully charged, the system will provide light in his home for one month.

Like Nait, many people living in the rural Highlands face economic and environmental challenges. Garaio Gafiye of Clean Energy Solutions, a consultancy for renewable energy projects in PNG, told IPS, “The Highlands is a very rugged area and there are so many communities. Renewable energy is very important, especially hydro, there is so much of it, and solar also. But the problem is incomes are very low in the Highlands and managing money can be quite difficult.”

Families have been forced to become very resourceful in order to access energy at minimal expense.

“Solar is very easy to install,” Gafiye continued, “Now if you go to some of the communities, (at least) one or two people have solar systems, just simple ones. They just get the panel and a battery and put it together.”

Obtaining sustainable electricity has made a vital difference to Nait’s family.

“We now have lighting in our home, access to information and the news from radio and TV and my children can do their school work and study in the evenings,” Nait explained, “Although we do not have an electric stove, my wife finds it very helpful to have lighting while she is cooking at home.”

Now he plans to expand the capacity of his solar unit to drive a water pump and eventually bring clean water from a nearby well to his home.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), without access to energy, developing countries become trapped in poverty. The denial of choices to improve human development through energy is known to negatively impact infant mortality, life expectancy and income generation, among many others.

Sadly, this year, the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, the IEA estimates that 1.4 billion people, or nearly one quarter of the world’s population, remain without access to electricity.

PNG Power Limited, the nation’s only power provider, claims it is unfeasible to construct a national grid system due to dense mountainous topography and long distances between load centres. Therefore, many villages still rely on traditional biomass, such as firewood, for cooking and heating, with diesel generators providing a popular alternative. But the high price of fuel means that generators are used sparingly, often for no more than a few hours each day.

“It is very cheap to purchase a diesel engine, but it won’t last long,” Gafiye said, “It could last four or five years but after that, if you work out the economics, it is not (cost efficient) to keep running it.”

Renewable technologies, which are practical for standalone systems and provide power 24 hours per day, are the best option for those living in remote areas.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the total primary energy supply in PNG is 145.9 petajoules (PJ), of which renewable energy accounts for 115.2 PJ (roughly 79 percent).

Read full article here

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