Keynote Address Launch of the World Energy Outlook 2018 World Energy Outlook 2018 Launch International Energy Agency & VERBUND Technical University Vienna, Kuppelsaal Karlsplatz 13 November 14, 2018, 11:30 – 14:30Your Excellency Minister Elisabeth Köstinger, Mr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Mr. Gerhard Roiss, President of Verbund, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank the International Energy Agency and VERBUND for bringing us all together for the launch of the 2018 World Energy Outlook in Vienna. It is a great privilege for me to address such a distinguished group of global leaders and experts across a wide variety of sectors and regions to talk about “Electrification” and “Making it Happen”. As a child growing up during the Korean War, I studied with candlelight. Electric conveniences such as refrigerators and fans were largely unknown. I had to study until I was a freshman at University under candle light. Yet within my lifetime reality changed utterly. Easy access to energy opened abundant new possibilities for my family, my community, my country and so many others around the globe. We have come a long way and one thing is clear: Energy transforms lives, businesses and economies. And it transforms our planet —our climate, natural resources and ecosystems. Since 2010, less than a decade ago, the average costs of solar power has dropped 73% and the cost of wind energy has dropped 23%, respectively. It may be kind of meaningless for me to point this numbers out in front of many experts like yourselves. The costs of battery storage technologies are forecasted to decline by as much 60% over the next decade. In many scenarios, renewable energy is now more competitive than conventional fossil fuel-based energy. In other words, we have arrived at the tipping point where investing in renewable energy is no longer only the right thing to do to, it is also the sensible thing to do. If we were to push for the new construction of traditional fossil fuel power plants, we would be at risk of being viewed as not only “immoral” but also as “unwise”. Still, real world change is not occurring as rapidly as we want, and current electrification rates are insufficient to achieve Sustainable Development Goal No. 7. Today still nearly one out of every five people lacks access to electricity. More than twice that number — 2.8 billion people – still rely on wood, charcoal, animal and crop waste or other solid fuels to cook their food and heat their homes. For example, Sub-Saharan Africa is far behind the rest of the world in terms of electricity generation capacity, per capita electricity consumption and household access to electricity. If the current trend continues, 674 million people will remain without access, even in 2030. At the same time the global thermostat is rising, threatening development goals and economies small and large. Still we need to make modern energy services available to all, increase efficiency and increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. This is why I launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. It has three targets and the headquarters is now here in Vienna. We must do all of that in a sustainable manner. Ladies and Gentlemen, In order to address this, there are many ways in which we can redouble our efforts, including:
- Aiming to achieve the scale of investment and deployment required, by focusing on interventions that develop a fully sustainable market chain from manufacture, to distribution, retail and end-user consumption;
- Increasing the share of renewables for end-users, including heating, cooling and transportation and by utilizing the rapid technological advances;
- Decentralizing renewable energy systems, including mini-grids, to ensure that people will have access to power despite disruption to energy services, especially targeting LDCs as energy services are simply non-existent in many regions;
- Creating institutional arrangements that will increase international cooperation and collaboration; support research and development for green growth and spread those technologies to developing countries; and
- Developing policies and other innovative ways for the private sector and public institutions—especially those that receive R&D funding from their governments—to be more active in transferring technologies to developing countries so they can decrease fossil fuel imports, reduce air pollution and create green jobs.
- It supports countries to achieve sustainable development and climate action through new and innovative green industries and jobs;
- It supports governments to develop socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable green growth plans and policies; and
- It supports its Member countries achieve the NDCs (national determined contributions) by delivering climate action services in the areas of mitigation, transparency and finance.