Safe clean energy future unfolds on virtual Heliosthana | WWF

Safe clean energy future unfolds on virtual Heliosthana

Posted on 11 May 2010    
Heliosthana, a virtual island showing the way to a sustainable energy future.
© Bigger Picture
Brussels, Belgium – A how-to guide for a safe clean energy future, based around the virtual Mediterranean nation Heliosthana was launched today by WWF and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (hbs), at the Spanish EU Presidency conference on the Mediterranean Solar Plan in Valencia. Heliosthana, whose six basic steps are immediately applicable in many Mediterranean countries, is built upon realistic solutions that pave the way towards 100% renewable energy.

Fossil fuels are finite, there is an insecurity of energy supply and prices are unstable and destablilising. In addition climate change and nature loss is at our doors, so finding tangible and immediate solutions are critical. Heliosthana provides this by describing a decade-long harmonious transition towards a sustainable energy system that respects people and the planet, while sustaining a balanced economic and social development.

In 2020 Heliosthana combines low energy intensity (20% less than in 2010) with a promising share of renewable energy (20% of primary energy supply). Part of the renewable electricity is exported to neighbouring countries. Education, R&D and healthcare have benefited from the money saved due to reduced investments in fossil fuels.

The Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) has set a target of 20 Gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2020 and the Desertec Industrial Initiative talks about a potential 400 bn EUR investment in renewables in Northern Africa. WWF supports sustainable energy development in the Mediterranean region, however in order to be effective, the MSP still needs to take bold steps to move towards a solar region.

The solution is highlighted in the case of Heliosthana, where MSP projects would firstly need to be part of national energy strategies of participant countries. Secondly MSP needs to take on a coordinating role to develop and help implement national solar plans, spur cooperation with local and regional universities, facilitate and reduce the cost of environmental and social research through regional co-operation. Finally smaller projects need to be bundled to make them bankable and interesting for large investors and banks.

Jean-Philippe Denruyter, Manager for Global Renewable Energy Policy at WWF International and Special Advisor to the Government of Heliosthana, said: “WWF believes that Heliosthana has become a role model for its Northern and Southern neighbours and an ideal partner for the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP) to reach its objectives. It highlights that each country in the region should elaborate its own solar plan, boosting prosperity and increasing security”.

Further information:
Jean-Philippe Denruyter, Manager of Global Renewable Energy Policy, WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 2 740 09 27
Mobile: +32 496 126 805

Alexandra Bennett, Communication Director, WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 2 740 09 25
Mobile: +32 477 393 400

Notes to the editors
Heliosthana =
«Helios» : the personification of the god of the sun in Greek mythology
«Sthana» : meaning ‘place’ in Sanskrit.

Heliosthana’s six steps are:

1. A strategic country-wide vision, in consultation with all major stakeholders. Its implementation requires a structured institutional framework, a clear separation of government roles between policy making, implementation, action plans (through agencies) and energy sector activities. Solid statistics and indicators enable better decision making.

2. Three energy policy pillars: an effective energy supply security system, guaranteed access to energy (e.g. through a social tariff), and phase-out of fossil fuel and electricity subsidies.

3. Structural measures for an efficient energy use: consumer behaviour analysis, efficient regulation (e.g. standards and labels), accompanying measures and incentives, and adapted financial packages.

4. Assessment of renewable energy needs and potentials, together with a regulatory framework, a feed-in tariff and innovative finance mechanisms.

5. A model partnership with the MSP: diverse MSP projects and electricity trading in the region are fully integrated in the national energy strategy.

6. Long term urban plans with denser and more efficient cities and buildings, connected with a reliable public transport scheme, and closer distances between working, living and leisure centres. The new vehicles combine low energy consumption and new energy sources, such as renewable electricity.

Heliosthana, a virtual island showing the way to a sustainable energy future.
© Bigger Picture Enlarge
Solar thermal electric panels at the EU research centre, Almeiria, Andalucia. Spain
© Claire DOOLE / WWF Enlarge

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