Statement at the Energy Ministerial Conference, Day 1 Closing Session

Delivered during Energy Ministerial Conference of the Astana 2017 Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me to begin by thanking participants for their contributions during this Ministerial Conference in Astana, graciously hosted by the Government of Kazakhstan. Your valuable insights into the opportunities to enhance the three pillars of sustainable energy – universal energy access, increasing renewable energy and boosting energy efficiency - have been greatly appreciated.

The Ministerial Statement on access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy we are about to adopt, is a positive signal of commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. Now, we need to ensure it leads to action on the ground in our countries and regions. As a global community we need to redouble our efforts to transition to sustainable energy consumption.

Although we are at the beginning of the journey to 2030, the challenges of SDG7 loom large. The International Energy Agency has forecast that even with new policy pledges in place, we will fall short of the universal energy access target, achieving only 91 per cent electrification and 72 per cent access to clean cooking fuels. Annual improvements in energy efficiency will reach 2.1 per cent, still short of the target of 2.6 per cent. The share of renewable energy in global energy consumption now stands at around 19 per cent of the total and by 2030 is projected to only reach 21 per cent. Clearly we must “bend the curve” of sustainable energy and move beyond current policies and approaches.

Energy access will require integrated responses that combine local development and income generation with provision of energy. Innovative financing and business models are needed to draw the private sector in to the task of rural energy provision. More effective energy efficiency policy frameworks are needed to address market failures, information gaps and encourage the adoption of efficient technologies, particularly in developing countries. Advancing renewable energy needs long term policy commitments to provide incentives, reduce risk and encourage projects at small, medium and large scale. Renewables will also benefit from initiatives such as increased access to finance, unwinding fossil fuel subsidies to level the playing field, greater cross-border power trade and more innovation to increase renewable energy penetration in power grids to mention just a few.

Today’s Ministerial Statement has given us added momentum to put in place the policies needed to attract the investment needed to catalyse these changes. A multilateral approach can accelerate the pace of change. It can deliver more effective regional and global energy governance; integrated, cross-border energy networks which exploit renewable energy’s full potential; electricity to improve lives in remote areas; stronger trade balances; more productive economies; clean skies; and job creation. By working together we can make this a reality.

I thank you.