UN launches International Year of Sustainable Energy for All19th Jan 2012
This year has been named the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All and the United Nations has set renewable energies targets to be achieved by 2030.
To mark the occasion, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon launched the new initiative earlier this week (January 15), outlining three main objectives - ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
Speaking at the World Future Energy Summit, the secretary-general described achieving sustainable energy - through solar power and other technology - as both feasible and necessary.
"This is the right time for the initiative," he said.
"Across the world, we see momentum building for concrete action that reduces energy poverty, catalyses sustainable growth and mitigates climate change."
According to Mr Ban one in five people around the world lacks access to modern electricity.
"We need to turn on the lights for all households. To do that, we need to scale up success examples of clean energy and energy efficient technology. We need innovation that can spread throughout the developing world where energy demand is growing fastest."
The international organisation is calling on governments and the private sector to help achieve the targets set and will unveil an action plan at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development - dubbed Rio+20 - in Brazil in June.
"Now, more than ever, the world needs bold leadership to make the promise of renewable energy a reality," Mr Ban added.
And according to industry experts, Australia is poised to increase its renewable energy infrastructure.
Speaking to EcoGeneration Magazine, chief executive officer of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) Nathan Fabian described the current landscape for investment in renewable and clean energy in Australia as promising.
"Australia compares well, and there are a couple of reasons for that. We have lots of natural assets, a stable economic environment and growing economy," Mr Fabian told the publication (January/February 2012 edition).
"Most other countries do not have these fundamentals at the moment."
Mr Fabian highlighted the introduction of the federal government's carbon tax - along with the introduction of the 2020 Renewable Energy Target and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation - as a promising step.
"In the next couple of years the opportunities and projects that have been around for some time in the clean energy sector are going to start happening."
Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar correspondent