Terje Osmundsen, Scatec Solar in Copenhagen: Kyoto-reform could kick-start solar revolution in developing countries

Press Release   •   Dec 11, 2009 08:55 GMT

“The Copenhagen climate summit can help kick-start the solar power revolution in Africa and Asia. With a sensible reform of CDM (Clean Development Mechanism), millions of small and medium-sized photovoltaic plants will replace pollutant and expensive diesel for peak power production in emerging markets”.

This was the main message in the presentation given by Scatec Solar Vice President Terje Osmundsen at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen Friday December 11. Mr Osmundsen, the founder and former chief-editor of the think-tank and weekly publication Mandag Morgen (Monday Morning), was invited to speak at the official side-event at the conference center hosted by the global Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP). Read more about the program here:

Below are some highlights from the analysis presented by Mr Osmundsen:

  • The average cost of power in sunny regions from photovoltaic plants has fallen from 1.25 to 0.25 $ since 1980
  • The costs of PV will continue to fall. By 2020 PV power costs will be about 60 % lower than today.
  • Assuming an average capital cost of 6 % p.a., the costs of PV power in most of Africa and Asia will be in the range 0.05- 0.07 $/kWh by 2020. This is significantly lower than real power prices paid by households and companies in the developing countries.
  • Already by 2015, solar PV will competitive with diesel and natural gas for peak power production in the South
  • If we kick-start the solar revolution now, millions of diesel generators in Africa and Asia can be replaced by solar power the coming years. This could lead to the reduction of hundreds of million tons of CO2 and other pollutants in the period to 2020, and to significantly lower fuel-import bills for the developing countries

The role of CDM and carbon finance
Mr Osmundsen furthermore showed how a reformed CDM – which is one of the key issues in Copenhagen - has a key role to play in supporting the solar revolution in the South. For long-term investments in sustainable power production, governments must be able to guarantee a 
a carbon “floor price” that can be counted by investors and lenders. More importantly, the bureaucratic, time-consuming and costly process of CDM-registration, must be streamlined.
Instead of requiring lots of documentation for each project, the revised Kyoto-treaty should open for more general support mechanisms for renewable energy projects in Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America.

In addition to being a leading supplier of grid-connected power plants, Scatec Solar has gained first hand experience in implementing stand alone solar PV systems.  Pilot installations were set in production i January 2009, in two rural villages in India. This pilot effort has resulted in the role out of 30 more villages in India supported by Indian and Norwegian Governments. Scatec Solar and Mr Osmundsen have this fall been invited to present the company’s experiences and policy-recommendations at high-level seminars at Wilton Park in the UK, Washington DC and Paris.

Sven Røst, Scatec, tel + 47 932 53 196