South-South Cities Exchange in Renewable Energy

4 November 2021, Beijing: The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and International Center on Small Hydro Power (IC-SHP) co-organized an online South-South cities exchange and needs assessment event on renewable energy use and development under UNOSSC’s Cities Project framework. More than 70 experts and city representatives from Nepal, China, Albania, Nigeria, and other developing countries attended this online exchange.

In July 2021, to better understand developing country cities’ needs and priorities on renewable energy, and to support their development efforts, the UNOSSC Cities Project team conducted an online survey jointly with IC-SHP. In accordance with the survey feedback, “training workshop”, “study tour”, “technology transfer”, and “technical guidance” attracted a lot of attention. In view of the demand for learning good practices on renewable energy from cities of developing countries, the UNOSSC and IC-SHP coordinated this online event.

Ms. HUANG Yan at the event

At the opening, Ms. HUANG Yan, Deputy Director of IC-SHP, pointed out that small hydropower is not only a green and renewable energy source but also an important foundation for developing countries to boost their economies, increase employment and improve people’s livelihoods. At the important occasion of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, UK, IC-SHP is pleased to be able to provide a platform for city representatives and renewable energy experts to share experience and facilitate needs assessment and project collaborations in renewable energy development.

“Many countries around the world are endowed with good renewable energy resources and have accumulated their unique policies, technologies, and experiences. Through multilateral platforms and mutual learning, we can promote South-South cooperation in the field of renewable energy.”

Mr. YANG Xiuqing at the event

During the exchange session, Mr. YANG Xiuqing, Vice Mayor of Lishui City, China, focused on introducing Lishui’s practices of integrating small hydropower construction with ecological protection. Lishui City is in the southwest of China’s Zhejiang Province, with 3,573 peaks above 1,000 meters and a forest coverage rate of 81.7%. The city is very rich in hydro energy resources and has 803 hydropower stations, of which 799 are small hydropower. These plants produce an average of 7 billion kWh (kilowatt-hours) per year and play an important role to promote economic growth.

“We integrate the goal of building small hydropower in line with modern development needs into the construction of eco-hydropower demonstration areas and protection of rivers and lakes, thus creating a unique and harmonious micro landscape to extend the value of small hydropower.”

Mr. Pjerin Ndreu, Mayor of Lezhë, Albania, suggested that using renewable energy sources for production represents a long-term objective of the country’s energy policies: support for the overall economic development, an increase of energy supply security level, and protection of the environment. In the Municipality of Lezhë, solar, wind, and sea wave energy all have potential in the area and the city has been at the forefront in speeding up the procedures for the finalization of a mega wind power project called “EOLIK Park.”

Mr. Pjerin Ndreu at the event

Ms. FU Lirong, Deputy Director of Energy Bureau of Development and Reform Commission of Chenzhou City, China, introduced that Chenzhou City has abundant hydro, wind, and photovoltaic resources. In 2020, 43 percent of the city’s total electricity consumption came from clean energies, creating a solid foundation for the city to achieve carbon peak and carbon neutrality. Alongside it, the development of small hydropower has created around 20,000 jobs and brought economic growth to both mountain and rural areas.

Mr. Gyanendra Subedi at the event

Mr. Gyanendra Subedi, Mayor of Belbari Municipality, Nepal, believed that renewable energy sources will play a key role in resolving the city’s increasing demand for energy. With a growing population and demand for energy, Nepal is faced with energy-related issues, such as the rising price of LPG gas, the high degradation rates of forest resources, etc. Considering the high cost of installation of solar power and wind energy, Belbari City has started to install biogas plants as an alternative energy source. Biogas will be generated from the municipal solid waste management plant to be jointly established with six neighboring municipalities.

Mr. TU Silei, Deputy Secretary-general of the Multi-energy Complementary Committee, International Network on Small Hydropower Comprehensive Service Platform (IN-SHP), shared the journey of wind energy development in China and excellent cases of wind power while advocating to bring green energy into thousands of households.

Mr. Buba Isa, Director of Renewable and Conventional Energy Technology Department, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Nigeria, presented the current situation and development needs of the country in renewable energy and looks forward to furthering South-South cooperation opportunities with UNOSSC and IC-SHP.

In the Q&A session, Mr. Roshan Pandey, Program Chief, Small Hydro Power Equipment Testing and Research Lab of the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) briefed the opportunities for renewable energy, as well as the country’s development plans and policies in the field.

Ms. Dingding Sun at the event

Ms. Dingding Sun, Programme Coordination Specialist of UNOSSC, highlighted the crucial role of South-South cooperation in promoting renewable energy development in some of the least developed, remote, and landlocked countries and regions. UNOSSC through Cities Project stands ready to work with partners like IC-SHP to facilitate more technical exchanges and project cooperation for cities in need.

The exchange was coordinated under the framework of the Cities Project. Initiated by UNOSSC, with funding support from the Government of China, the Cities Project aims to promote South-South and triangular cooperation at the local level in advancing sustainable development globally.

Under the Cities Project,  “South-South Cities Clusters” were launched on the South-South Galaxy platform as an online community of practice dedicated to facilitating information sharing, knowledge exchange, networking, and project collaboration among cities, local authorities, UN agencies, and other development partners. Currently, it offers interactive thematic spaces on COVID-19 Response and Public Health; Sustainable Tourism Recovery, Heritage Protection and Creative Economy; Sustainable Agriculture Value Chain Development; E-Commerce Development, Digitization and Smart Cities; Disaster Risk Reduction, Mitigation and Resilient Cities; Sustainable Transport, Air Quality, Waste Management, Green Cities as well as Renewable Energy Development. Today’s exchange also serves as an inaugural exchange of renewable energy cities cluster.  Cities partners who joined today’s exchange expressed their strong interests in participating in more future sectoral exchanges with a broader international development community through the South-South Cities Cluster platform.