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UNFC can help investors devise solid financing plans for renewables

It is estimated that over US$40 trillion of global investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon abatement will be needed to avoid a 2 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures. “That is one trillion dollars every year for the next 40 years, and this money needs to come from the private sector”, stated Tom Murley, Director, Head of Renewable Energy, HgCapital, speaking at the opening of the UNECE Resource Classification Week 2015 (27 April–1 May) to over 200 experts from all over the world. On average, wind production is 7% below forecast and 65% of wind farms are underperforming. “Better yield forecasting, especially for wind, would improve investment conditions and attract private sources. An identifiable global standard based on the United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC) methodology can help increase predictability and thus drive forward the investments needed for a low-carbon future” argued Tom Murley. HgCapital’s research confirms that getting the resource assessment wrong could lead to a 15% loss in revenues over the life of a project and a 26% lower internal rate of return.

In his opening remarks, UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary, Andrey Vasilyev stressed that the strong support of member States for the work on UNFC and its application to fossil fuels, uranium and renewables underlines the value placed on UNFC as the international standard for the reporting of all energy and mineral resources.

Work is progressing on application of UNFC to bioenergy and geothermal energy in particular. The development of an international system and a standardized terminology for reporting geothermal resources based on UNFC is being undertaken by UNECE in cooperation with the International Geothermal Association (IGA). Adoption of a global standard such as UNFC for assessing and financing projects can accelerate geothermal projects in East Africa, Europe and elsewhere.

David MacDonald, Chair of the Expert Group on Resource Classification and Vice President, Segment Reserves for BP, observed that the Expert Group on Resource Classification provides a unique forum in the world where experts in resource classification covering solid minerals and petroleum can meet and explore sustainable resource management and discuss and further develop UNFC and importantly take steps towards its application to renewable energy.