1. Introduction

Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions -henceforth known as NAMAs - can be crucial in promoting renewable energy (RE) for electricity generation, particularly in developing countries. This Handbook centres on the future role for NAMAs; developed during the negotiations under the UNFCCC as a planned, voluntary GHG mitigation action for a country that does not have a legally binding emissions commitment. In essence, NAMA notification indicates that a UNFCCC-backed label is assigned to national development activities with mitigation effects. This action can 1) showcase a country's unilateral mitigation activities and/or 2) attract international support for the implementation of such activities via financial, technical or capacity building assistance.

RE has become an integral part of the global power sector with enormous growth rates over the past decade. Global investments in RE rose to USD 257 billion in 2011; compared to just USD 39 billion in 2004 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), 2012). Global installed wind capacity reached 238 Gigawatts (GW) in 2011, three times more than only five years before (International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), 2012a); installed solar pho-tovoltaics (PV) capacity grew by an impressive 73% in 2011 to reach 70 GW (IRENA, 2012b); and grid-parity (i.e. equality of costs of solar power to retail electricity prices) has been attained at various locations. Nevertheless, 75% of the global installed generation capacity is still non-renewable (REN21, 2012), energy use is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, and barriers to a comprehensive RE deployment do exist. If these can be overcome, RE development is likely to continue apace.

The rapid growth of energy demand, particularly in coal-rich Asian countries, has led to a surge in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions during the last decade. Anthropogenic climate change is driven by a number of GHGs, most relevant among which is CO2; its atmospheric concentration has risen from 280 parts per million (ppm) in pre-industrial years to 400 ppm in 2012. Since 1850, global temperatures have already increased by over 0.7°C; if GHG emissions continue to grow unchecked, they could rise by more than 4°C by the end of this century.

Under the aegis of the UNFCCC, endorsed in 1992, over 190 governments have committed themselves to prevent a dangerous level of climate change. RE can play a key role in mitigating climate change since it allows the combination of further economic growth and increased energy production with a reduction in GHG emissions. This "green growth" path is particularly interesting for developing countries, which can ben-efit from RE in several ways: RE can be an attractive option to provide access to electricity in rural areas that are currently without grid access. In the long run, RE deployment can also help reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports and demand for foreign currency. Furthermore, the local air pollution that accompanies most fossil fuel uses can be prevented.

NAMAs provide a means to address both climate change and national development strategies by designing public sector interventions that mobilise private participation in low-carbon development and specifically in the expanded use of RE sources.

This Handbook explains the NAMAs as an instrument that can support RE deployment to RE experts and policy makers in developing countries. Chapter 2 introduces the NAMA concept and discusses why NAMAs are of interest. Chapter 3 analyses NAMAs in the context of RE, illustrating typical RE barriers, outlining potential NAMA activities and discussing various instruments and measures to kick-start RE. Chapter 4 provides a guideline for NAMA development that addresses the steps involved in developing NAMA concepts, elaborating them for implementation and operation and finally evaluating their impacts. The Handbook concludes (Chapter 5) with three case studies on the potential role of RE NAMAs in Peru, Kenya and Grenada. These case studies illustrate the barriers to RE within specific country circumstances and how NAMAs can help to overcome them.