18 January 2021| Articles
High-level Panel on Energy Transition for Sustainable Post-COVID Recovery
Almost 2000 delegates from more than 150 governments, the private sector and civil society gathered virtually to discuss key issues in the global energy transformation and chart the way forward for the Agency against a backdrop of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General, presented the Annual Report on the Implementation of the Work Programme and Budget and opened the floor for Member Interventions. The real-time account of the session is accessible below. All recorded Member statements can be found on IRENA YouTube channel.
See the Full Programme.
See the video statement by Japan's State Minister for Economic Trade, Mr Ejima Kiyoshi
Members Interventions continue with focus on advancing energy transition and scaling up renewable energy deployment. Members share their goals and lessons learnt from project implementation to date, underlying the importance of just transition, community benefits including jobs and energy security.
Today's Member Interventions have started.
Mr Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi , 11A Vice-President and Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India is presiding this session. He welcomed all participants an opened the floor for interventions.
Hon Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Natural Resources in Canada stated that the work in his country is way under way. Canada is already beating the Paris Agreement 2030 climate targets. The country is planning to phase out electricity from coal by the end of this decade and is investing in new sources of electricity generation to achieve net-zero goals. In addition, the country has set a national strategy for hydrogen and plans on supporting zero emission vehicles, fund retrofits and adopt nature-based solutions for a cleaner future. "IRENA is central to all of this," he added.
As the newest Member of @IRENA, #Austria has very ambitious #climate and #energy targets - aiming #climate neutrality by 2040 & 100% #renewable electricity consumption by 2030.@lgewessler, Minister @bmk_infothek, shares their action plan to achieve these goals. #IRENA11A pic.twitter.com/xRE5dmrtUR— IRENA (@IRENA) January 18, 2021
Mr Hae-Seok Ryu, South Korea praised IRENA's work on hydrogen and the publication of recent reports on Green hydrogen cost reduction and Green hydrogen: A guide to policy making. he continued that the policy study has become a guidelines for policy makers to advance green hydrogen as a key element in the decarbonisation efforts. South Korea has created a net-zero 2020 action plan to achieve sustainable development and promote welfare. Mr Hae-Seok Ryu underlined the importance of partnerships and working together for global green growth, with IRENA leading the efforts.
Members Interventions have started.
H.E. Mr Benoit Revaz from Switzerland congratulates Mr La Camera on quick response in adapting to the current situation and focusing on what opportunities may emerge from the COCID-19 crisis. he welcomes IRENA's increasing attention to issues of sustainable finance.
"#Malaysia has set a target of 31% #renewableenergy in power capacity in 2025, and 40% in 2035." says @drshamsulanuar, Minister @KeTSAMalaysia - underscoring the benefits of increasing the percentage of #renewables in the country's #energy consumption. pic.twitter.com/KqfKDO8Ogs— IRENA (@IRENA) January 18, 2021
#Covid19 had a significant impact on @IRENA's mission. We argued early on that #renewables would weather the storm better than the energy sector overall. Our #recovery agenda links action to achieving #SDGs & #ParisAgreement goals - @flacamera presents Annual Report #IRENA11A pic.twitter.com/jpleo5B0UD— IRENA (@IRENA) January 18, 2021
High-level guests concluded that the 2021 is a critical year of action. Speakers agreed that while it is possible to achieve the goals established under the Paris Agreement, much more must be done to increase the trajectory of the energy transition to align with a 1.5 future. The message was clear - we need quicker, cheaper energy transition pathways.
H.E. Mr Tan See Leng, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Trade and Industry and Second Minister for Manpower, Singapore said it is important for the global community to prioritise on faster energy transition. "To achieve that, we need to live green, to power green, and to develop green market structure," he underlined. He assured that Singapore will continue to invest in research and development in the area of sustainable energy, as well as to enhance collaboration with market players. "Singapore is committed to do its part in the ASEAN region, and the global community," he concluded.
Watch the full statement:
Speaking to how African needs can be reflected in the climate and energy discussion, Damilola Ogunbiyi, said that it is important for Africa to be part of every conversation on energy transitions. “It is not just about offering a solar lamp. Renewable energy is about energy for economic growth in Africa. The young African teenager has the same aspirations as the Chinese teenager or the American teenager. Globally we have to commit to Africa.”
H.E. Mr Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, United Arab Emirates said it is premature to say how the pandemic will further impact the energy sector. At least we know that there is less energy use during the pandemic. As with other countries, one of UAE's energy objectives is energy security, and reducing energy intensity is one way to achieve it. Using less energy is also the cheapest way to conserve the planet, he concluded.
The discussion continues.
Mr Steiner says that every time if you go back in time looking at the environmental legislation, it has always been cheaper and faster than predicted, and that is where we are now. The cost of inaction is higher than the investments we are talking about to achieve the goals. "We can achieve 1.5 degree scenario but not on the current trajectory (...)and not with the current investment," he said. "It is a global, common objective we need to pursue. Commitment to action on climate change must be global, we can do it (...) but we have lost a lot of time and it is time that worries me now," he concludes.
Mr Makhtar Diop, Vice-President for Infrastructure, World Bank, said that there should be an alignment between nationally determined contributions with the global climate target. That is why it is important to use the momentum of COP26 to review all targets and develop fitting strategies and plan to implement them. He is also optimistic that public fund can leverage and mobilise institutional capital, as found by IRENA in its study last year. World Bank is going in that direction, to make sure that public policies are very much aligned with the direction of private investment to realise the energy transition that the world envisions.
Mr Francesco La Camera, Director-General, IRENA in his final remarks thanked the participants.
He confirmed it is difficult to achieve 1.5 goal but "IRENA can build on experience and theory of change outlined in the Global Renewable Outlook and Post-COVID agenda and show a path to carbon neutrality."
Mr Todd Stern, Former Special Envoy for Climate Change, USA said "the consensus to hold temperature to 1.5 degree Celsius is creating the pressure for all of us to get to net-zero by 2050," he stated. Mr Stern progressed to outline that he expects the US to be coming back aggressively with a robust climate end energy plans under under President-elect Biden. A large green recovery programme will be in place with a core focus on energy transition. The targets will include achieving climate neutrality by 2050, 100 per cent clean electricity by 2035 and a focus on just transition.
"It is ambitious, but I think it is doable,” affirms Stern. “It is a very positive picture in the US. The focus on climate change has never been this high.”
Mr Achim Steiner, Administrator, UNDP is convinced that energy transition needs to be put into socio-economic context. There is a need for investment in energy transition technologies and now it is up to governments to create the frameworks to meet that investment need.
.@UNDP’s Administrator @ASteiner is convinced that #energytransition needs to be put into socio-economic context. “There is a need for #investment in energy transition technologies & now it is up to governments to create the frameworks to meet that investment need” #IRENA11A pic.twitter.com/poQvo2KzUM— IRENA (@IRENA) January 18, 2021
Ms Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO, Special Representative of the UNSG for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy underlines the importance of energy transition for all - transition that does not leave anyone behind. IRENA is a key part of the dialogue on energy transition moving forward. " We are all connected and we are not on track," she said. "It is important that we globally come together and play our part to get people out from energy poverty and create a sustainable energy pathway forward," she concluded.
UAE Energy Minister Suhail al Mazrouei says the UAE is a true believer in the need for transition. He notes that the UAE is targeting 44 per cent renewables by 2030 and an additional 6 per cent from nuclear. The Minister notes that the Emirates is currently updating their energy strategy and that he is ‘excited’ by the falling costs of renewables being witnessed in the UAE. “I expect, given the prices that I am seeing, we may increase our targets for renewable energy."
Energy Transition is the current issue in view of sustainable development and post-COVID19 recovery, said H.E. Ms Mila Aziable, Minister Delegate to the President of the Republic in charge of Energy and Mines, Togo. Renewables are more crucial than ever before to strive new technologies and decentralised electrification at affordable price, she concluded.
In his intervention, H.E. Mr João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Minister for Environment and Climate Action, Portugal said the country is fully aligned with European mission. He underlined that already 57% of electricity generation in 2019 was renewable, and the country very successfully launched solar PV auctions and is involved in efforts to scale up production of green hydrogen needed for decarbonisation of hard to abate sectors.
H.E. Ms Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, European Union, stated that when it comes to energy, we don’t have to go back to normal. Our old normal has been leading us to irreversible damage to our planet. By investing into renewable energy sources, we want to reduce energy costs, improve air quality, create jobs and become a powerhouse for clean energy innovation.
Ms Simson emphasised that the path towards global energy transition is full of challenges especially since COVID-19, but this is where a strong cooperation is needed. There is a plan in Europe to give strong support to green hydrogen, as it will help accelerate the pace of the transition.
Andreas Feicht, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany, outlined how this crisis is a challenge, but it also provides a refreshing momentum for clean energy transition. IRENA plays the leading role in this momentum as renewables have become more and more effective and efficient around the world, he underlined.
He progress to show how renewables have been our number one size for generating electricity in Germany. Yet, it is not time to bring energy transition to other industries and sectors. The government of Germany is convinced that green hydrogen can be the key for full decarbonisation. That is why Germany has created a framework to create and advance the market for green hydrogen, he conluded.
In her remarks, H.E. Ms Andrea Meza, Minister of Energy and Environment, Costa Rica shared how energy transition can accelerate the economic growth in our countries. Costa Rica has just finished a process of updating NDCs, with the national goal to achieve 100% renewable energy in energy mix without putting energy security at risk. The country is demonstrating it is possible already with 99% renewables in its energy mix in 2019. Ms Meza underlined that country is now promoting electrification of mobility "good for the economy, good for the people, good for the environment."
Assembly President Teresa Ribera, Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and Minister for Ecological Transition and says that all over the world, we are seeing countries pledging their climate neutrality goals by 2050. She notes that governments and societies are striving to deliver safer and more prosperous societies as we recover from this crisis. Ms Ribera urges governments to prioritise a just, balanced, inclusive transition that is aligns global recovery efforts with climate goals.
The 11th Assembly High Level Panel on “Energy Transition for Sustainable Post-COVID Recovery" is now opened by Ms Ribera, 11A President and Director-General, Francesco La Camera.
Mr La Camera said: "Putting the energy transition at the heart of the crisis response will be essential to any recovery and to building resilience for the future."
See the opening video:
Putting #energytransition at the heart of our crisis response will be key to any #Covid19 recovery. We are leveraging @IRENA’s global mandate & mission to accelerate the shift towards clean energy in support of economic & social resilience for all - @flacamera at #IRENA11 opening pic.twitter.com/44LOsIF4rp— IRENA (@IRENA) January 18, 2021
Director-General Francesco La Camera cordially welcomed all participants and announced that this Assembly is starting with the World Energy Transitions Day.
He stated: "2020 made it crystal clear that we can no longer continue with business as usual if we are to live in the world that is safe, resilient and prosperous for all. This is true for all nations and all segments of the global economy. And energy transitions will play a vital role in our common ability to overcome the health crisis and leave the path to the deeper climate crisis."
The President of the 11th Assembly is H.E. Ms Teresa Ribera, Deputy Prime Minister, Spain. She was welcomed by H.E. Mr Bachir Ismael Ouedraogo, Minister of Energy of Burkina Faso.
Albania, Costa Rica, India and Ghana are nominated Vice-Presidents of the 11th Assembly.
H.E. Ms Teresa Ribera, Deputy Prime Minister, Spain has welcomed all the participants and provided the context for the meeting today. The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed us to recognise the vulnerabilities in our current system of prosperity, witness the resilience and viability of renewables. "It has put the energy transition at the heart of our efforts to build a better world," she stated.
Welcome to IRENA 11th Assembly blog. The event can be followed via a live-stream link on this page and IRENA social media.
Today, more than 90 Ministers and high-level officials and around 800 government participants representing 133 countries and the European Union gathered virtually to discuss key issues in the global energy transformation and chart the way forward for the Agency against a backdrop of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Almost 1,300 participants representing institutions from the public and private sector, civil society and academia as well as media representatives have joined the event.