IRENA: Renewables can support economic and social recovery

ministerial energy council, clean energy, renewables scholarship, cleantech

Advancing the renewables-based energy transformation is an opportunity to meet international climate goals while boosting economic growth, creating millions of jobs and improving human welfare by 2050, finds the first Global Renewables Outlook released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

While a pathway to deeper decarbonisation requires total energy investment up to USD 130 trillion, the socio-economic gains of such an investment would be massive, the Outlook reveals. Transforming the energy system could boost cumulative global GDP gains above business-as-usual by USD 98 trillion between now and 2050. It would nearly quadruple renewable energy jobs to 42 million, expand employment in energy efficiency to 21 million and add 15 million in system flexibility.

IRENA director-general Francesco La Camera said governments are facing a difficult task of bringing the health emergency under control while introducing major stimulus and recovery measures.

Related article: Electricity costs of working from home

“The crisis has exposed deeply embedded vulnerabilities of the current system,” Mr La Camera said.

“IRENA’s Outlook shows the ways to build more sustainable, equitable and resilient economies by aligning short-term recovery efforts with the medium-and long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda.

“By accelerating renewables and making the energy transition an integral part of the wider recovery, governments can achieve multiple economic and social objectives in the pursuit of a resilient future that leaves nobody behind.”

Related article:Expanded co-operation for energy sector during pandemic

The Global Renewables Outlook examines building blocks of an energy system along with investment strategies and policy frameworks needed to manage the transition. It explores ways to cut global CO2 emissions by at least 70 per cent by 2050. Furthermore, a new perspective on deeper decarbonisation shows a path towards net-zero and zero emissions. Building on five technology pillars, particularly green hydrogen and extended end-use electrification could help replace fossil fuels and slash emissions in heavy industry and hard-to-decarbonise sectors.

As partner of the Climate Investment Platform, launched to drive clean energy uptake and mobilise clean investment, IRENA will advance collaborative action targeted to help countries create enabling conditions and unlock renewable investment.