Renewable energy will play the most important role in our future energy system, but stable energy markets are needed to guarantee this transition to a world powered by 100% renewable energy.
As Mr Amadou Hott, Vice President of the African Development Bank emphasized at the 9th General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in January 2019, the importance of stable energy markets cannot be understated. Only when these are create “we can solve the Energy Paradox in Africa where we have abundant resources, but 600 million people still lack access to electricity”, so Mr Hott. One day earlier, IRENA welcomed some 70 Members of Parliaments from all over the world to their annual Legislator Forum. And the question of how to create those stable markets was the elephant in the room.
The answer of
course is complex and different from country to country – depending on not just
a number of technical factors, but also grid connectivity, share of population
with access to electricity, distribution of resources and other factors.
However, attending parliamentarians were unanimous: legislators play a key role
in creating the necessary stable markets.
connection between a successful energy transition and developing renewable
energies and real investments are reliable and binding policies: Policies that
provide investment security for renewable energy investors; policies that
translate international agreements such as the Paris Climate Accord or the
Agenda 2030 Furthermore into local and national energy markets; and policies
that regulate market access, stimulate innovation and ensure socially balances
energy prizes within local constituencies. Therefore, policymakers and
legislators are at the forefront of the global uptake of renewable energy. There
are plenty of such successful policies around the globe which may consist of
(financial) incentives or legally binding targets and regulations, depending on
the local circumstances. Yet, ideally, all such policies would indeed be
channeling financial flows towards modern sustainable energy markets.
Renewables Congress (GRC) is working with legislators from around the world to
develop and enact such enabling policies, in order to achieve a world powered
by 100%RE. To this end, we cooperated with IRENA to identify key Members of
Parliament from African countries to attend the Legislators Forum.
The Global Renewables Congress (GRC) was officially launched on Tuesday, 11 December 2018, against the backdrop of the 24th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) in Katowice, Poland. More than 20 legislators from around the world joined our launch and discussed their visions and hopes for how the GRC can support legislators in advancing the energy transition. In line with the GRC’s aim, the meeting connected legislators from different governance levels and parts of the world to share their stories, experiences, and legislations.
At the parliamentary breakfast, Dr Paul
Durrant, IRENA, gave an overview of the status quo of renewable energy. Ms
Bärbel Höhn, Chair of the GRC, former member of the German parliament and acting Commissioner for Energy Reform in Africa for the
Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, talked about the
important role legislators play to accelerate the energy transition and the
struggles they face. It is clear, that we are nowhere near on track to meet the
goals of the Paris Agreement, “the good news is that a
clean energy transition is technologically feasible, and that it can act as a
catalyst for achieving the Agenda 2030; the bad news is that political will
still falters and vested interests resist this transformation of our energy
system. The GRC aims for the rapid and large-scale deployment of renewables and
I am optimistic it will bring decision-makers together to create the synergies
needed for this process,” argued Rob van Riet, Director of the Climate Energy
Programme at the World Future Council.
As the GRC moves forward it will take
up some of the issues which arose at the parliamentary breakfast, including
strengthening the role of legislators on all levels globally; accelerating the
energy transition through capacity building for legislators on understanding
their role and the role RE is playing for economic development, equality and
climate change mitigation; the need for flexible energy production systems;
increased consideration of how a just transition can be ensured; and how
legislators can be better connected to other constituencies such as trade
“Only a swift transition to renewable energies can halt climate crisis and save us from its devastating impacts”, stated Bärbel Höhn. “We must deliver renewables at scale. In order to stand a chance of avoiding the catastrophic consequences of climate crisis, renewable energy solutions need to be deployed more widely and rapidly than ever before. The GRC has great potential to advance them on a global level.”