Legislature for stable energy markets

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.

GRC Chair Bärbel Höhn at the annual Legislator Forum in Abu Dhabi 2019

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.

The powerful 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.

Members and the GRC Secretariat at the 9th IRENA GA

The Global 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.

Launch of the Global Renewables Congress on the sidelines of COP24

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 unions.

“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.”