The energy sector accounts for more than two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. By 2050, the global population will reach 9.7 billion, and with this growth the world will need to produce roughly 80% more energy than it does today. Meeting this growing energy demand, particularly in urban areas, will require a global shift towards a more sustainable ‘green economy’.
“The policies, technologies and business models required to power our green economy are available today,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin during his keynote speech at the opening of this year’s World Green Economy Summit 2016 (WGES). The World Green Economy Summit is a global platform, held in Dubai, for discussing, fostering, and planning the shift from a fossil fuel powered world, to a green economy.
“As exemplified by Dubai, with the right incentives in place, markets can accelerate the energy transition underway. International cooperation, as reflected in IRENA’s mandate and work, also plays a positive role by sharing best practices,” Mr. Amin said.
A platform for change
This year’s summit build’s on the two-year old Dubai Declaration, which aims to develop the WGES as a key global green economy platform, showcasing innovative projects, partnerships and technology, and developing innovative green financing mechanisms.
In his speech, Amin emphasised that the world is on the right path towards a green economy, but that under current projections, the share of renewable energy will increase to only 21% by 2030. Doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix to 36% by 2030, can provide half of the CO2 emissions reductions required to meet the targets established in the Paris Agreement, and coupled with increasing energy efficiency measures, can meet that target. However, realising the potential of renewables by 2030 will require global annual investment to increase to an average of USD 900 billion annually between 2021 and 2030, Mr. Amin said.
“In order to close the investment gap, private sector driven solutions, both on-grid and off-grid, have to take on an even greater role and drive renewable energy deployment to the next level. This Summit recognises this important challenge through its timely focus on green finance and public-private partnerships,” said Mr. Amin.
Later, Amin moderated the discussion Solar Energy: World energy game changers bringing about solar revolution. Discussion in the event focused on new solutions and actors in the solar market, and how to move the solar revolution forward with utility-scale or rooftop solar systems, new ground-breaking renewable energy business models, and technology and innovation through research and development.
Recently, IRENA published a report highlighting Africa’s potential solar revolution, as well as several other reports showcasing renewable solutions for the transport sector, the agri-food chain, and improving energy access through renewable mini-grids.