Abu Dhabi: Renewable sources currently supply 26 per cent of global power, but this share needs to more than double by 2030 to ensure climate safety and sustainable development, officials from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) announced in the capital on Sunday.
In fact, at least 57 per cent of global power must be derived from renewable sources like solar, wind, geothermal and biofuel by 2030, and this will require annual investment in the sector to double from $330 billion (Dh1,212 billion) to $750 billion (Dh2,754 billion).
Private investment required
“When we talk about investment, we mean private investment,” clarified Francesco La Camera, Irena director general.
He was speaking on the second day of the 10th Irena general assembly. The Assembly itself kicked off Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the leading regional event aimed at supporting and promoting a global energy transformation.
“We have entered the decade of renewable energy action, a period in which the energy system will transform at unparalleled speed. To ensure this happens, we must urgently address the need for stronger enabling policies and a significant increase in investment over the next 10 years,” La Camera said.
Change in attitude toward renewables
The official also called for a change in attitude towards renewables, which he said were the key to sustainable development because of their affordability, availability and scalability. He mentioned that there is still a focus on fossil fuels in some countries, but that the energy mix will be entirely different in 20 to 30 years.
“We have to appeal to energy companies to diversify their portfolios by looking into renewables. In fact, companies working with gas [could be instrumental] as thy already have the hydrogen pipeline infrastructure,” La Camera said.
Falling prices of renewable sources
Falling technology costs are strengthening the case for renewables as well, with solar photovoltaic costs having decreased by almost 90 per cent over the last decade, and onshore wind prices having halved over the same period. The Irena estimates that the prices of the two technologies could outcompete prices of traditional energy sources by the end of the decade, and that the two sources could cover over a third of global power needs.
In additional, renewable sources are especially effective at ensuring off-grid energy access, with 150 million people worldwide relying on renewable off-grid power.
The Irena launched a booklet with its recommendations on renewables deployment, titled 10 Years: Progress to Action.
La Camera also told Gulf News that it is signing agreements with banks to share knowledge on renewables that could promote further funding for the sector.
World Future Energy Summit
The opening of the four-day World Future Energy Summit will be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on Monday. The event, which will also include the announcement of the winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, is expected to see a number of heads of state in attendance, including Shaikh Hasina Wajed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, President of Mali, Armen Sarkissian, President of Armenia, and Julius Maada Bio, President of Sierra Leone.
A total of 33,500 visitors from 170 countries are expected to attend the four-day Summit.