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IRENA: Energy transformation should lead economic recovery

Representatives from across the world will participate in the 19th and 20th Council of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) this week, amid a backdrop of renewed calls from the agency to build the post-COVID economic recovery around the energy transformation.

Burkina Faso Energy Minister H.E. Bachir Ismael Ouedraogo, will serve as Chair for the two-day governing body meetings.

The back to back meetings of the Council will take place virtually due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and will see more than 340 high-level participants from 97 countries and the European Union engage in discussions about the growing importance of policies and investments that support an accelerated move towards a low-carbon energy system.

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IRENA findings suggest doing so would add more than five million energy transition jobs globally in the next three years.

“We meet at unprecedented times,” said IRENA director-general Francesco La Camera. “With many economies going back into lock-down measures to address COVID-19, we must all be aware of the opportunity for growth and stability presented by a renewables-based energy transformation” – a point that will be central to discussions among members this week.

“Through clear, far-sighted policy measures built around energy transformation and a strong commitment to multilateral collaboration, we can quickly rebuild our economies,” continued La Camera, “while ensuring a lasting economic recovery that aligns with the sustainable development goals and the objectives of the Paris Agreement.”

IRENA’s Post-COVID recovery: An agenda for resilience, development and equality, launched earlier this year, shows that the energy transition can represent a far-sighted investment when incorporated into stimulus and recovery plans. An investment package focused on the energy transition can help to overcome the economic slump and create much-needed jobs, for the short-term and beyond.

His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, UAE minister of climate change and environment, said: “The 19th and 20th meetings of the IRENA Council couldn’t be more timely. The coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the vital importance of energy as the key to staying connected to power healthcare facilities and ensure an uninterrupted food and water production and supply. Therefore, it is more crucial than ever that we join forces in advancing a green and sustainable recovery, building resilience, and driving a global clean energy transition to provide fair energy access for all.”

In preparation for this year’s meetings of the Council, IRENA received comments from Members regarding the Agency’s programme related activities.

IRENA also held a series of collaborative framework meetings, designed to foster dialogue and coordinated action between Members on key issues such as the development of hydropower, strategies to support high shares of renewables, the future of the renewable hydrogen economy, ocean and offshore renewables and the geopolitics of the energy transformation.

The IRENA Council is composed of 21 members elected for a two-year term and serve on a rotating basis to ensure the effective participation of both developing and developed countries and a fair and equitable geographical distribution. The Council’s responsibilities include facilitating consultation and cooperation among IRENA members and reviewing the organisation’s work programme, budget and annual report.

Source: Power Engineering International