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Wind sector CEOs urge G20 leaders to prioritise renewable energy

CEOs of companies within the wind energy sector, including the South African Wind Energy Association CEO, have written an open letter to G20 member countries urging them to prioritise renewable energy in the face of the global climate crisis. The CEOs also provided recommendations of how their countries can meet the 2050 net-zero goal.

The CEOs have identified six policy changes required to ensure that the deployment of wind energy capacity increases by three times from 93GW in 2020 to 390GW by 2030, in line with the findings of the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency. The two agencies have found that up to 8,100GW in wind energy capacity is required by 2050 to meet the net-zero goal.

To reach this necessary level of deployment, the open letter calls on G20 nations to:

  1. Raise ambition for wind power at national level.
  2. Implement effective policy and regulatory frameworks for procurement and delivery of renewable energy.
  3. Commit to rapid build-out of clean energy infrastructure including grids and transmission.
  4. Agree effective and credible carbon pricing mechanisms.
  5. Align national and regional finance flows with benchmarks for a net 1.5°C-compliant pathway.
  6. Develop cohesive and inclusive policies which dedicate public resource to the shift to a net zero economy.

Although the momentum of renewable energy deployment by G20 countries has increased over the past years, current net-zero pledges still put the world on a 2.4°C global warming pathway, well beyond what is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

And as such, immediate action is required to raise national climate action targets, developments that would result in the increased installation of wind energy projects, and replacement of fossil fuels. This in turn would help reduce carbon emissions incurred from power generation at the same time ensuring affordable energy for consumers.

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Ben Backwell, the CEO of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), said: “G20 member countries represent more than 80% of global energy-related carbon emissions – so the leaders of these countries hold the power and public duty to transform the world’s energy system.

“These countries need to get serious about renewables, and in particular wind energy as the clean energy solution with the most potential to help the world meet its Paris Agreement targets.”

If current growth rates for wind energy persist, the letter argues that global wind capacity will fall dramatically short of the volumes required for carbon neutrality by 2050, with installation shortfalls of as much as 43% by 2050.

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Rebecca Williams, Director of COP26 at GWEC, adds: “G20 countries have huge amounts of untapped wind power potential which can fulfil significant portions of national electricity demand, but they are barely scratching the surface of what they can deploy. With the current pace of wind power installations across the world, forecasts show that we will only install less than half of the wind power capacity needed to get to net-zero by 2050.”

The letter is signed by wind power companies including Vestas Wind Systems, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Ørsted, SSE, RWE, and Mainstream Renewable Power, and associations.

The open letter to the G20 heads of state was also shared with a number of government, energy, finance and institutional leaders, including the leaders of COP26, UNFCCC, IRENA, IEA, IMF, WEF and a number of multilateral development banks.

The open letter can be found online.