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IEF Lecture: Global Energy Transformation: A Pathway to Sustainability based on Renewables

16 October 2019

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Dr Sun Xiansheng, Secretary General of the International Energy Forum (IEF), welcomed Mr Francesco La Camera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on 16 October at the IEF Headquarters in Riyadh. Mr Francesco La Camera presented IRENA’s perspectives on the global energy transformation outlining a pathway to sustainability based on renewables.

He highlighted the key findings from IRENA’s 2019 report, examining a renewable energy roadmap to 2050 to ensure a sustainable energy future (REmap Case). The growing share of renewables in capacity additions for electricity generation, that is well above 80 percent since 2016, shows that renewables have become competitive in the power sector. Renewable deployment and electrification together can deliver 75 percent of energy-related carbon-dioxide emission reductions. With energy efficiency measures included, this would rise to over 90 percent according to IRENA’s REmap Case projection to 2050. Mr La Camera further highlighted the many opportunities renewable deployment can create for employment, the oil and gas industry, and the Gulf region.

Discussions focused on cost implications for network stability while integrating larger shares of renewables. The shorter lifecycles and reduced efficiencies of renewables compared to other energy technology choices were also discussed alongside the merits of government support for renewable energy and fossil fuels through subsidies.  Mr La Camera mentioned that renewable energy enables just energy transformations that help to alleviate energy poverty, facilitate inclusive access to modern energy services for all, and achieve greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. He concluded by mentioning IRENA’s desire to cooperate with other international organisations and financial institutions, and facilitate cooperation among the public and private sector to mobilise the investments that the Global Energy Transformation requires.

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