The global energy transformation is happening, driven by the dual imperatives of limiting climate change and fostering sustainable growth. The unprecedented decline in renewable energy costs, new opportunities in energy efficiency, digitalisation, decentralization, smart technologies and electrification solutions are some of the key enablers behind this transition. Deployment, integrating and enabling policies continue to play a crucial role in the efforts to accelerate this process. The energy transformation is multi-faceted, and evolving in terms of technologies, socio-economics, institutional drivers and forms of finance.
Since 2017, IRENA has released a series of reports focusing on long-term decarbonization of the energy consuming sectors with specific emphasis on the technical feasibility and socio-economic benefits of a global energy transformation. The 2019 edition, Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050, was launched at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue last April, which underscored that renewable energy, energy efficiency and electrification are the three cornerstones of such transition to drive down energy-related CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement climate goals. Technically feasible and cost-effective solutions for decarbonising end-use sectors such as heating, cooling and transport demand have also been underscored.
IRENA’s reports also highlight the socio-economic impacts of such energy transformation in terms of GDP growth, employment creation, and human welfare improvements. These impacts have found to be positive at the global level while that on individual countries and regions depends not only on the level of policy ambition, but also on the degree to which they leverage and enhance their domestic capacities. A comprehensive policy for a just transition should include elements of industrial policy, labour market measures, education and (re-)skilling initiatives, financial policy, and adequate attention to gender perspectives.
This roundtable will provide a platform to discuss the report Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050 in more details with experts from the region and beyond. The discussion may focus on the technology innovation to allow for more flexible power systems that can accommodate higher shares of variable renewable power, the role of renewable electrification of end-use sectors, as well as strategic planning to increase investments and avoid social stresses and economic barriers. It will also provide insights on the effect of drivers such as investment, externalities, and trade will have on the energy transition.
Some of the topics the roundtable may discuss include:
- What are the key technology solutions for a global energy transformation?
- How can energy scenarios and results be useful for regional and country level climate plans and decision-making process?
- What are the major challenges countries now face to decarbonize the energy sector?
- How can the socio-economic footprint of the energy transition be improved to maximise benefits and minimise burdens?