Global energy businesses rally to advise governments in delivering a greener COVID-19 recovery

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A COALITION of global businesses across energy, finance and civil society sectors have called on governments to support “a massive wave of investments in renewable electricity” and other low-carbon energy solutions when planning their COVID-19 recovery.

Called the Energy Transitions Commission, with its members including BP, Iberdrola, Orsted, and Shell, the group aims to help energy policy and investment decision-making meet the twin objectives of economic development and climate change mitigation.

In their statement, the Commission commented: “We call on governments of the world to spend economic stimulus spending wisely and invest in the economy of the future.

“Our companies and organisations have been impacted by the economic downturn.

“We are acutely aware of the imperative to support corporates shaken by the crisis and restart the global economy fast.

“Our companies – and many others around us – have the ambition, the technologies and the skills to build a healthier, more resilient, net-zero-emissions economy, that drives sustainable economic prosperity.

“Governments have the choice, the power and the responsibility to build it faster with us.

“Clean energy, low-carbon and digital solutions are fundamental pillars of a better economy: they can improve the quality of the air we breathe, enhance our quality of life, limit the occurrence of climate-related disasters.”

In order to reach their goal, the coalition is recommending putting seven key priorities at the heart of economic stimulus packages:

  1. Unleash massive investment in renewable power systems
  2. Boost the construction sector via green buildings and green infrastructure
  3. Support the automotive sector while pursuing clean air
  4. Make the second wave of government support to businesses conditional to climate
    commitments
  5. Provide targeted support to innovative low-carbon activities
  6. Accelerate the transition of the fossil fuels industry
  7. Don’t let carbon pricing and regulations spiral down

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), accelerating renewable energy investment in the recovery phase of the pandemic would deliver global GDP gains of $98 trillion above a business-as-usual scenario by 2050.

The Energy Transitions Commission forecasts a multiplication by 4 to 5 of electricity demand globally by 2050.

This would require a multiplication by 10 of the pace of renewable deployment (from 160GW of new wind and solar capacity installed in 2019 to 1500GW per year on average over the next 30 years), along with substantial investment in grid infrastructure.

The commission stated: “Investment in clean power systems constitutes the single biggest investment opportunity of the next decade.

“A massive wave of investments in renewable electricity generation, flexibility provision
and power grids is indispensable to both decarbonise existing power provision and meet growing electricity demand from rapid electrification of buildings, transport and industry.”

The ‘7 priorities to help global economy recover’ document is available to read here