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IEA: “Put renewable energy at the heart of stimulation plans against corona”

Following the International Energy Agency (IEA), international governments must put clean energy at the center of the stimulus plans to combat the economic damage caused by the corona virus. 

“The impact of the coronavirus around the world and the resulting turmoil in the world markets is dominating global attention. Governments are responding to these interconnected crises and should not lose sight of a major challenge of our time: the transition to clean energy”, says Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency IEA.

Inescapable challenge

“We must not allow the current crisis to jeopardize our efforts to meet the world’s inescapable challenge,” continues Birol.

Large-scale investments to develop, deploy and integrate clean energy technologies – such as solar energy , wind, hydrogen, batteries and CO2 capture – should be a central part of government plans because they bring a double benefit. Namely stimulating economies and accelerating the transition to clean energy.

“The costs of essential renewable technologies, such as solar energy and wind, are much lower than in previous periods when governments launched stimulus packages,” Birol continues. “And the technology for both sun and wind is in a much better shape than in the past. Meanwhile, hydrogen and CO2 capture need large investments to scale them up. This could be helped by current interest rates , which were already low and falling further, making the financing of large projects more affordable. Governments can make clean energy even more attractive to private investors by providing guarantees and contracts to reduce financial risks. Taking these steps is extremely important because the combination of the corona virus and volatile market conditions will divert the attention of policy makers, business leaders and investors from clean energy transitions. ”

Oil price

The sharp decline in the oil market could undermine the clean energy transition, according to the IEA Executive Director, by reducing the impulse for energy efficiency policies. “Without government measures, cheaper energy always means that consumers use it less efficiently. It reduces the appeal of buying more efficient cars or modifying homes and offices to save energy. This would be very bad news, as improvements in energy efficiency, an essential element for achieving international climate goals, have been weakening in recent years. ”

Source: Solar Magazine, 25 maart 2020

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