Accelerated approvals needed for hydropower and other renewables to achieve climate goals
New Planning for Climate Commission launched with backing from the sustainable hydropower sector and other global renewables.
A new global commission focused on speeding up planning and approvals for the massive deployment of sustainable hydropower, other renewables and green hydrogen needed to address climate change and energy security was launched today at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
10,800 gigawatts (GW) of installed renewables capacity will be needed by 2030 to keep 1.5°C within reach. Achieving production of the 100 million tonnes of green hydrogen needed to replace fossil hydrogen and decarbonise both food production and heavy industry by 2030 will require 800 GW of renewable energy alone. Green hydrogen is a hydrogen produced fuel obtained from electrolysis of water with electricity generated by low-carbon power sources such as hydropower, wind and solar.
The numbers are staggering and will only be achieved through a new, innovative and efficient approach to planning and approvals which ensures both speed and buy-in from communities.
The Planning for Climate Commission includes a diverse range of global leaders, champions and experts with outstanding experience in climate and renewable energy policy making.
As a joint initiative by the Green Hydrogen Organisation, International Hydropower Association, the Global Wind Energy Council, the Global Solar Council and the Long Duration Energy Storage Council, the Planning for Climate Commission will agree a set of recommendations by mid-2023 and is expected to present its findings to the UN General Assembly in September 2023.
Members of the Planning for Climate Commission made the following remarks at today’s launch:
International Hydropower Association CEO Eddie Rich said: “IEA and IRENA say that we need to double global hydropower capacity by 2050 to meet net zero. This cannot be achieved while projects are taking in excess of five years just to be approved. Through this Commission, we hope to find mechanisms that embed sustainability into all renewable infrastructure at the same time as streamlining the approval process.”
Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper said: “We need a fundamental review on how we dramatically shorten the consenting process.”
Former Prime Minister of Australia, IHA Board member and Chair of the Green Hydrogen Organisation Malcolm Turnbull said: “The amount of renewables needed to move away from fossil fuels is on a scale never seen before but we cannot fail. We need fit-for-purpose permitting processes which help rather than hinder the deployment of renewables and green hydrogen around the world and this Commission will deliver the recommendations to achieve that aim.”
Abeeolica President Elbia Gannoum said: “Wind power and other renewables need to grow stronger all over the world if we want to reach net zero by 2050. This can only happen if we have smart planning policies which put a premium on speed, efficiency and community buy in. As a member of the Planning for Climate Commission, I am determined to ensure we agree on actionable recommendations as a priority.”
Leaders of industry groups supporting the Planning for Climate Commission made the following remarks:
Green Hydrogen Organisation CEO Jonas Moberg said: “We must replace fossil fuels urgently through an unprecedented expansion of renewable energy and green hydrogen. For this to happen quickly and sustainably with buy-in from governments and local communities, planning and permitting procedures need to be up to the task. Through this Commission we will ensure planning processes are an enabler rather than an obstacle to renewable energy and green hydrogen deployment globally.”
Global Wind Energy Council CEO Ben Backwell said: “Planning reform must be at the top of the agenda for any nation or region looking to achieve its climate and energy security targets. The enormous deployment of renewable energy is the critical element of delivering the energy transition and creating more secure energy systems, and speeding up the planning process for renewables projects is central to realising this deployment. The current planning processes often present long delays and hurdles for industry, when regulations should be smoothing the path for the technologies that will deliver clean electricity. The energy transition requires a collaborative approach, something this commission represents. GWEC looks forward to supporting governments and communities to achieve the just energy transition to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future.”
Global Solar Council CEO Gianni Chianetta said: “Collaboration of global renewables, energy storage, and green hydrogen industries is the basis for faster and more effective planning strategies of hybrid projects. Through this Commission, we aim to accelerate an exit strategy from fossil fuels and allow renewables to unlock international energy security while maintaining a stable focus on a just energy transition.”
Long Duration Energy Storage Council Executive Director Julia Souder said: “We cannot achieve our decarbonization goals without working together and eliminating barriers to the adoption of clean energy technologies. Streamlining the planning and approval process to accelerate markets is critical to our energy security and the success of the clean energy transition. The LDES Council looks forward to developing recommendations with the Planning for Climate Commission that incorporates all the benefits of clean energy technology.”
More information on the Planning for Climate Commission is available in this fact sheet.