IHA and IRENA coalition call for renewables-driven recovery

While the Covid-19 pandemic is the world’s most pressing threat with its tragic impacts on families everywhere requiring urgent action, we must not lose sight of climate targets and the sustainable development goals.    

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has teamed up with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and more than 100 renewable energy organisations to issue a joint call for action urging policy-makers to prioritise green growth as part of their Covid-19 recovery plans.

The recommendations cover a range of priority actions to ensure a rapid and sustained economic recovery, promoting renewable solutions as well as the need for market and policy frameworks that support storage and flexibility - services which are provided by sustainable hydropower.

The call for action says: “To provide long-term policy certainty in this time of crisis, governments must consider affirming existing and planned support schemes, as well as continuing to implement appropriate market and policy frameworks that support grid development, storage and flexibility, and other infrastructure critical to support a higher penetration of renewable energy.

“Permitting and siting approvals should be fast-tracked so that the renewable energy industry can plan ahead and protect its workforce.”

Last week IRENA published its 2020 Global Renewables Outlook, which called for stimulus and recovery packages that will “accelerate the shift to sustainable, decarbonised economies and resilient inclusive societies”.

Recovery measures should include investment in “interconnected hydropower” among other technologies, said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “With the need for energy decarbonisation unchanged, such investments can safeguard against short-sighted decisions and greater accumulation of stranded assets."

The Global Renewables Outlook says that "hydropower can bring important synergies to the energy system of the future" thanks to its multiple uses and synergies with other renewable energy technologies. Policy-makers and planners around the world need to "start thinking now" about building new hydropower projects, the organisation said.

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is a leading member of IRENA's Coalition for Action, which was formed to promote the wider and faster uptake of renewable energy technologies. The coalition brings together private sector companies, industry associations, civil society, research institutes and intergovernmental organisations.

IHA Chief Executive Eddie Rich said: "In order to meet the climate change commitments set in the Paris Agreement in 2015, hydropower needs to grow much faster. This requires determined and enabling policy, market restructuring to better incentivise energy storage, and a step change in technical integration capability globally."

In the joint statement, the IRENA Coalition for Action call on governments to:

  • Revisit deadlines for renewable energy projects that face contractual obligations for near-term delivery.
  • Designate the renewable energy industry and related infrastructure as a critical and essential sector.
  • Affirm and extend policies promoting renewable energy solutions, both centralised and decentralised.
  • Prioritise renewable energy in any stimulus measures and commit to phasing out support for fossil fuels.
  • Provide public financial support to safeguard the industry and mobilise private investment in renewable energy.
  • Enhance the role of renewable energy in industrial policies.
  • Revise labour and education policies to foster a just transition and help workers make the shift into renewable energy jobs.
  • Strengthen international co-operation and action to accelerate renewable energy deployment in line with global climate and sustainability objectives.

Read more about the IRENA Coalition for Action and its joint call for action.

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