UN hosts symposium on ‘building global energy interconnection’

New York, 3 November 2017

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of the International Hydropower Association, addressed a United Nations symposium on sustainable energy this week, alongside UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.    

The forum, entitled ‘Building Global Energy Interconnection, Promoting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, saw a range of presentations on how to harness renewable electricity to support human development.

Mr Taylor emphasised that renewables - including hydropower - are fundamental to delivering clean power, heat and transport systems, without which many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would not be achieved.

“Joining up renewable resources through regional and, ultimately, global systems will ensure the most efficient and sustainable energy services are available for all," he said.

Hydropower already generates enough renewable electricity to supply more than a billion people. At the same time, through its operational flexibility and storage services, hydropower complements the increased input from other forms of clean energy.

In his speech, Secretary-General Guterres described energy as “the golden thread” that connects all the SDGs. “Modern energy services are integral to poverty reduction, food security, public health and quality education for all. They are the key to sustainable industrialisation, healthier more efficient cities and — of course — successful climate action.

“Despite this understanding, the world is still far from achieving the vision of Sustainable Development Goal 7 of affordable and clean energy for all,” he said.

Some 1 billion people still live without any access to any electricity, including 500 million in Africa and more than 400 million in the Asia‑Pacific region, the Secretary-General noted.

“So, the world needs more energy, and — in particular — more clean energy,” the Secretary-General added.

During the symposium on 1 November 2017 at UN headquarters in New York, Liu Zhenya, Chairman of GEIDCO, said major challenges such as resources shortage, environmental pollution and climate change pose a threat to the survival of humankind, adding that accelerating energy transformation is the key to achieving the 2030 Agenda targets.

In his presentation, Mr Taylor also highlighted the Reventazón hydropower station in Costa Rica, which contributes to the Central American Electricity Interconnection System (SIEPAC). He said that “SIEPAC has really begun to deliver for the region, bringing clean, cheaper and more affordable electricity to the six participating countries.

He added that “the contribution of Reventazón to Costa Rica and the whole of Central America is a shining example of sustainable hydropower development”.

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