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Actions not words needed from governments to address energy security and climate crises ahead of COP27

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More than 100 leading wind energy companies have called on Paris Signatories to streamline planning and permitting, upgrade grid infrastructure and evolve power markets to accelerate renewable energy deployment.
Actions not words needed from governments to address energy security and climate crises ahead of COP27
Courtesy of NREL.

A global coalition of 108 leading wind energy companies and associations, representing 81 percent of installed wind energy worldwide, has challenged governments to take dramatic action to scale up wind and renewable energy in this decade.

If the world is to get on track for 1.5°C-compliant pathway to net zero, annual global wind energy installations must quadruple by 2030 to around 390 GW per year, according to the International Energy Agency, and by 2050, wind energy must generate more than one-third of global electricity, up from 6 percent today.

However, urgent action must be taken to realise this goal and unleash the full potential of wind technology to provide secure, affordable and clean energy for communities across the world.

The Global Wind Energy Manifesto for COP27 warns that while wind energy is one of the most competitive, mature and quickly deployable energy technologies we have today, to thrive it needs large, steady and visible volumes for deployment and a robust global supply chain.

This can only be achieved through clear and practical actions set out in the manifesto, including:

Urgently streamline planning and permitting schemes for grid scale renewables projects;

Rapidly build out vital grid infrastructure for integration of clean energy and cross-sector decarbonisation;

To evolve power markets to both incentivise investment in renewable generation and allow citizens to benefit from the affordable, secure generation provided.

Making it clear that the wind industry stands ready to work together to achieve the required rapid scale-up of wind installations this decade, signatories of the manifesto include the largest companies in the sector such as Iberdrola, Ørsted, EDP Renewables, Vestas, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, as well as the wind industry associations in China, Brazil, South Africa, Europe, the UK, Australia and more.

The wind industry is already delivering significant growth and benefits to the global energy system on security, cost and climate. In 2021 94 GW of wind energy capacity was added globally producing around 275 TWh of electricity per year – more than the current annual electricity demand in Australia and enough to displace over one-third of the EU's imports of Russian gas prior to the invasion.

But decisions at COP27 and in the next few years will determine whether the world can leverage wind and renewable energy to get on track for net zero and secure a livable, just and equitable energy transition.

“In the midst of a global energy shock, and with just seven years left to limit global emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, it's time we realised that energy security and climate security are not in conflict” said Morten Dyrholm, Group Senior Vice President at Vestas Wind Systems A/S. “Renewable projects are waiting in the wings across the world, it's time to move projects in to construction, and to get grid networks built. In a shifting society, resilience is key, and renewables are the way to unlock it.”

“We all have to contribute to the green transition globally that is so urgently needed for the climate” added Michael Hannibal, Partner at Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. “I’m looking forward to COP27 because it will give us the chance to build on the hard work of COP26. And a chance to see all the good political ambitions lived out and translated into the action, implementation, and speed that we need to make it happen.”

Chris Antonopoulos, CEO of Lekela Power said that, as the Manifesto highlights, COP27 is a crucial opportunity to focus international efforts and investment on renewable energy solutions.

“Our experience has shown that collaboration is essential to building and operating utility-scale wind projects” said Mr Antonopoulos. “We are proud to be a committed member of GWEC and advocate for the Manifesto, and we look forward to working with our industry partners to engage with businesses and government on the renewable energy imperative. Together, we can build a clean, secure and affordable energy system that is fit for the future.”

The manifesto (available at GWEC.net) calls on policymakers, financial institutions and other stakeholders to work together on eight concrete action areas:

Scale up ambition and higher volumes for wind power, and reflect this in updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by the end of 2022, comprehensive national climate and net zero strategies and short- and long-term energy plans.

Urgently streamline permitting schemes for grid-scale renewable energy projects to accelerate wind energy deployment and build a net zero-compatible project pipeline in the energy sector.

Commit to action plans to rapidly build out grids for integration of clean energy and cross-sector decarbonisation.

Evolve energy markets for the future.

Avoid long-term lock-in of fossil fuel-based generation in the current energy security crisis.

Develop cohesive and inclusive policies to enact a just and equitable energy transition.

Ensure national and regional finance adhere to robust benchmarks and guardrails for a net zero, 1.5°C-compliant pathway.

Progress the implementation of the global rulebook on carbon pricing, particularly Articles 6.2 and 6.4 of the Paris Agreement.

Wind and solar PV are the cheapest option for new power generation in many countries, even before the extreme price spikes and volatility for coal and gas in 2022. Renewables, grids and storage now account for more than 80 percent of total power sector investment, with increases especially in China and EMDEs. (IEA World Energy Investment 2022)

Gas displacement potential: Accelerating the growth of renewable electricity can significantly reduce the use of gas at a time of tight supply and high prices. 

For example, the 94 GW of wind added in 2021 produces around 275 TWh of electricity per year - enough to displace nearly 50 billion cubic metres (bcm) of fossil gas. This is equivalent to over one-third of the EU's imports of Russian gas prior to the invasion

The 73 GW of onshore wind added to the grid in 2021 generates 201 TWh per year, which is enough to displace 34 billion cubic metres of fossil gas.

The 21.1 GW of offshore wind added to the grid in 2021 generates 74 TWh per year, which is enough to displace 13 billion cubic metres of fossil gas.

For additional information:

Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)

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