The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of FORESIGHT Climate & Energy
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to face a valuable paradox: humanity has had to accept its limits and humbly acknowledge that we are a vulnerable species while, at the same time, working together to find a way out through knowledge and research. If we can take lessons from this difficult period, we will come out of this crisis better prepared and more aware of how to face another, bigger problem threatening our planet, which we can no longer ignore: global warming.
Analysts have asked if the fall in the oil price caused by the pandemic, might change the direction of energy transition. We don’t think so. The fall of oil prices in recent years was magnified by the Covid-19 pandemic as demand plummeted, but it is good to remember the oil industry lives on cycles. We believe we will see an adjustment in supply in the medium term and a recovery in prices.
What will happen to investments in renewables as a result? The answer lies in the past. In the late 1970s, after two oil crises, non-oil producing countries invested in renewable technologies and resources seeking to reduce dependence on oil and to strengthen energy security. In Brazil, this resulted in the Proálcool biofuel programme.
In the 1980s, Denmark and Germany advanced in the development of wind and solar technologies and opened up a new world of possibilities. More than three decades after initial investments, the technological improvements have turned renewable energies into competitive sources of power generation across the world. As a result, there is major competition for affordable renewable energy projects and after Covid-19 has subsided, investors will prioritise projects that bring a better quality of life — with renewables firmly in their sights.
The pandemic has opened our eyes to the unavoidable fight against global warming. And in this fight, low-carbon sources are our best bet. We believe the momentum for the energy transition will be stronger than before the pandemic and it is here to stay. Naturally, in the short term, the speed of the transition could decrease, due to the drop in demand, however in the medium- and long-term its trajectory will accelerate.
Renewables are the obvious choice as the energy carrier of the future and for the fight against global warming. The positive social and economic impact will be fundamental to a post-pandemic future. In June, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) launched the “Wind energy: A cornerstone for the recovery of the global economy – Rebuilding better for the future” study. In it, GWEC demonstrates how investment in wind power creates jobs and positive effects for communities and innovation and proposes economic actions in support of renewable energies which contributes to a fair and more sustainable society.
We believe this could also apply to other renewables, such as biomass and solar. In Brazil, the good news is that we have a great diversity of clean sources for energy and the government has already made it clear that the expansion of the electrical matrix will happen with renewables.
The post-pandemic world we encounter will be different. Our hope is that in this new world, we will have learned that we, as human beings, cannot go against nature and its laws, that we have our limits and that we need to learn to live in harmony with the planet. And, having faced our limits in these dark moments, like children who discover that they cannot do everything without consequences, we can mature with humility and modesty and make more sensible choices, leaving a better planet for future generations.
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With careful planning and utilising materials within a circular economy, the wind industry can reduce its waste during the production process, says Olivier Fontan, the new CEO at blade manufacturer LM Wind Power
Energy systems across the world suffered a shock as the Covid-19 health crises forced carbon-intensive industries, aviation and other transport, to a virtual standstill. The effects of the slowdown could result in a stiff test for renewables competitiveness, argues Juan Alario from GNE Finance
Despite the massive economic downfall as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, there remains strong demand for renewable energy assets, suggesting the sector will not suffer as it did after the 2008 recession
The renewable energy sector cannot escape the impact of Covid-19, but a redrawing of the landscape and its resilience through the pandemic will lay the foundations for future growth, says Arnaud de Giovanni, Global Power and Utilities Transaction Advisory Services leader at EY
Offshore wind attracts investment, jobs and has the ability to severely cut emissions worldwide, which is why the world should aim for 1,400 GW of capacity by 2050, argue Benj Sykes and Stephen Bull, Co-Chairs of Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition (OREAC), a global coalition of offshore wind companies and international institutions on World Oceans Day (June 8)
The concept of transition bonds began as an idea to sell bonds that were difficult to market as green bonds, mainly natural gas bonds, but has evolved into an opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation efforts
Many believe the ECB and other central banks should bring climate considerations into the rulebook governing what they support and how
Despite the constant flood of bad news related to Covid-19, there are signs we are also witnessing unprecedented global dialogue, innovation and collaboration, offering hope that climate change and clean energy can be at the forefront of post-pandemic plans, says Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities
The gas package and renovation wave in the European Green Deal raise new opportunities for ending Europe’s dependence on gas. We need to think about what this means for energy poor households, writes Louise Sunderland from the Regulatory Assistance Project
Work on mobilising the global bond market to finance the low carbon transition has received an unexpected boost at the hands of the Covid-19 pandemic. Green bond issues are vastly oversubscribed as investors show a clear preference for putting their money into shifting society in a new and better direction
The coronavirus is a deadly human tragedy, causing untold grief and pain. It is also rocking the world’s economies as people lose income and businesses struggle to stay afloat. Yet there are lessons to be learned for the climate crisis
The clean energy transition must be socially fair for everyone, not just those living in regions that are heavily reliant on coal for fuel and jobs, says Louise Sunderland from Regulatory Assistance Project
The United States, the home of the car, has yet to make the kind of market impact with electric vehicles (EVs) as it did with the internal combustion engine