Bloomberg Philanthropies and IRENA announce COP28 Partnership to accelerate global energy transition

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  • Bloomberg Philanthropies and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has announced a new COP28 partnership to turbocharge clean energy deployment and capital mobilisation in emerging markets and developing economies.
  • The official announcement took place in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, President-Designate of COP28, Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, and Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Ahead of COP28 and the milestone Global Stocktake – assessing national contributions and progress against the goals of the Paris Agreement – Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support will enable IRENA to advance efforts to drive the widespread adoption of renewable energy and reduce political, technical, and financial barriers to the energy transition by:

  1. Building capacities in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America: Deepening IRENA’s capacity to design tailor-made, scalable renewable energy initiatives through policy recommendations, technical support, and financing solutions towards accelerated decarbonisation and stronger climate resilience for lives and livelihoods.
  2. Strengthening project finance and preparation: Bolstering the Energy Transition Accelerator Financing (ETAF) Platform – IRENA’s global climate finance platform aimed at mobilising capital to scale up renewables-based energy transition technologies in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) by 2030 – and expanding the technical and financial feasibility work needed to deliver a robust pipeline of potential projects.
  3. Facilitating private capital mobilisation: In the lead-up to COP28 – in partnership with the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) – Bloomberg Philanthropies and IRENA will work together toward the goal of presenting readily investable energy transition projects to financial institutions that have committed to net zero and seek to increase investments in climate solutions in developing countries. 
A robust supply of bankable renewable energy projects is one of the main barriers to scaling up the financing of clean energy – especially in EMDEs. According to IRENA, investment in renewables reached USD 0.5 trillion in 2022; however, this is less than one-third of the average annual investments needed until 2030 to hit net-zero emission goals by 2050. To accelerate the pipeline of attractive renewable energy projects, Bloomberg and IRENA’s new partnership will reduce risk for potential developers and investors by providing vigorous technical and financial expertise to eligible projects that meet environmental, social, regulatory, and economic factors and implementation readiness.

Today’s announcement supports Bloomberg Philanthropies’ overarching partnership with the COP28 Presidency to galvanise climate action by increasing clean energy development and capital mobilisation both in the lead-up to and on the ground at the climate conference in Dubai.

The Bloomberg-IRENA COP28 partnership also complements Bloomberg Philanthropies’ collaborations with GFANZ, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and other organisations to support developing countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America to accelerate coal phaseout, develop viable pathways to net-zero, and speed deployment of renewable energy.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require a significant scale-up of renewable energy supply to enable the transition away from fossil fuels. In March, IRENA released the World Energy Transitions Outlook Preview 2023, which identified the urgent need to course-correct the energy transition to keep the 1.5°C target within reach. While 2022 saw the largest-ever annual increase in renewable energy capacity, 75% of the added capacity was centred in China, the European Union, and the United States. And while clean energy investment has recently grown, capital is overwhelmingly concentrated in the Global North; in 2021, renewable energy investment per capita in North America was 57 times that in Sub-Saharan Africa. Rapidly scaling clean energy infrastructure, building more supportive and enabling policy environments, and granting easier access to capital for clean energy projects will foster clean energy infrastructure in the countries that need it most.

Roughly 770 million people – primarily across Africa and Asia – lack access to electricity. As countries across the Global South develop and energy demand grows, ensuring that power needs are met by renewable energy rather than fossil fuels will be crucial to meeting international climate goals. In most countries in Africa and Asia, coal–the most polluting form of fuel on earth–is the dominant source of electricity generation, leading to poor outcomes for air quality, health, and climate, and undermining the competitiveness of these economies. Anchored in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ ongoing clean energy programmes in 32 countries and the European Union, today’s announcement aims to help deliver on United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ call to secure clean energy access for all by 2030.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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