Written by Johan Söderström, the EVP and Head of the EMEA Region at Hitachi Energy
In today’s rapidly evolving world, sustainable, flexible, and secure energy solutions are critical as the day goes by. Meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the energy sector within Europe, the Middle East, and Africa is crucial to achieving a carbon-neutral future. By mitigating environmental risks and safeguarding our precious natural resources, we pave the way for a greener and more resilient tomorrow. Embracing sustainable practices in energy development, driven by a strategic focus on renewables and conservation, is key to unlocking a brighter tomorrow for today’s generations and those to come.
As the world gathers at COP28 in Dubai’s Expo City, the urgency to address the pressing challenges of climate change and sustainable development has reached new heights. The region’s focus on a renewable strategy is becoming pronounced and globally noticed as climate and sustainability-related events of worldwide significance are held in the UAE. For instance, COP28 in the UAE this year is a highlight immediately after COP27 in Egypt.
The global transition from fossil fuels to renewables, as outlined in DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook, reveals a significant shift over the last five years. Renewables have met 51 per cent of new energy demand, but fossil fuels continue to grow, with only half of the new demand covered by renewables. Although a majority of electricity in 134 nations (constituting 65 per cent) is predominantly sourced from fossil fuels, renewables power the energy grids of 66 countries (31 per cent).
Despite a growing renewable capacity, there are various pathways to get closer to Net Zero. Energy transition has started at various levels, but record emissions from fossil fuels persist, suggesting the transition’s global onset is yet to occur. Regional variations, influenced by geopolitical shifts, impact the speed of transition. While some areas are slow to transition, the future foresees renewables outpacing fossil fuels as wind and solar energy grow substantially between 2022 and 2050.
Despite the challenges, many organizations create a strategic plan to move ahead to a carbon-neutral future. The EU has committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 by 2030, a key milestone in reaching climate neutrality in 2050.
With renewable energy coming to the fore and countries across the globe welcoming a circular economy by gradually reducing fossil fuels, we are firmly moving ahead to tap into carbon-neutral energy sources. It is a transition in action, and the electricity generated from clean sources will be a fulcrum of this change. Electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydro, biofuels, waste heat, etc., would lead to this tectonic change in the energy industry.
In the next three decades, electricity’s role as a sustainable energy stream will be revolutionary. Electricity will be the backbone of the entire energy system, and we need to ensure that we have a modern energy system that fits this future. We can create a sustainable energy landscape that meets our present needs and safeguards the well-being of future generations.
Building Partnerships at COP28 UAE
COP28 UAE will take centre stage by bringing together over 70,000 delegates, including heads of state and world leaders, to build consensus and facilitate progress on climate action among parties, delegates and thousands of non-government organizations, companies, youth groups, and other stakeholders. By fostering international collaboration, COP28 seeks effective pathways to decarbonize various sectors, aligning efforts with the overarching objective of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The conference plays a pivotal role in shaping climate policies, emphasising fast-tracking a just and well-managed energy transition. Through its Action Agenda pillars, including fixing climate finance and ensuring full inclusivity, COP28 endeavours to provide a robust response to the Global Stocktake and keep the 1.5-degree target within reach.
Behind these efforts, we are advancing a sustainable energy future for all. As we progress, we lay the foundation for a more sustainable and prosperous world that ensures a brighter future.