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Rise in renewables changing geopolitical discourse: IRENA report

PW Bureau 

The speedy rise in renewable sources will ‘alter the global distribution of power, relations between states, the risk of conflict, and the social, economic and environmental drivers of geopolitical instability’ Abu Dhabi: The gradual shift from fossil fuel generators such as coal, oil and gas, to renewable energy sources may perhaps bring down energy-related geopolitical tensions, a commission set up by the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), says in a report. The speedy rise in renewable sources will “alter the global distribution of power, relations between states, the risk of conflict, and the social, economic and environmental drivers of geopolitical instability,” according to the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation. “The global energy transformation driven by renewables can reduce energy-related geopolitical tensions as we know them and will foster greater cooperation between states. This transformation can also mitigate social, economic and environmental challenges that are often among the root causes of geopolitical instability and conflict,” said Adnan Z Amin, Director-General of IRENA. Typical policies like price subsidies and guaranteed grid takeoff have boosted the growth of renewables around the globe, with the commission stating that technological advances and falling costs have made renewables grow faster than any other energy source. Since 2010, the average cost of electricity from solar sources and wind energy has fallen by 73 percent and 22 percent respectively, says the report. The report also acknowledges that it is difficult to predict precisely how events will unfold, given the complex and dynamic nature of the transition. The report, called ‘A New World,’ was launched at IRENA’s ninth general assembly in Abu Dhabi.