• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Africa key to global energy transition – Belgian Energy Minister

Africa key to global energy transition – Belgian Energy Minister

The African continent will play a key role in the success of the world’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, says Tinne Van der Straeten, Belgium’s Minister of Energy.

Van der Straeten, who is also a Ministerial Vice-Chair of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said the African continent has vast potential for wind and solar technologies, allowing for the development of onshore and offshore wind farms, large scale solar parks, and green hydrogen facilities.

“It is an opportunity for the entire continent while also supporting other countries’ transition objectives,” she said at the recent IEA’s 2022 Ministerial meeting in Paris, France.

The meeting saw global energy stakeholders come together to send a strong message of unity on the need to strengthen energy security, reduce market volatility, and accelerate clean energy transitions worldwide.

Also, ministers from the IEA’s 31-member countries said the ministerial meeting marks “the launch of a new phase of the Agency”, with a series of new mandates setting out its mission going forwards.

“In addition to ensuring global energy security, the IEA has a new guiding principle: supporting countries in the global effort to attain net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector by mid-century,” the Ministers said in a joint communiqué.

Read also: Inclusivity for a transitional energy industry

Meanwhile, the new IEA mandates include ensuring energy security during the energy transition and leading the global energy sector’s fight against climate change, with a particular emphasis on expanding the IEA’s work on critical minerals required for clean energy technologies.

Jennifer Mulhern Granholm, United States of America’s Secretary of Energy, who chaired the two-day meeting, said the IEA Member Countries and the European Commission banded together on actions to support Ukraine, stabilize the global energy market, and ultimately end their reliance on nations that weaponise fossil energy.

“The urgent need to accelerate the equitable transition to clean energy remains a top priority, and must be accelerated,” she said. Adding that “they are committed to a clean energy future that will create millions of good-paying jobs, mitigate the destructive impacts of climate change, and ensure a peaceful energy future.”

In addition, Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA reiterated the dynamism in the energy world, as it is changing fast and how it needs to keep changing faster.

“The IEA is ready to support the twin goals of energy security and the clean energy transition, and I’m delighted that our Member Countries, under the leadership of Secretary Granholm, are giving us the responsibilities and the resources to tackle the major challenges of our time,” Birol said.

Birol also emphasized that the IEA was founded nearly 50 years ago during the oil crisis of the 1970s, and the Ministerial Meeting is setting it up to help lead the response to the energy and climate crises we face today.