Conference on renewable energy and climate change at the ACP Secretariat
November the 14th concluded the first series of workshops of the ACP renewable energy and climate change conference, falling just weeks ahead of the United Nations annual summit on climate change (COP 17) in Durban early December. The conference is an attempt to strengthen national, regional and continental policy cohesion to boost investment and sustainable use of renewable energy in ACP countries. It brought together over one hundred people representing forty countries, including representatives of public bodies, experts, researchers, beneficiaries, private investors already present in the ACP countries and prospecting financiers entering the potential market of the 79 ACP states.
Developers and entrepreneurs in the field of renewable energy made it clear at the conference that investments in renewable energy are already profitable, offering attractive returns, albeit over a longer period for most renewable energy technologies. These investments require higher up-front capital than those using conventional energy sources, but they reduce the cost of energy in additional to social, economic and environmental impacts. While it is hard to break bad habits and to overcome resistance from vested interests in conventional energy, speakers at the conference succeeded to break the myth about the high cost of renewable energy. Technologies are there and projects are there ! So, what is still standing in the way of scaling up investments in renewable energy?
Developers of renewable energy projects made a strong case for the development of an ambitious programme of scaling up investments in renewable energy notably by boosting the business climate for the sector for more transparent, sound and business-friendlier rules of the game. This would require, among others, the strengthening of local capacities to manage the sector. Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) have also a key role to play in the renewable energy sector and should adapt their procedures and operating modus operandi to the needs of the sector.
Following the workshop on renewable energy, a set of recommendations were adopted with potentially far-reaching impacts, notably drawing the attention of governments to the need for gearing up to higher market penetration of renewable energy. In this regard, the conference recommended that a Renewable Energy Business Climate facility is set up to play a catalyst role in boosting the business climate in the renewable energy sector.
For further information on the conference and access to presentations, please visit the event webpage at http://acpbusinessclimate.org/wordpress/events/2011-11-14/