Excerpt from sei.org
As the energy transition accelerates, it is our responsibility, it is our opportunity, to ensure that in addition to contributing to a healthy planet by replacing fossil fuels with clean energy sources, this is accomplished in a just and equitable manner providing prosperity for all.
Many things have changed in the half century since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972. As we prepare for Stockholm+50, a key question to ask is: ‘What is different now?’ Or more explicitly, ‘What is different now compared with Stockholm 1972, Rio 1992, Johannesburg 2002 and, more recently, Rio 2012, Addis Ababa 2015 and Paris 2015?’ While there may be many answers, one fits neatly for our time: we are now in the midst of an energy transition, which was not the case even as recently as 2015.
The energy transition combines different dimensions, such as digitization, electrification and decarbonization. Trends towards digitization and electrification have long been observable and are accelerating, but it is only very recently that renewable energy sources have become the least–cost alternative for electricity generation in most parts of the world, particularly solar and wind (International Renewable Energy Agency [IRENA], 2020a). In the words of the International Energy Agency (IEA), solar power is now ‘consistently cheaper than new coal or gas–fired power plants in most countries, and solar projects now offer some of the lowest–cost electricity ever seen’ (IEA 2020, p. 18).