The challenge is access to renewables; politics must play its part

The challenge is access to renewables; politics must play its part

Giuseppe Didonna
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Increasing energy security, connecting the areas in which energy is produced and extending bilateral agreements at an international level. These are the WEC guidelines to ensure the development of green energy

Renewable energies were the focus of the third day of WEC events. Particular emphasis was placed on how adequate legislation could promote growth in the use of new resources, which currently account for 30% of global energy production.

The need for legislation based on international parameters

We have made huge efforts to improve the #energyaccess system, now a reliable and interconnected system is needed #Eletrobras

Carlo Pignoloni, Head of Enel Green Power for Europe and North Africa, defined the political partnership as a "key" element, for implementing production that, as regards wind and solar power, does not yet exceed 5% of generated energy. Emphasizing the need for a large-scale legislation based on international parameters were Turkey’s hosts, with Ziya Altunyaldiz, who claimed a growth in his country in this field, with production from renewables amounting to 30% of the total; a figure which in Turkey, as elsewhere, in order to increase, requires guarantees in terms of international regulation, essential for attracting foreign capital, especially in developing countries with great energy potential but limited financial resources. Low production costs on the one hand and difficulties in dealing with the subsequent phases, namely storage, on the other, are two areas destined to play a leading role and offer great opportunities in the future energy market.
According to the CEO of Germany’s 50Hertz, Boris Schucht, the real challenge is finding not only technological control systems, but also "secure" networks for sharing production derived from renewables. "The more renewables you have available, the greater the risk of volatility, production is one thing; but then operators are also needed to ensure its optimized use in the territory". According to Schucht, the market is global, but the activation of the renewables market itself, goes through a local level. Energy transmission and distribution are key issues to address the problem of many areas in which the potential is huge, but the eligible production sites are located very far from consumption areas. An example of this is provided by Latin America, a continent with respect to which a report lays bare, on the one hand, the crucial importance of hydroelectric production (54% of the continent’s electricity) and, on the other hand, the weakness of this resource in the event of catastrophic natural events that are not new to the area. Climate change, along with cyber-attacks, according to José de Costa Carvalho Neto, the former Chairman and CEO of Eletrobras, is a threat capable of undermining the energy market of the whole of South America. "We have made huge efforts to improve the energy access system in the last 10 years, now a reliable system, interconnected at the regional level, is needed". Carvalho Neto emphasized the urgency of resolving these problems, pointing out that a country as large as Brazil uses electricity that is 75% derived from hydropower plants. According to Neto, solidity must be the real goal, to be pursued not only in the ability to predict catastrophic natural events, but also in technologies to defend against cyber-threats, since Brazil is already connected to Argentina and Uruguay and "soon the whole of South America will be interconnected".

An increase in production from renewables energy sources requires guarantees in terms of international regulation which are essential for attracting foreign capital

The guidelines of the WEC

There are three guidelines specified by the WEC to resolve these problems. The first is to increase security and to promote sustainable development where agriculture and energy have closer links. The second is to put the areas in which energy is generated in contact with the distribution channels and the third is to extend the agreements that, to date, remain bilateral, to an international level.
A strategy which, according to the World Energy Council, would be intended to benefit not only South America, but also the United States and Africa, where the access issue remains the greatest urgency.
Another topic on the agenda is the "Energy Trilemma": security, fairness and environmental sustainability. Describing the progress of works is the female head of the commission responsible for resolving these issues, Joan MacNaughton, who ensured that access to energy remains the priority. The Paris conference, the UN Assembly and G20 have addressed the issue by setting goals that, unfortunately, only 13 countries out of 125 have achieved in full. Nevertheless, in the past 15 years, the network of access to energy resources has increased by 5%. According to MacNaughton, this is "a lesson" for politics, considering that the margins of action left to the WEC to encourage investments and innovation in the transmission of energy produced have been reduced. The challenge is that which plans to minimize the political risk factor deriving from the "Trilemma". For this purpose, the Index ranking may encourage dialogue, provide data and steer investments, promoting the development of long-term strategies.