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IEA’s Birol Urges Power Sector to Double Renewable Energy Investment

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The electricity sector will have to double its renewable energy investment to meet the goals in the Paris Agreement, International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said last week during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Renewable energy is becoming cheaper,” Birol said. “Our numbers at the IEA give us a lot of hope,” with renewables accounting for more than half of the new electricity generating capacity installed last year.

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Those numbers show “that renewables is not a romantic story any more, it’s a business.” But out of the $1.8 trillion available to the global power sector, “I’m afraid only 16% of that went on renewables and energy efficiency,” he said. “The rest goes mainly on oil and gas and other energy sources. In order to reach the targets that we agreed in Paris, we need renewables.”

Birol stressed the need for investment in energy efficiency alongside renewables, and highlighted nuclear generation and natural gas as energy sources that will also play a continuing role. “It would be wrong to tell the world about just one single fuel,” he said. “We need to provide a package according to the need.”