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Harnessing the huge renewables potential of emerging economies

If the global community still wants to prevent the climate catastrophe, the focus of the measures should not be on the industrialized nations alone - even though they are responsible for a large part of the emissions and the resulting climate change. The focus should also be on emerging economies and countries of the global south, because there is still huge untapped potential there.

The potential for wind energy must finally be tapped in emerging economies and countries of the global south, demands the GWEC (Image: Pixabay)The potential for wind energy must finally be tapped in emerging economies and countries of the global south, demands the GWEC (Image: Pixabay)

Fighting the climate catastrophe is a race against time that can only be won if all nations pull together. This includes the expansion of renewable energies in emerging economies and countries of the global south. According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), in order to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C by the end of this century alone, the annual volume of wind energy development must be increased by a factor of about four in the coming decade. This is an enormous challenge that can only be met with a shared vision and close collaboration between governments, industries and societies.

Countries in the global south and emerging economies play a key role here. A new report from GWEC and BVG Associates focuses on five of these countries and highlights their enormous wind energy potential, much of which has remained untapped to date. In just five years, Argentina, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia and Morocco could add 3.5 GW of wind energy capacity. This would generate $12.5 billion in additional revenue for the domestic economy and create 130,000 full-time jobs.

GWEC's executive director, Ben Backwell, points out, "The energy transition is an opportunity for countries in every region in the world to rebuild and grow their economies on a foundation of clean energy, green jobs and secure power. This report sets out how making clear policy commitments, developing infrastructure and streamlining permitting rules will unlock renewable potential and large amounts of investment in these five countries."

In doing so, the countries do not have to start from scratch. Egypt has already set ambitious goals for expanding renewable energy and has initiated cooperative ventures e.g. with the German Siemens Group in recent years. Large wind farms are under construction or planned for the coming years. But here, too, there is still great potential lying dormant. Accelerated expansion would result in 45% more wind turbines, which would equate to an additional 1.15 GW, 164,000 additional full-time jobs, and potentially more than $2 billion for the economy.

Ideal conditions for wind, solar, and hydrogen exist in Morocco. Now it's up to its policymakers. (Image: Pixabay)

The key lies primarily with policymakers, who need to focus their actions even more on making the energy transition a success. "Pro-active policy-making and working in coordination with the industry and investors can deliver accelerated deployment of wind and renewable energy, which means new jobs, new high tech manufacturing, and accelerated growth for developing economies," Blackwell says.

In Morocco, the situation is similar. In addition to the expansion of wind and solar plants, the focus here is also on building an infrastructure for green hydrogen in cooperation with the Europeans.

In South America, the potential is similarly large, according to the report 'Capturing economic opportunities from wind power in developing economies'. Countries like Brazil and Chile have been developing their resources for years, while Colombia and Argentina are still lagging behind. Both countries would benefit: 64,000 new jobs for Argentina, even 150,000 in Colombia plus massive revenues for the respective national budgets.

The investors are there, it's just that policymakers need to lay the groundwork: "The time for action is now, and countries must set out policies that match their climate and energy ambitions. This report sets out how policymakers can overcome common hurdles to take that action," Blackwell said.

Katrin Radtke
GWEC, untapped, potential, emerging economy, Egypt, Morocco, Colombia, Argentia, Indonesia, growth, climate change, renewable energy

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