Bloomberg Philanthropies and IRENA Announce COP28 Partnership to Help Accelerate the Global Energy Transition
New commitment from Bloomberg Philanthropies will turbocharge IRENA’s Energy Transition Accelerator Financing Platform to deliver a pipeline of bankable renewable energy projects ahead of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference
Abu Dhabi, UAE (22 May 2023) – Today, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) announced a new COP28 partnership to turbocharge clean energy deployment and capital mobilization in emerging markets and developing economies. The official announcement took place in the presence of His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, President-Designate of COP28, Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, and Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Ahead of COP28 and the milestone Global Stocktake – assessing national contributions and progress against the goals of the Paris Agreement – Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support will enable IRENA to advance efforts to drive the widespread adoption of renewable energy and reduce political, technical, and financial barriers to the energy transition by:
- Building capacities in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America: Deepening IRENA’s capacity to design tailor-made, scalable renewable energy initiatives through policy recommendations, technical support, and financing solutions towards accelerated decarbonization and stronger climate resilience for lives and livelihoods.
- Strengthening project finance and preparation: Bolstering the Energy Transition Accelerator Financing (ETAF) Platform – IRENA’s global climate finance platform aimed at mobilizing capital to scale up renewables-based energy transition technologies in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) by 2030 – and expanding the technical and financial feasibility work needed to deliver a robust pipeline of potential projects.
- Facilitating private capital mobilization: In the lead-up to COP28 – in partnership with the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) – Bloomberg Philanthropies and IRENA will work together toward the goal of presenting readily investable energy transition projects to financial institutions that have committed to net zero and seek to increase investments in climate solutions in developing countries.
A robust supply of bankable renewable energy projects is one of the main barriers to scaling up the financing of clean energy – especially in EMDEs. According to IRENA, investment in renewables reached USD 0.5 trillion in 2022; however, this is less than one-third of the average annual investments needed until 2030 to hit net-zero emission goals by 2050. To accelerate the pipeline of attractive renewable energy projects, Bloomberg and IRENA’s new partnership will reduce risk for potential developers and investors by providing vigorous technical and financial expertise to eligible projects that meet environmental, social, regulatory, and economic factors and implementation readiness.
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate, who as Chairman of Masdar, one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy, played a pivotal role, in the UAE’s successful bid to host IRENA, said: “The UAE welcomes this ambitious partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and IRENA to champion innovation and deliver clean energy, climate action, and economic prosperity for emerging markets in the Global South”, adding that “The world must move faster and further than ever before to seize the moment of the Global Stocktake and close the gap between ambition and reality. I look forward to working hand in hand with Bloomberg Philanthropies and IRENA to create a paradigm shift for tangible progress and help ensure that COP28 UAE delivers on its promise to deliver game-changing solutions for all.”
“Increasing the production of renewable energy is an urgent necessity, and doing it requires strong partnerships across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “By working closely with the International Renewable Energy Agency, we’ll help countries in the Global South develop the capacity they need to build clean energy projects more quickly and efficiently. We look forward to working with IRENA, and all of our partners, to accelerate the clean energy transition.”
“While we continue to make progress on the energy transition, it is still way off track,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. “Annual additions of renewable power capacity must grow three times the current level by 2030 if we want to stay on track to limiting the impacts of climate change and stay below 1.5°C. As we drive towards solutions at COP28, today’s agreement between IRENA and Bloomberg Philanthropies will accelerate the development and delivery of renewable energy projects in the countries that need it most.”
Today’s announcement supports Bloomberg Philanthropies’ overarching partnership with the COP28 Presidency to galvanize climate action by increasing clean energy development and capital mobilization both in the lead-up to and on the ground at the climate conference in Dubai.
The Bloomberg-IRENA COP28 partnership also complements Bloomberg Philanthropies’ collaborations with GFANZ, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and other organizations to support developing countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America to accelerate coal phaseout, develop viable pathways to net-zero, and speed deployment of renewable energy.
Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require a significant scale-up of renewable energy supply to enable the transition away from fossil fuels. In March, IRENA released the World Energy Transitions Outlook Preview 2023, which identified the urgent need to course-correct the energy transition to keep the 1.5°C target within reach. While 2022 saw the largest-ever annual increase in renewable energy capacity, 75% of the added capacity was centered in China, the European Union, and the United States. And while clean energy investment has recently grown, capital is overwhelmingly concentrated in the Global North; in 2021, renewable energy investment per capita in North America was 57 times that in Sub-Saharan Africa. Rapidly scaling clean energy infrastructure, building more supportive and enabling policy environments, and granting easier access to capital for clean energy projects will foster clean energy infrastructure in the countries that need it most.
Roughly 770 million people – primarily across Africa and Asia – lack access to electricity. As countries across the Global South develop and energy demand grows, ensuring that power needs are met by renewable energy rather than fossil fuels will be crucial to meeting international climate goals. In most countries in Africa and Asia, coal – the most polluting form of fuel on Earth – is the dominant source of electricity generation, leading to poor outcomes for air quality, health, and climate and undermining the competitiveness of these economies. Anchored in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ ongoing clean energy programs in 32 countries and the EU, today’s announcement aims to help deliver on United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ call to secure clean energy access for all by 2030.