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Interview with Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s Director-General

Interview with Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s Director-General
02 . Mar . 2022

The virtual interview below, which you can read together with the others in this issue of Energy Journal, has Francesco La Camera as the protagonist. Francesco La Camera is the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). He brings more than thirty years of experience in the fields of climate, sustainability, and international cooperation. Previously, Mr. La Camera served as Director-General of Sustainable Development, Environmental Damage, EU and International Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land & Sea since 2014.

In order to achieve the ambitious decarbonization goals, it is important to improve the technology utilized in the mobility sector. In this respect, what are some of the most important digital innovations?

The increasing diffusion of artificial intelligence and big data, the Internet of Things and storage systems are key factors to achieve (by 2050) the production of over 60% of global energy from wind and photovoltaic sources. Clearly, a systemic approach combining technology with new business models will be necessary to achieve this. Moreover, these solutions will have to be implemented coherently through careful planning and an intelligent development of policy. The good news is that we already have many of the tools that we need to decarbonize the economy.

Source: “Renewable Technology Innovations in Focus at IRENA Innovation Day in Bangkok

Speaking of technology innovation, what are some of the most cutting-edge developments that could bring relevant transformations in the mobility sector?

While the current crisis has undoubtedly underlined global interconnections and strengthened the vision of a more resilient society at national and regional levels, it has also highlighted the vast differences in countries’ circumstances and capacities. International cooperation is needed to tackle deeply embedded shortfalls and vulnerabilities, and crisis responses must reflect global co-dependency. Investments must be directed everywhere they are needed, including to the most vulnerable countries and communities. In the creation of future infrastructure, energy solutions aimed at scaling up renewables provide a safe and visionary strategic investment choice. Recovery measures could help to install flexible power grids, efficiency solutions, electric vehicle (EV) charging systems, energy storage, interconnected hydropower, green hydrogen, and multiple other clean energy technologies.

With the need for energy decarbonization unchanged, such investments safeguard against short-sighted decisions and increased accumulation of stranded assets. Research and innovation are vital to keep improving the technologies and reduce the costs for sustainable energy. This is especially true in end-use sectors like transport, heating, and cooling, as well as for enabling technologies such as energy storage and green hydrogen. Governments must embrace these forward-looking options to ensure that public policies and investment decisions reflect the true potential for low-carbon economic development.

Source: Staying on Course: Renewable Energy in the Time of COVID-19

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