IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera expressed his feelings toward the current market situation noting that the oil market volatility is unlikely to have a significant impact on renewable energy plans and investments.

“Oil plays a negligible role in power generation and therefore does not compete with renewables in this respect. Renewables have become the dominant source of new power generation capacity over the last six years because they are competitive at the bottom end of the conventional fossil fuel power generation cost range – primarily with coal,” La Camera said.

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He added: “Oil plays a much more important role in the transport sector, which accounts for half of total demand, and where without low-emission transport policies in place, an extended period of low oil prices, may impact the speed of electric vehicle adoption.

“Conversely, oil price volatility may undermine the viability of unconventional oil and gas resources as well as long-term contracts, providing a window of opportunity to reduce or redirect fossil fuel subsidies towards clean energy, while minimising the potential of social disruption.

“Data from the previous oil price crash in 2014 shows no evidence of a link between the two. On the contrary, renewables investment reached new heights in both 2014 and 2015. The severity and duration of the impacts this time remains to be seen.”

Stressing the current COVID-19 situation, La Camera said: “The outbreak of COVID-19 threatens global supply chains in many sectors and is therefore likely to have an impact on renewable energy. The severity and duration of both situations remain [to be] seen.

“What is critical to understand, is that the long-term planning horizons involved, and the momentum that currently exists in the energy transformation, means neither low oil prices nor COVID-19 will interrupt or change our path towards decarbonisation of our societies and towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals.”

Originally published on esi-africa.com

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