IRENA Director-General: Azerbaijan has all chances to host successful COP29 - INTERVIEW



IRENA Director-General: Azerbaijan has all chances to host successful COP29 - INTERVIEW



Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Francesco La Camera, who paid an official visit to Azerbaijan on the sidelines of the XI Global Baku Forum, was interviewed by the Azerbaijan State News Agency - AZERTAC.


AZERTAC presents the interview:


- The expansion of cooperation between Azerbaijan and IRENA is currently on the agenda. What kind of assistance is IRENA rendering and will render to Azerbaijan?


- So, we have lots of activities. We have our knowledge capacity, which can serve countries in reviewing their nationally determined contributions - NDCs in 2025. We may also facilitate investment in renewable energy in Azerbaijan. So, both the knowledge part and the implementation on the ground at the area where we can work together. We are collaborating with the country, we have a very good work relationship. Azerbaijan is also a member of the IRENA Council.


- What prospects does the expansion of cooperation with Azerbaijan promise for both IRENA and the country?


- We can do more, especially, in facilitating projects. We are also planning to have a new investment forum for the region and we are inviting Azerbaijan to host this investment forum. So, as you can see, the collaboration is there and it is growing.


- What measures should be taken to accelerate low-carbon transition and achieve sustainable development?


- This is the question that could be applied to everyone, including Azerbaijan. So, we have identified three main areas of structural barrier to more rapid deployment of renewables. One is the infrastructure. So, we need the grids that are interconnected, flexible and balanced. Secondly, we do not have all the policies that we need. Lastly, the skills and the institutional capacity. Moreover, our universities’ curriculum is linked to the old energy system. So, these are the areas where we should improve.


- Global investment in energy transition technologies, including energy efficiency, reached a record high of USD 1.3 trillion. However, how much raise in annual investments is needed to achieve the 1.5°C Scenario?


- When we are talking about all the system, we need to quadruple investment to 5.2 trillion. It is clear that we are moving in the right direction. The last year was a record year for the capacity of renewables, which made more than 60% than the previous year. So, it is a very big step. There is no doubt, where we are going. The problem is the time. The question is that we have this problem with climate change that obliges us to decrease the CO2 emission very rapidly. The direction is right but not the speed and the scale of it. So, we have to hurry up and scale up the energy transition.


- What are the binding measures to successfully implement the energy transition, limit the global temperature rise up to 1.5°C, as well as implement the Paris Agreement? Could you highlight IRENA’s top priorities regarding energy transition?


- Our priority is the overcoming of the three structural barriers that we have identified: infrastructure, policy, and skills. Furthermore, we need to think about the multilateral financial institutions that may support the renewing and strengthening infrastructure in the line that we have been just discussing.


- What further steps should be undertaken to accelerate clean hydrogen, sustainable biomass application and renewable energy installations?


- Naturally, hydrogen is still not fully competitive. We have seen that the cost of producing hydrogen has been going down. In some area it is already competitive. However, generally speaking, we need policies to support the demand for the green hydrogen, try to orient the market and provide enough demand for green hydrogen.


- As you know, Azerbaijan will host the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP29) this year. What are your expectations from the upcoming COP-29 Conference?


- I have been to Azerbaijan on multiple occasions. I have good personal and working relations with the country’s minister of energy. I think Azerbaijan and its government have all the chances to host very successful COP29. The goals are very clear. We should decide on new financial commitment. The other one is to make a clear understanding of where we are and how we have to raise the bar of ambition in the forthcoming season of the new NDCs. And the upcoming COP will set the frame for this ambition.