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Secure and Affordable Energy Access Minus Emissions is the Biggest Challenge of Global Energy Systems: IEA Chief


The global energy system is faced with the twin challenges of providing secure and affordable energy access for billions of people and having to do so without harming the environment, Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, said at the inaugural session of CEEW’s Energy Horizons Leadership Dialogues. Dr Birol joined Mr Jamshyd Godrej, Chairperson CEEW, for a wide-ranging conversation on ‘India and the New Energy Order’ where he shared his vision, experiences and ideas on strengthening collaborations and establishing strategic partnerships in energy and resource security.

“Both these problems (providing energy access and reducing emissions) are urgent and strategic but also solvable if we want to solve them. There are technologies, proven energy policies and enough capital in the world if we all come together,” Dr Birol added.

In his keynote address, Dr. Birol lauded India’s “many major achievements” in its effort to improve energy access for its citizens, pointing to the success of government initiatives such as the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and the UJALA scheme. He suggested India could build on its achievements in renewable energy, underscoring its “huge potential” for solar power generation, and said India had “room for improvement” in efficient energy use.

Mr Jamshyd Godrej said making renewables the dominant source of energy in India would require significant change not just from a technical standpoint but also a social one. Pointing to the specific problem of air pollution, he said linkages between the energy transition and of health have not been adequately appreciated.

India is currently an IEA Association country and recently signed a Strategic Partnership Framework with the Paris-based agency.Dr Fatih Birol said he wanted New Delhi to further deepen its engagement with the organisation by becoming a full member, joining a list of 30 nations with that status.

Watch the full conversation between Dr Birol and Mr Godrej below.

Stay tuned for upcoming sessions of CEEW’s Energy Horizons Leadership Dialogues, a series of hour-long conversations on challenges and opportunities to accelerate the energy transition in emerging economies. Watch the teaser here.