Engage the people to deliver energy transformation, urge MPs

(Eco Business, 19 Jan 2020) The clean energy transition is sluggish, but encouraging communities to actively participate in it could help bring countries up to speed, say lawmakers from Belgium to India.

As growth of renewables faces bottlenecks due to faltering investment and lagging grid upgrades needed to accommodate more solar and wind, bringing in citizens willing to take a direct stake in the clean energy switch could help revitalise momentum and hasten renewables deployment.

Global political leaders from Sierra Leone, India and the United Kingdom, among others, at the tenth assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi in January discussed how parliamentarians, in their role as a bridge between government and communities, could drive the clean energy transition.

They said through increased awareness of the benefits of renewables, conducive frameworks and financial incentives, governments could garner public support for renewables and foster citizen-led initiatives that could alleviate government budget constraints currently hampering clean energy development.

“As parliamentarians, we are agents of change in our society,” said Andries Gryffroy, a member of the Belgian parliament, speaking at the legislator’s forum of the assembly. “We represent the people. But it should no longer be about making decisions in the name of the people; it should be about working with them.”

“To speed up the shift to clean energy, you need to have your consumers and prosumers with you,” he told the audience. “Low budgets have slowed down the transition, but we must start thinking beyond government budgets. The approach has to be bottom-up, or the switch will not be affordable.”

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Eco Business, 19 Jan 2020: Engage the people to deliver energy transformation, urge MPs