What drew your organisation to join the ETC?
Our vision is to create a world that runs entirely on green energy and to show stakeholders that it can be done both with speed and sustainability at its core. I think this aligns very closely to what ETC has set out to achieve. ETC provides the world with much needed insights about the green energy transformation – from robust analysis based on data to concrete policy recommendations – and we at Ørsted are proud to feed into the work and collaborate with the wider ETC network. We have deep knowledge about the renewable energy sector, but we know that transformative change cannot be done alone, so we firmly believe in working together to move the needle on everything from technological advancement to removing the barriers slowing down the energy transition.
What do you see as the ETC’s most impactful achievement since you’ve been a Commissioner/Representative?
The ETC has made some significant contributions to the global effort to advance the energy transition. Both by providing analytical insights needed and by mobilizing support from the people and organisations on the forefront of climate action. Most importantly, ETC has been instrumental in shifting the narrative from ‘is it at all possible to reach net-zero emissions globally?” ‘what’s the fastest and most cost-efficient way to reach net-zero emissions globally?”.
A specific contribution has been in ETC’s work with other global leaders, including World Economic Forum, RMI and We Mean Business in establishing the Mission Possible Partnerships. Another is formulating ambitious transition strategies for some of the sectors where emissions are the hardest to abate, in collaboration with the industries and stakeholders that will be part of realizing this transformative industrial change.
What do you see as the biggest obstacle on the journey to net-zero?
We need to speed up the deployment of renewable energy. In many countries, it takes longer to permit a windfarm than it takes to build it. Slow permitting procedures are killing the momentum at precisely the time where we need to speed up. The ETC released an excellent briefing that focused on streamlining permitting procedures and found that even simple changes could reduce project development times by more than half for wind and solar projects.
Another obstacle on the journey to net-zero is decarbonizing the hard-to-abate sectors. With these sectors, such as shipping and aviation, we do not have the luxury of time on our side. Scaling both supply and demand as well as continuing the cost-out journey all must happen simultaneously.
What are the key milestones you see on the road to net-zero, and why?
I think it’s important to acknowledge that we have already reached some significant milestones. This doesn’t mean that we have ‘solved’ everything – far from it – but important nevertheless to celebrate the momentum that we have collectively been able to gather:
- Cross-sector coalitions or collaborations – such as the First Mover’s Coalition – are showing the real momentum being driven by the private sector.
- There is a fairly robust, global framework for climate negotiations that have generally speaking shown increasing levels of ambition.
- We have collectively reached a point where the bulk of renewable energy generation is now cheaper than existing fossil fuel generation in most parts of the world.
Going forward, some of the important milestones will be:
- Seeing the establishment of a global P2X industry at scale and the continued cost-out journey of renewable hydrogen and e-fuels.
- Both on the supply and demand side, increased support for and uptake of the technologies needed to decarbonize hard to abate sectors – e.g. low carbon steel and cement.
- More global and political momentum behind the phase out of all fossil fuels.
What is the one necessary change you feel most personally passionate about in the transition journey?
Unlocking the full potential of green energy. I believe that green energy can do so much more beyond reducing global emissions. Building green energy at scale can help decarbonize industries, build local supply chains, create good paying jobs, boost economic growth, revitalize local communities, enhance biodiversity and much more.
We’re committed to creating a world that runs entirely on green energy – and a world where green energy brings positive change to everyone.