Doubling global annual investment in the clean-energy transition over the next three years will support a sustainable recovery post-COVID-19 and create an additional 5.5 million jobs, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) told Masdar employees at a company virtual event.
The agency estimates US$2 trillion needs to be invested in energy transformation each year in the “recovery phase” from 2021 to 2023, Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General, said at the event. However, he acknowledged that this is more than double the US$825 billion invested in renewable energy and other energy transition technologies last year. “This gives a sense of the challenge that we have in front of us,” he conceded.
“The energy system we need is within our grasp,” he told Masdar staff. “And yet, in response to the current health and economic crisis, where governments have already announced a commitment in-excess of US$10 trillion in stimulus packages, we still do not see energy coming as a priority.”
La Camera was presenting key findings from IRENA’s Post-COVID recovery: An agenda for resilience, development and equality report, which outlines immediate stimulus action for the years 2021 to 2023, as well as longer-term measures for a mid-term 2030 recovery.
While investment would need to come from both the public and private sectors, “if we make the right choice to determine how we spend public money we can leverage three-to-four times private investment,” La Camera said.
Investment on the level envisaged by IRENA would create a net 5.5 million jobs in the energy sector, La Camera said, with IRENA estimating that every US$1 million invested would lead to 25 new jobs in renewables, while the same investment will create 10 jobs in energy efficiency.