Achieving the Green Transition in the energy sector

June 10, 2022 - 5 minutes read

On 5th June 2022, individuals, communities, civil societies, businesses and governments worldwide came together to mark World Environment Day under the theme #OnlyOneEarth. Stockholm held official celebrations where the host country Sweden announced a ban on issuing new licenses to extract coal, oil, and natural gas from 1st July this year to protect people and the planet.

The Swedish Minister for Climate and the Environment, Annika Strandhäll, stated, “Making the green jobs of the future by accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy is one of the most important aspects of implementing the government’s climate ambitions. I believe that we need to take action against activities that harm human health and the environment.” Adding to her statement, she pointed out that winners in the global race will be those that speed up the transition, not those that linger and cling to fossil fuels.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, renewable energy sources account for most of the energy supply. The Big Five (Algeria, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, and Egypt) are still heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Most of Sub-Saharan Africa’s energy comes from renewable sources. At the same time, countries like Algeria, Nigeria, Morocco, South Africa, and Egypt (the Big Five) remain heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

The former United Nations (U.N.) climate envoy Mary Robinson said that African countries should be able to exploit their vast natural gas reserves despite the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Compared to fossil fuels, natural gas is the most environmentally friendly since it burns cleaner than other fossil fuels. Natural gas emits 50 to 60 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO2) than oil or coal-fired power plants. Natural gas, however, releases greenhouse gasses that have a shorter lifetime. 

With climate change effects being experienced globally, there’s been a need to take action against the world’s consumption, leading to the triple planetary crisis- climate crisis, nature loss crisis, the pollution and waste crisis. Significantly, we find ways to transition from a linear to a circular economy. Circular economies can promote greater renewable energy uptake and transition. To promote a sustainable energy transition, regional financial institutions, such as the African Development Bank and governments, can continue to finance scalable technologies and implement ‘intentional’ regulations guided by circular principles and a just transition.

As part of Kenya’s transition to cleaner energy, the country plans to retire or convert heavy fuel oil-fired power plants to use liquefied natural gas by 2030. Kenya already has 90 per cent of its grid sourced from renewable sources, which places it among the world’s leading clean energy producers. President Uhuru Kenyatta has pushed for investment in this sector with numerous dialogues on how this will be achieved. Despite Africa producing less than 4 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gasses, we have suffered the brunt of climate change, and efforts to cope are constrained by inadequate funding.

Therefore, the financial sector is essential in addressing the transition to clean energy as it needs to increase investment in clean energy in emerging and developing economies. Additionally, they need to know how borrowers impacted by the energy transition plan get from A to B in responsible and profitable manners and what support they need. The new energy systems will create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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