Global alliance launches for a just, sustainable transition

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The Global Alliance for Sustainable Energy has been launched by some 17 organisations to ensure the full sustainability of the wind and solar energy sectors.

The founding partners including EDP, Global Solar Council, Global Wind Energy Council, Iberdrola, Politecnico di Milano, Politecnico di Torino and ReNew Power will employ a collaborative approach and innovative ideas to ensure the renewable energy sector is fully sustainable for people and the environment.

The Alliance will aim to ensure the energy transition is a ‘just transition’ for players within various segments of the energy chain and that sustainability is a key focus from an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) perspective.

The Global Alliance for Sustainable Energy will partner with civil society, end-users, policymakers, academic institutions, materials suppliers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to understand the impacts of the energy transition and interact with governments and investors to come up with solutions.

To meet the 2050 net-zero goal, the world needs to generate 70% of total electricity from solar and wind by then, according to the International Energy Agency. However, ensuring sustainability across the production, installation, maintenance, and operation value chain of wind and solar will mean full sustainability of these sectors. This is where the sector is still struggling.

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For instance, solar and wind energy face similar sustainable deployment challenges, and as such bringing together players from the industries will enable the sharing of expertise and possible solutions to ensure sustainability is a key focus in project rollouts, resulting in net-zero goals being reached in a simplified and cost-effective manner, according to a statement.

The Alliance will start by focusing on four key areas: net-zero emissions and CO2 footprints; circular economy and design; human rights; and the water footprints.

The Alliance is aligned with the 2030 agenda set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Salvatore Bernabei, the CEO of Enel Green Power, said: “We have to act now – and act together – in making a serious commitment towards carbon-free, sustainable energy.

“We will pursue our mission to make a collective impact in embedding sustainability across the entire value chain by leveraging on core, shared values: responsibility, respect for human rights, protection of the environment and biodiversity, but also open collaboration and transparency.”

Ben Backwell, the CEO of GWEC, said: “The wind industry has a crucial role to play in cleaning up the dirty parts of the global economy such as steel, cement, and heavy transport but also to decarbonize our own supply chain at the same time.

“Work on the wind industry’s own sustainability is already underway as we move from pilot projects to a full-scale industry approach, addressing challenges such as circular economy solutions to blade recycling and protecting labor practices and human rights in a rapidly expanding workforce.”