Clean energy technologies, including solar, wind, hydrogen, batteries and carbon capture (CCUS) should be a central premise of any government stimulus plan given that the coronavirus crisis has made electricity indispensable for the functioning of life, the International Energy Agency (IEA) head said in a statement on Monday.
Fatih Birol explained that the huge disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the degree to which modern societies rely on electricity.
Due to the coronavirus, millions of people are in their homes, resorting to teleworking to do their jobs, e-commerce sites to do their shopping, and streaming video platforms to find entertainment.
Birol urged that governments consider the benefit of clean energy as part of government stimulus plans in an effort to counter the economic damage from the crisis.
Clean energy will bring the twin benefits of stimulating economies and accelerating clean energy transitions, he said.
"These stimulus packages offer an excellent opportunity to ensure that the essential task of building a secure and sustainable energy future doesn’t get lost amid the flurry of immediate priorities," he said.
He noted that a reliable electricity supply underpins all of these services, as well as powering devices that are taken for granted such as fridges, washing machines and light bulbs.
"In many countries, electricity is critical for operating the ventilators and other medical equipment in the hospitals treating the soaring numbers of sick people," he said.
- Oil producer economies face critical challenges
The IEA head also addressed how the global oil and gas markets are facing an unprecedented situation with the coronavirus pandemic.
"Oil demand is collapsing because of the impact of the coronavirus while supply, already overabundant, is significantly increasing," he said.
Recognizing these growing structural pressures, some producers have announced ambitious reform efforts aimed at diversifying their economies and promoting private sector growth.
Biro also recommended that as governments seek to accelerate their clean energy transitions, they should not forget the importance of low-carbon gases such as biomethane and biogas.
By Gulsen Cagatay