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ENGIE leads the Terrawatt Initiative at the United Nations

On November 30th 2015, President Hollande, Prime Minister Modi and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon formally announced one of the COP 21’s key initiatives: the International Solar Alliance (ISA). They called for one trillion dollars of investment in solar assets in 121 countries, via the Terrawatt Initiative. While the official signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement is held at the United Nations on April 22, a high-level roundtable of the ISA is organized to discuss the financing opportunities.

Almost 20% of the global population still lack access to electricity. ENGIE is fully committed to play a key role in the deployment of solar energy and to contribute to closing the gap regarding energy access, the 7th sustainable development goal.

What is Terrawatt?

During COP21, ENGIE launched the Terrawatt initiative, a non-profit organization bringing together a group of global energy companies and financial institutions to answer the call of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and mobilize the necessary investment.

This initiative aims to build a constructive and operational dialogue among its members and all the stakeholders involved in the production, transport, distribution and provision of electricity. The objective is to promote the production of affordable solar energy in the member states of the International Solar Alliance which gathers today 121 states. In order to achieve this goal, ISA wants to mobilize over USD 1,000 billion to finance the deployment of more than 1 terawatt of photovoltaic solar power production capacity between 2016 and 2030.

“Four months ago, I stood in Paris for a unique event (…) 195 countries and all of them in agreement: climate change is for real and we need to unite and act decisively, now. Something was new: governments and NGOs were no longer alone on the stage. For the first time, the corporate sector stood strong with them (…). Our idea is simple: if solar is now this massive game changer, then the key issue is how to make it happen everywhere! We have a roadmap: to standardize regulations and contracts, and most importantly to mitigate risks and improve transparency and trust at all levels. This will reduce the cost of capital and thus the cost of power generation in a self-feeding loop,” Isabelle Kocher, Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer, Chairperson of Terrawatt Initiative.

“The International Solar Alliance is one of the best example of the kind of concrete and pragmatic actions we need to unleash the solar energy potential. And Terrawatt initiative is another step forward that will maintain a constructive and operational dialogue between all stakeholders, and notably between public and private actors (…). We must decarbonize as fast as possible the way we generate power to limit our impact on climate change (…). If we don’t change in a way we master, things will change in a way we do not master (…).

There are no technological barriers:

  • PV (photovoltaic) is a low tech, simple mature and well known technology;
  • PV is highly industrializable and has a potential for a superfast production cost reduction: this is what already happened by more than 6 fold in the last 10 years;
  • PV efficiency is increasing regularly as manufacturing technics improve.

There is no capital scarcity. On the contrary, there is a very strong appetite for investment in solar, and more generally on renewable power generation. We are all gathered today to make it happen,” Gérard Mestrallet, CEO of ENGIE.

Climate Agreement
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