news - Investing in our planet by investing in clean energy


Investing in our planet by investing in clean energy

April 22, 2022

On April 11 and 12 the Future of Energy conference brought us together in Amsterdam to reflect on the trends, challenges and opportunities shaping the energy sector. The event was attended by experts coming from as far away as Argentina, Nigeria and Singapore, looking to share the insights and questions they have faced over the past few years. In particular, the event allowed attendees, speakers and organizers to come to the crucial realization that the future is shaped today.  

While many events and conferences have claimed to be future oriented, one refreshing aspect of the Future of Energy conference was that it brought the future much closer to the realities of today. The sessions allowed participants to realistically project themselves in a world where clean energy is the norm, because it simply has to be.

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There is something remarkable about a distant possibility becoming a tangible option. Suddenly, the content of the conversations changed: from talking about when, to talking about now, and already taking actions to report back on by the next edition. The format of the discussions changed too: closed doors became open forums where the usually distant markets were represented by real people with real voices, and where the youth were given the microphone to share their concerns and propositions. This was a much-needed shift after two years of virtual conferencing, and there was a clear need to come together to discuss the best ways to harness the opportunities.

Indeed, time is of the essence: the recently-published IPCC report gives humanity just eight years to reduce CO2 by 50% from 2010 levels, a challenge all participants were ready to meet at their level, exchanging ideas on the best ways to electrify their sectors in a clean way. 

To further complicate things, the fact that fragile and emerging economies contribute the least to the climate crisis was on everyone’s mind, and specifically on the FMO side. While those countries account for 24% of global emissions, 30% of their GDP will be affected by climate change due to a lack of financial resources and poor infrastructure. They are most vulnerable to extreme weather events and in need of adequate support.

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At FMO, we are working hard to identify what that support looks like, as an institution with vast experience working in some of the world’s most unpredictable economic situations. As one speaker put it, “the investment climate is not helping climate investment”, and this is where we can add our expertise to the conversations and plans in the works to make a difference.

A critical part of making a difference will be on the subsidies to fossil fuels and the lowering of cost of capital to clean technologies: these measures send a signal and stimulate the market for investment in clean technologies which become favored over dirty ones. Clean technologies then become phased in and there is no longer a need for fossil fuels. While this sounds simple, it does require intense efforts and pressure on private and public actors, and just as important, working collaboratively at all levels. 

For us at FMO, and in the context of this Earth Day’s theme in particular, the Future of Energy conference was a reminder to strengthen the linkages with our local partners to increase the impact and the difference our investments are making. We have learned a lot in recent years, sometimes painful lessons, on the importance of securing a strong community base for a project to have its highest impact. From setting a joint vision, aligning interests, creating a mutual understanding and expectations, and agreeing on fair terms, our teams are committed to continuously improving the quality of our local connections to make sure that investments go a long way.

To remain a credible partner of value, capable of weighing on important discussions for renewable energy, decarbonization, or the phase out of coal, we will continue to work closely with our partners with a view to make clean energy technologies mainstream.

Renewables are a safe way to guarantee good health, nutrition, and education, and therefore a critical factor to achieve a more peaceful world; and while we remain committed to that objective, we recognize the importance of looking at the sector in all its complexity in terms of social and environmental impacts, which also weigh in on the end result. A challenge for a decade that we are ready to face.

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