The CEO of the EDP group went to the United Nations (UN) in New York to defend the need for the world to invest in renewable energies. Miguel Stilwell d'Andrade also recalled the challenges that the energy sector faces in decarbonizing, at a time when EDP is preparing a massive 25 billion investment over the next four years at a global level.
"Science tells us that we need to accelerate the effort to achieve zero carbon. The energy sector is absolutely key. The stone age didn't end for lack of stones. I don't believe that the fossil fuel age will end for lack of fossil fuels. I hope they stay buried for a long time," he said at the UN headquarters in the USA.
"Renewable energy is very cheap today. The price is no longer a problem, and it brings energy independence," he said. And he gave examples: the cost of solar and wind energy has fallen by 95% in the last decade, according to his statements at a session during the Climate Ambition Summit, part of Climate Week convened by UN Secretary General António Guterres.
But not everything is a bed of roses, warned Miguel Stilwell in his speech. "There are challenges, there are difficulties in scaling up networks, interconnections, licensing is complex, and there is the issue of opposition from local communities, and the NIMBY attitude [an acronym for not in my backyard]. These are all difficulties of implementation and make scaling up more difficult.
At the same time, he defended the need for a stable regulatory framework. "This is absolutely essential, investors need stable regulation to make decisions", highlighting the "great advances in the US and Europe", considering that there is still "a lot of misinformation" in other markets.
In the session Credibility of Net Zero through 'Integrity Matters' implementation: Leadership by early movers and doers and the role of regulation, the Portuguese manager recalled that 85% of the energy produced by EDP comes from renewable sources, up from 20% 20 years ago.
However, "there is still more to do," he said, pointing to the 25 billion euros that EDP intends to invest over the next four years.
"We're replacing thermal assets, we'll run out of coal in the next 18 months, completely. Portugal no longer has coal," he said. "And we'll be totally green by 2030, when we no longer have gas. And we have a commitment to be zero carbon by 2040."
"Investors are more attracted to this path," he pointed out, but now we need to "walk the talk", that is, move from words to actions, he concluded.