Francesco La Camera
Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency

The window of opportunity to stabilize global temperature rise to 1.5°C is closing fast. And yet, recent trends point to an ever-widening gap between where we are and the pathway on which we need to be in order to achieve this target. 

Last week’s release of the World Energy Transitions Outlook preview from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) highlighted that gap. It also outlines global strategies towards carbon-neutrality by 2050. The report focuses not only on the end-point, but also what needs to happen now. It looks at the cost outlook for renewables, the suite of other technologies that will be needed as well, and how the transition will unfold differently in different regions of the world. 

In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Francesco La Camera to discuss the Outlook report and its findings.

Francesco La Camera is the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Previously, Mr. La Camera served as Director-General of Sustainable Development, Environmental Damage, EU and International Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land & Sea since 2014. He served as co-chair of the Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable Development established in Rome and co-chaired the Financial Platform for Climate and Sustainable Development. He began his career as an economic analyst at the Italian Ministry of Budget and Planning.



Jason Bordoff:  Hello, and welcome to Columbia Energy Exchange, a weekly podcast from the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, I'm Jason Bordoff.  The window of opportunity to stabilize global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius is closing really fast, yet recent trends point to an ever-widening gap between where we are and the pathway we need to be on in order to reach that target.  Last week's release of the World Energy Transitions outlook preview from the International Renewable Energy Agency highlighted that gap.  It also outlined global strategies to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.  The report focuses not only on the end point, but what needs to happen now and it looks at the cost outlook for renewables, the suite of other technologies that will be needed as well, and how the transition will play out differently in different parts of the world.

So I asked the head of IRENA, Francesco La Camera to join me on Columbia Energy Exchange to talk about the report and its findings.  Francesco is Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency.  He previously served as Director-General of Sustainable Development, Environmental Damage, EU and International Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea and he served as Co-chair of the Africa Center for Climate and Sustainable Development established in Rome, and Co-chaired the financial platform for climate and sustainable development.  He began his career as an economic analyst at the Italian Ministry of Budget and Planning.  Francesco La Camera, thank you so much for joining us on Columbia Energy Exchange.  Wonderful to have you with us this morning.

Francesco La Camera:  Absolutely my pleasure Jason.

Jason Bordoff:  You’ve just released an important new World Energy Transitions outlook but before we get to that, I just want to step back because not everyone listening to this may be familiar with the International Renewable Energy Agency.  Can you just talk a little bit about the organization now consists I think of somewhere around 160 member countries, what the organization's work and mission is overall?

Francesco La Camera:  Absolutely.  IRENA is an intergovernmental organization.  Its goal is to promote and support the countries in their energy transition.  It was born 10 years ago and now is the unique energy organization that has global coverage.  We have 164 members plus the European Union and we have 20 countries in access.  So we have a global membership.  The governance is very simple.  We have a general assembly each year, and we have two councils to prepare the general assembly.  We have six collaborative framework that cover all the area with the action of the agency to allow the member states, the membership to participate actively to the work over the agency and having the chance to also to exchange with the private companies in the private world.  We also have initiative as a coalition for action were government and private stick together.  I think this could be a pretty enough for a brief introduction, I’ll but say during the discussion to give some specificity with the organization of IRENA.

Jason Bordoff:  And what's been the last year like, what the impact of the pandemic on both the organization and your team and on the Renewable Energy Sector overall in your view?

Francesco La Camera:  Concerning the agency, we have been able to deliver all our working plan.  So all our main reports have been published.  We have been also able to organize our general assembly and our counsel in virtual mode, and they went very successfully.  So this is what about the work or where the agency naturally, this has been possible thanks to the efforts so all the personnel of IRENA.  As you know, Jason we have our headquarter in Abu Dhabi and we have also office center in Bonn dealing with research and innovation.  Concerning the impact of the COVID on the energy transition we have to say that the clean energy as being impacted, but they have been impacted much less the traditional sector and renewables have shown a very high level of resilience.  We will publish our capacity data, but I can tell you that the zero between the trend of the renewable energy and the conventional fuel plant will be widening in 2020, and possibly we can have an adding renewable installed capacity also in 2020, so a growing installed capacity 2020.  So it's been a very difficult year, but renewables has demonstrated to be the most resilient and the most competitive in large parts of the world wide to produce electricity.

Jason Bordoff:  So I want to come back to a couple of those things, but let me come to the report that you released this week, as I said the World Energy Transition Outlook I found it really interesting to read.  I had a couple of questions about it, but for those maybe who haven't read it yet, can you just talk a little bit for those listening about the key findings from that report?

Francesco La Camera:  Sure.  In fact, there's still a preview is not the report.  The full report will come later this year but we wanted to send in occasion of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, a very strong message.  So, very simple.  What we say is that the window of opportunity to get the 1.5 degree goal, I admit, is really closing and the pathway to get the goal is narrowing.

Jason Bordoff:  The path, sorry, the pathway is narrowing meaning emissions have to start coming down really fast.  That's what you mean?

Francesco La Camera:  Means, that the option that we have are shrinking.  So we have to accelerate and accelerate immediately our path.  I can give you some elements of how we designed our scenario to be 1.5 degree consistent.  We have use as a reference the IPCC report 1.5.  What the reports say?  The reports say that oil peak has to be peaked in 2020.  Oil and gas – oil and coal, sorry and gas has to peak into 2025, and in 2030 we need the reduction of the CO2 emission of 45% if we compare to 2013 to 2010.  So we say, we are not on this pathway, we are going into the wrong direction and so we try as possible to design the pathway and make clear to the governments, the option that they have from our assessment to be consistent their political commitments to being in line with the Paris Agreement.

Jason Bordoff:  I think I just heard you say, we have to get a 45% reduction by 2030 to be on path for 1.5 net zero by mid-century.  What does that mean broadly speaking, not any particular country.  There are some parts of the economy of the global economy that are still growing quite rapidly.  Their emissions might grow before they come down.  Does that mean we need to see commitments well in excess of that sort of number from the developed economies?

Francesco La Camera:  So, very simply we knew that under the commitment presented in the occasion of the Paris Agreement, we were going to be around 2.7 but now we are going to three degrees and something.  So the call for raising the ambition has been made and we are naturally we can assess this when we will have all the indices in front of us and assess if they are really consistent with the raising of ambition needed in this moment and time.

Jason Bordoff:  And you say in the report, that I think the language you use is sorry in the preview is, that the clean energy transition is unstoppable and I was wondering if you could help me understand how you define that and how you define a transition because what I see happening is aside from a pandemic, emissions are still rising each and every year and renewable energy is growing at extraordinary annual growth rates.  How close are we to really peak emissions coming down?  When you say that it's unstoppable what does that mean to you?  How do we know when that is really underway?

Francesco La Camera:  So what I mean, first of all I refer to these already in my first intervention today.  So in the last eight years, the installed capacity of renewables has been outpacing constantly the installed capacity of the old fossil fuel plant.  This means now one third of the installed capacity is from renewables.  Okay.  Naturally going farther in here, this percentage will increase.  So meaning that the energy transition is in place is that the energy system is changing and we are not seeing slow down in this changing and this is very evident for us that we are already outlining what will be the energy system of the future.  That it will be based on renewables and complemented by green hydrogen and modern variable energy and the electrification of the system will be the I’d say, overarching element of this three main pillar of the energy system.

We will get there.  We have no doubt.  This means in our language, the energy transition is unstoppable.  The question is how fast the energy transition is or should be to be consistent with the 1.5 degrees.  So we can get there by we can get and we will be not enough to avoid any consequences is of the climate change.  So this is what we meant saying that the energy transition is unstoppable, but if you want that, this energy transition also be consistent with the 1.5 we have to be – we have to make more effort in term of speed and in term of scale.

Jason Bordoff:  Yeah, that's helpful.  So what I hear you saying is you see a trend where the new investments in electricity production capacity are mostly now and over time will increasingly be zero carbon energy particularly renewable energy but that doesn't address the 80% of the global energy mix today that comes from hydrocarbons.  If we want to come close to getting to something like 1.5 degrees, we need to not only have all the new additional capacity, but think about how to transition the global existing stock faster than it would normally retire based on its own economic lifespan.

Francesco La Camera:  But so, you know that there are a couple of elements, more than a couple of elements that may still as believe that it will be possible to get the 1.5.  One is that renewables are largely today the most competitive way to produce energy.  So any new investments will take care of it because we are convinced that investment in fossil fuel are investment in the stranded assets over the next decade.  The other aspect is that they are not only they are convenient if we compare new investment with new investment, but shortly and this is already happening, the new investment in renewable may be more convenient to just maintain life the old plant.  We estimate that 1,200 gigabytes of coal plant this year will be operated less economically than if you were to substitute them by renewables.  So and this will introduce in the market a confirmation and an acceleration over the process.  If you look at the stock exchange, we have a very interesting graph in -

Jason Bordoff:  Yeah, you have a graph in your report -- in the preview with the S&P Global Clean Energy Index and then the Energy Index which is more fossil heavy?

Francesco La Camera:  Yeah, and you'll see how we can see an increase in the first case 103% in the other one a decrease of 37%.  So the market's already absorbing the new reality.  So it's clear that we are going there.  This is good another element or the qualification of a stoppable.  The problem always is the speed and the scale of this over this change.

Jason Bordoff:  I would just note if you were -- that that was a chart you had for the year 2020, which of course was a pandemic year with a collapse in hydrocarbon prices.  Those numbers look pretty different just the first few months of 2021 Clean Energy Indexes not performing so well and Carbon Intensive Energy Index is doing quite well.

Francesco La Camera:  Not very different.  Yes, there is a slow down because I think it's obvious that the investor are trying to feel I have to say to feel the air and this the clear political commitment, the clear policy in place we make the difference.  For example, I think that be all the power system be clean in 2035.  This message by John Kerry is a very clear message.  So for no space for fossil fuel in electricity generation in 2035 in United States or I know the two big emitters, and we see also many message like this coming from the European Union, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, China that the, okay, they say 2060, but we have experimented also under the first additional national determinant contribution that China has been able to reach their goal before the time of day that they have a committed.  We have the 70% of the meters that has been as committed to be carbon neutral in 2050.

So we need to understand if this commitment will become reality and in our point of view, our preview, and then also the full report, we make clear where the policies as to be addressed it, and also what kind of policies may be more impactful, and we will come later this year also with that what kind of resources -- financial sources can be activated in which way.  So I hope that these efforts that the agency is conducting do also because of this role of the co-chair of the technical group of the energy transition track towards the high level dialogue later this year.  In on the occasion of the opening of UN General Assembly will be this high level dialogue that has been convened by the secretary general 40 years ago the last one, when we have the oil crisis.  In the same time, also, we are in the energy transition counselor for the COP26, and we are collaborating with the UK presidency in this respect, and also in this role -- in his role as a president of the G7.  So and we have already tried to support 70 countries and write down they are new and disease.  So we opt that all this effort and this outlook may provide insightful elements in just a suggestion for the policy decision of our membership, this is our work.

Jason Bordoff:  So and you talk in the preview about the extraordinary cost declines we've seen in the last decade in renewables and battery storage over 90%, I think in solar, almost that much for batteries 60 or 70% for wind.  So is -- do we still need policy to help shift investment in the direction of renewable energy?  What's the role for policy or is it just the economic choice now for electricity?

Francesco La Camera:  No, there are also policies choices.  We -- when we come with report, we will address this, but for example, the market, the structure of market is not yet ready or full ready to work on a basis of the new energy system because of the actual market is still based on the old energy system, a centralized system based on fossil fuel.  Now, we are going to decentralize system based on variable energy that has to be possibly to be interconnected in a flexible grid.  I think a new role of the consumer as consumed, but also as a consumer so we need new regulations, and we came up with a report recently on how to promote the green hydrogen.  We suggested a stock of policies for promoting degree in hydrogen.  So the role of policies is important as it is important role over the investment.

Jason Bordoff:  Yeah, and I want to ask you in your preview, you note that I think 90% in the 1.5 scenario, I think it's 90% energy is produced from renewables.  How much of that is direct for electricity -- direct electrification and how much of that is electricity converted to zero carbon synthetic fuels like hydrogen or ammonia?

Francesco La Camera:  We'd say a few different things.  So one is the electricity in the new energy system.  In the old system, we have electricity contribution to this around 25% with a minor contribution over renewables.  We are going to have electricity that will cover the 51% of this.  We have renewables will be the 90% of the contribution.  So we need to scale up the rationale of the contribution of renewables into the electricity.  The electricity will be about a 50%, 51% in our assessment.  There will we also roll for the degree in hydrogen.  On green hydrogen and then we can come back to this.  I will like to say something that in my point of view is very interesting.  Without mentioning we know that very, to say very recognize source of information on energy just last summer, they were saying that green hydrogen was going to become competitive into 2050.

So we have to wait 30 years for that.  We now just a few months later that we published this report that naturally I've been built consulting private companies and or a related concern entities and we discover that the green hydrogen will be competitive in front of hydrogen already in 2013, and during our last general assembly come some important company, like for example, the Italians nom say that they are a consortium of company.  They are absolutely convinced green hydrogen could be already convenient into 2025.  So look in six months, how rapidly change it the environment in concerning when green hydrogen was going to be a competitive.  So and this also applied to our forecast where there is this double roll or green halogen that will be enacted the demand renewable electricity and the same moment is providing services.

And one other role that we see important naturally energy efficiency will be critical.  Probably the major contributor to CO2 emission reduction may come from energy efficiency list one of the most important and whether we're saying that the bioenergy is going to be the other important pillar.  Our number at there under the assessment of the system ability of the efforts ongoing to bioenergy and these include also biofuel.  The biofuel so bioenergy as a sources of fuel and as also as fuel industrial sector.  We are the use of CCS so the bioenergy CCS may be a net contributor to CO2 emissions so that we cannot solve more than these.  So all these together are designing the new energy system.

Jason Bordoff:  Yeah, no, that's helpful and thank you for correcting me because I think I said 90% of energy was renewables and you have -- I want to be clear so people understand 90% of electricity is renewables.  You also have some renewables in other sectors like, hydrogen things like aviation and shipping and industry that are just harder to electrify.  There is going to be other zero carbon solutions for those, we can electrify some things that are not electrified today like, parts of heating, transportation, cars and trucks, but then some things won't be electrified.

Francesco La Camera:  Yeah, but that is very interesting and we publish our report and naturally the conclusion of this report has been absorbed in this preview and we show that we have a few sectors that very difficult to electricity.  We also discover that electrification at certain degrees -- degree is also possible for those sector but it's the place where we have to count on green hydrogen for the sector as I will show partially CCS for impacting there for the long transport, we still see a role for the biofuel and the molecule are from hydrogen and the info the our cars we think that the electrical vehicles now has made the change and so we will have for all of the light vehicle, the electricity there through the batteries and for the other, we will have a green hydrogen and bioenergy and a little bit of CCS.

Jason Bordoff:  And you think most hydrogen will be green meaning come from renewable energy, even though green hydrogen today is significantly more costly than blue hydrogen gas with carbon capture.  Is that because of what you anticipate for the decline in cost of electrolyzers in green hydrogen?  Is that also a policy preference and social acceptance, which there do seem to be important parts particularly of Europe that's been to be green, not blue?

Francesco La Camera:  Absolutely.  I think that's we give also a number in their preview.  I have no do reports with me, but please you can check.  I think it's the hydrogen will be 66% from green hydron our sample and 34 from blue hydrogen.  This is what I remember-

Jason Bordoff:  Two yeah, no, that's right.  Two thirds one third, you have renewable and gas steam reformation with carbon capture.  Yeah.  Do you -- when you say it's unstoppable, you described what's happening in renewable energy, do you think to get from 20% electrification to 50% electrification is that sort of unstoppable?  Is that happening already with what's happening with electric vehicles or others or do we have a lot more work to do?

Francesco La Camera:  We have a lot work to do not in terms of technology innovation it would be is important but we think that we already, today we have the technology that's may allow us to go for the 1.5 degree so that this we have no doubt, but for getting a death result, we have to make to have it to increase our ambition in term of speed or scale.  If we don't do that, that will be not possible.  So we are going there.  So what's happening will be already a step in that direction, but not a step in that direction that would be sufficient to be in line with the Paris Agreement.  So we need and unfortunately this tragedy of the COVID because of the atheist intervention in the economy over the public, I think in your life, my life, we had no question to see the public step team so everly in the economy.  So this intervene historic intervention of the public in the economy can make the difference to accelerate the energy transition, and so it's very important and that's been our mantra now from last March that we have to be able to link the short term response to the COVID-19 pandemic to the medium or long term objective of the sustainable development goals and the Paris Agreement.

Jason Bordoff:  And do you find 90% of electricity comes from renewables that's a high number that's optimistic about where we're headed with what we -- how much bubbles there is this kind of debate or conversation among some 100% renewables has to be the goal.  Do you find that sort of unhelpful, we should acknowledge that it's got to be mostly very close to, but it's not going to be bubbles because there's monsoon season in Southeast Asia, there are parts of the world where the wind doesn't blow for not just a few hours, but a couple of weeks or the sun may not shine for extended periods that we're going to have to have zero carbon from baseload gas with CCS as part of the electricity mix?

Francesco La Camera:  Honestly, I don't think that this is the right arguments.  What I should agree more is that naturally situation are different in different countries, in different regions as you say, this is what we have to have in mind.  So countries may go easily with less difficulties to the hundred percent.  Some of this country are already a hundred percent because they have a lot of hydro-power and hydro power could be very, very important to ensure the flexibility of the energy system, and so to absorb a lot of variable energy into the grid.  Naturally in other place we will need -- we will not have as much hydro power as we may wish.  So we have to go for green hydrogen, and you have to go for batteries but this means that it may take time in different reality.

We have also to be careful that we have not to disrupt economies when is important that those economies if their sell economy has to go for renewables and for a clean energy system, if we disrupt the economy there will be not we’ll have no demands for getting there.  For example, I just make the sample over the country where I live, that the possibility now that you have to go for renewables to build a new habit of green hydrogen is because in the last 20, 30 years, we can count for a certain degree of the energy sustaining their economic life today.

Yes, we can say in the Gulf in some way.  So naturally the goal in the very far should be a hundred percent renewables.  Some countries will get there first before because they have the I have to say the possibility that other don'ts and we can also think that at the end, the renewable energy will be also exchange regionally not only domestically.  So we have to look at a system of wider interconnection and flexibility.  So naturally the dream is hundred percent and countries many of them, they really go there before the others -- before others put it to 2050 we the entry system that we have visited is not a hundred percent still renewables, but we will be very close to it.

Jason Bordoff:  And again, there are some who sort of pushed back on technologies like carbon capture as being false solutions.  Why is it necessary?  Is it because of this, just things that are hard to reduce emissions, the industrial sector or the aviation, airplanes things like that or well, you're not going to have carbon removal as suppose?

Francesco La Camera:  First of all, it could be an intermediate solution for creating the market for hydrogen.  So as you can see in the preview we -- the role that we give to hydrogen is 6% in the electricity generation to ensure stability to the system and the other is due to the transitional role of a blue hydrogen through gas and CCS.  So this is what we see, and you can see also our minor role in our scenario is played by oil and coal so and naturally gas as we be in this transitional period the most resilient come fossil fuels.

Jason Bordoff:  And you do still have a little bit of oil in the energy mix and I guess off the emissions from that, it may be in petrochemicals or in not combusted uses or the emissions are removed some other way through bioenergy with CCS or?

Resident:  Yeah, and the more we can push we’re going to get differently because not all technologies can be displayed in the same moment innovative part of the world, because there will be another capacity.  So at certain moment it’s good that we provide differently.  That's for sure.

Jason Bordoff:  What -- so talk about how much all this is going to cost?  You have cost estimates in there total trillions of dollars, percent of GDP because there's a lot of stuff that we have to build to bring about this net zero 1.5 economy that you talked about?

Francesco La Camera:  We have a very clear graph on the preview that's I operate after this podcast thousand, thousand over people will download from-

Jason Bordoff:  Yeah, I will put a link to the report on the webpage as well.

Francesco La Camera:  It’s been impressive.  I think there's a the -- in the history of arena has been the document that I have attracted more attention.  We have an impressive number todays yesterday and today's I will download this is amazing.  Anyway, going to the investment, we work on the basis of two scenario.  One is what we call the Planet Energy Scenario.  These are the policy in place, the commitment place and our this scenario, the cumulative investment from now to do 2050 is of $98 trillion.  That means an average of $3.5 trillion per year.  We say that to be in the speed and scale necessary we have to go to $131 trillion and we have to revert $24 trillions from the $98 to the new -- to the renewable to the new energy system.  This means $4.4 trillion per year.  That means $1.1 or $1 trillion of additional investment per year.  This is our assessments, our forecast and this is consistent with the 1.5 degree scenario.

Jason Bordoff:  Can you -- one of the things that helps with cost I presume is that you find a really significant role for energy efficiency.  In fact, in a 1.5 world in 2050, we're using less energy than we are today in total, and when I think about what kind of growth over the last 15 years looked like in China and the amount of steel and cement it took on the increased per capita and energy use and then you think about how little energy per capita, the continent of Africa is using, it's hard to see continued growth -- GDP growth and development without increasing energy.  So talk a little bit about the role efficiency can play and how we're going to capture some of those benefits?

Francesco La Camera:  This is not an easy play.  There is no doubt if you look at the figure or the investment in our system firstly 4% of the investment has to go to energy efficiency.  So one third over the investment more than one third it has to go to energy efficiency.  It's very, very difficult to get, but this is what I told you from the beginning.  The window of opportunity is closing the path is narrowing and we cannot do more as an agency to make this clear.  These goals are very, very ambitious, but we are tackling the challenges that we have.  What is this sake is the health of the planet is the future will be over the next and next generation, if you want to get there, if we believe in the IPCC, if we believe in science, this must be done very simply, and you are right that the future of the Paris Agreement and the success of our efforts will be mainly depends on how effective we will be in Asia especially in Southeast Asia and in Africa, you are completely right.  So we have to provide all the support, all the collaborative efforts to make for this country, go through a leapfrog and going to the new energy system without passing through the old energy system.  This is the challenge and is in the end of the government to make this become possible.

Jason Bordoff:  So let me ask you what that meeting that challenge looks like in one particular respect, because I'm sure you talked to leaders all the time from those developing countries and rapidly emerging markets who often have the view that we're going to invest a lot in zero carbon energy, but we're just growing too quickly for it to be all zero carbon today, and in particular that raises the question of the role of natural gas in decarbonization and you note that natural gas has a role in managing demand fluctuations and providing operational in your preview.  Does -- what does this mean for new gas capacity?  Does any need to be built or should it not be built?

Francesco La Camera:  What I know and what they have to respect is that the peak of gases to be in 2021 could be one year before one year later, but that is what the science tells us.  This is our constraint and I wish also to say that when we talk about Africa, because may reference is there a concern of the possible use of over gas.  Naturally when we are thinking about the 6% plus the 4% of gas we are talking about particular region in the world, this for true so it doesn't mean 10% in Europe, America so in certain country, it could be more than 10% but the fact is that today, if you want to provide access to energy in Africa to the 800 million population that they have not access.  The most convenient and rapid way to cover this gap is renewables through mini grid half grid system that in the future can be drained link in to the main drain is not gas.  It’s not bringing the pipeline this villages, they will remain without service.

They can work all Africa as one time in term of potential renewables, what they need in terms of energy.  They have a tremendous potential look at Morocco that is investing green hydrogen and making an agreement with Germany on this.  I think many of African country, instead of thinking to export gas, they can start that they can sell and export green hydrogen.  They have to take the benefit of the new sapling and value chain.  They have to build the energy industry system based on this new wave.  This allow them to have a perspective of development because investing in gas or another means that in 15 years, what they've built will be already obsolete.

Jason Bordoff:  Yeah, and I guess to your -- I suspect we'll also see a growing difference over time between gas capacity and gas generation as the role it plays is to offset a growing percentage of renewables in those periods of time, when a battery storage is not sufficient because they're at longer durations, so maybe capacity that's used much, much less often and then the tariff rate structure to kind of make that viable.  Can I ask you about innovation?  The cost declines of renewables how much of the technology do we have to do the job today?  And we had just have to deploy and deploy and deploy and how much innovation and new technological breakthroughs do we still need?

Francesco La Camera:  I think that's innovation still need we can, I'd say I estimate that's the 50% of the contribution in the direction that we have design that will come from the innovation different sector, no stealing green hydrogen and we have the problem of governance over the green hydrogen distributed to pipeline in the place where needed storage or we have seen an impressive way that we are technologists to use less than less mineral in the batteries.  All these would be relevant.  I think Karry, target yesterday in the occasional Berlin or two days ago, sorry, in the occasional Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, new technologies in the way the panel -- solar panel can be built to become twice efficient.  So there is this opportunity for innovation to come.

Jason Bordoff:  And you -- I just want to ask you about one other barrier because so renewable energy, solar, wind does take a lot of space in terms of land.  It takes more, a lot of transmission being here in New York, where there are challenges just building one DC transmission line to being hydro-power into the state.  Any particular project raised in certain places, a lot of local objection, a lot of environmental concerns it goes through people's backyards.  It goes through forests siting, permitting, public acceptance of the kind of infrastructure we need to build.  How big a challenge will that be to getting to 90% renewable electricity and what lessons have we learned about how to overcome it?

Francesco La Camera:    You know, that's a country that has been already very successful and this means also that they have not only work it well in term of investment policies, but also in the way they communicate it to the public it needs to go for a cleaner energy system that we also see that there is a large engagement of public through the energy community.  For example, there's a single about this.  There is the youth that is pushing for the change.  So naturally again, we need an investment and then a policy strategies the same time that we need communication for making easier to accept the renewables.  We think that there are still lobbyists that are working or making the barrier for the rewards higher.  Imagine what's happening with Texas.  It seemed that the first, what do we read the day after was that was fault over the renewables and we would discover there was something else.  So naturally there is a need to talk to the people and there is people to come need to communicate better to explain the good reason for going for renewables.

Jason Bordoff:  We are out of time, but one last question again, for, on my mind, given where I'm sitting here in New York a lot of the world's financial players are and what you hear often is the good thing about renewables is how cheap they've become, but the bad thing is how cheap they become because people sometimes struggle to figure out how to make money in that sector and can you just talk a little bit about what you think the business models need to look like in order to drive the kind of capital we need into renewable energy projects around the world at the scale you're talking about?

Francesco La Camera:      Sure.  Naturally this answer has to be articulated.  First, we are also assisting renewables are not already convenient economically, but we have also the political commitment so that's the reasons are important.  So multilateral financial institution are not going to funds anymore any fossil fuel plants.  The Secretary General ask it to abandon all the coal plant in the pipeline.  This movement of the stock exchange is thinking also what's going to happen?  The -- and look what's happened and when the other States will show very clearly that we are very serious as they are demonstrating what could be up in the market.  There's an already in the US already with the previous administration, the coal plant we are closing and there was a 25% tax credit for them to continue being alive and they closed the same.  So that's evident I don't think there is anyone that really want to invest in what could be the stranded asset of the future.  I think that everyone will invest in money to ensure that the decline over the fossil fuel generation will be I would say smooth without creating any problem but out of this, I think that the market is going in a different way and I have no doubts about that.

Jason Bordoff:  Francesco, you've been very generous with your time.  We could talk much longer.  This is a fascinating conversation.  Thank you for being with us today.  Congratulations on the preview of the new report and thanks for all the work you are doing to help advance a cleaner energy economy.  Good to be with you today.

Francesco La Camera:  If I can say in my language [Russian Language] thanks to you Jason for pay attention to the work of IRENA as a -- is very nice that so we have the opportunity to wide spread our messages to you.  Thanks for this.

Jason Bordoff:  Francesco, thank you again for joining us.  Thanks to all of you, our listeners for being with us again for this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange.  For more information about the podcast or the Center on Global Energy Policy, please visit us online at, or follow us on social media @ColumbiaUEnergy.  Thanks again for listening I'm Jason Bordoff.  We'll see you next week.