(MENAFN - Arab News) Energy and finance leaders discussed ways to encourage greater private sector investment in renewable energy and low-carbon, climate-friendly projects as a tactic to mitigate climate change and diversify the global energy mix.
Specifically, leaders focused on the growing opportunities for sovereign wealth funds, development banks and pension funds to view the new energy industry as a growth opportunity, especially in developing economies.
The discussion, which was held in Abu Dhabi, was hosted by Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, UAE special envoy for energy and climate change and CEO of Masdar and Gregory Barker MP, UK energy and climate change minister.
The discussion took place on the sidelines of International Renewable Energy Agency's (IRENA) third annual Assembly in Abu Dhabi.
"This is an important agenda. Not just for the environment but for business," said Greg Barker, UK energy and climate change minister.
"The opportunities for the global, low-carbon economy are huge and growing at an exponential rate. Clean energy and a range of resource efficient projects can expect growing interest in attracting investment as new financial participants crowd into this fast developing market," he said.
"The meeting helped to lay a foundation to better identify concrete areas of opportunity for investment in developing economies and ideas on how to scale up finance for climate solutions," added Barker.
"This joint dialogue between the private and public sectors is absolutely vital and the UK and the UAE are working together to drive this agenda forward. I look forward to continuing this collaboration."
A number of ideas emerged, including contract structures for power pricing, possible dimensions for the Basel rules on finance, and ways in which finance is securitized. Participants agreed to take the discussion forward and establish a working group to explore the suggested proposals more deeply.
"Increased collaboration and institutional investment are critical in diversifying the global energy mix and addressing climate change," said Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber.
In a related development, China - the world's largest energy producer and a leader in technology manufacturing and the use of wind, solar and hydropower - has decided join the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The accession of China - marks a major step toward universal membership for the Agency, which currently has 160 participating states.
"China looks forward to becoming a full member of IRENA soon, as well as working alongside all countries for greater achievements in global renewable energy development," said Liu Qi, vice-minister of the National Energy Administration of China, at IRENA's third annual Assembly in Abu Dhabi.
China has an electrical power generation capacity of 1140 GW but increasingly turning to renewable energy to power its fast-growing economy.
China's installed generating capacity of solar PV power has reached 7 GW, a tenfold increase over the past two years.
China is also a manufacturing powerhouse for solar PV, wind and hydro power technology.
"The decision by China to join IRENA is a milestone in international efforts to promote renewable energy," said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z Amin.