ICS, IRENA join hands to speed up green fuel transition

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have signed a partnership agreement to support the decarbonisation of the shipping sector and its role in the transition towards a global energy sector based on renewables.

The heads of the two organisations signed the agreement during a meeting at the Twelfth Session of IRENA Assembly 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The partnership will provide a framework over the next two years for ICS and IRENA to assist with the decarbonisation of the shipping sector and the use of renewable technologies in this sector, the partners explained.

It will also enable the industry to work closely with IRENA’s global membership of more than 160 countries and territories on issues related to the increasing role of renewable energy in decarbonising shipping.

As part of the agreement, the organisations will set up a regular exchange of information regarding energy supply and demand relevant to the shipping sector and exchange of data on scenarios of ‘future fuels’ (such as green hydrogen and ammonia), for both, nation-states and the shipping industry.

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“This partnership agreement draws particular focus on the need to ensure an equitable energy transition for developing economies, and the important role of capacity building as well as recognising the energy needs of shipping itself”, ICS said.

Speaking on the agreement, Guy Platten secretary-general ICS said: “Our new strategic partnership with IRENA is a vital stepping stone to ensuring that transporting green fuels is itself made ‘green’. It is vital that the shipping sector continues to get closer to producers and consumers to facilitate the transition to zero-emission fuels, and is a key part of the solution, not a blocker, to the zero-emission transition”.

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The organisation hopes that the agreement with IRENA will spur R&D investments from political decision-makers into making zero-carbon fuels widely commercially available.

During COP26, ICS presented that nearly $5 billion is needed to accelerate the shift in R&D to zero-carbon fuels in the shipping sector, as multiple technologies need to be developed to reach large scale deployment.

Shifting to alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, biofuels and electrification from renewable sources could cut 80% of emissions from maritime transport by 2050 as presented by IRENA.

The partnership agreement will also see consultation between the two bodies with a view to combining capacity-building opportunities and avoiding duplication of resources.

Director-general IRENA, Francesco La Camera, said: “… the shipping sector requires significant levels of investment and cooperation to ensure it contributes positively to the global climate agenda. To solve these challenges, we must continue with efforts to build a grand net-zero coalition, bringing industry and the policy community together. This agreement is another positive step in that direction. Under this partnership, IRENA will work towards joint solutions to overcome existing challenges to decarbonise the shipping sector”.

Finally, the memorandum specifically identifies the opportunity that exists within developing nations, supporting the recently established ‘Just Transition Maritime Task Force’, which was founded at COP26 to drive decarbonisation of the industry.

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