Stronger international collaboration on renewable energy could reshape shipping markets

Countries should work harder to develop interconnections for renewable energy, allowing multiple nations to share larger production capacity and build stronger markets, according to a new report from a new group aiming to reshape major charter markets and accelerate the development of green fuels and technologies.

Illustration. Courtesy of Navingo

This is one of the key recommendations that could influence shipping markets.

The number of demonstration projects for renewable hydrogen – including derivative fuels like ammonia and their potential use in shipping – should be increased and backed by targeted technical and financial assistance.

The report – authored by the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the UN’s High-Level Climate Champions – delivers recommendations for greater cooperation to ensure that sustainable technologies and practices are attractive and accessible by 2030.

Five industries representing more than 50% of global emissions need stronger international collaboration to deliver reductions in line with the Paris Agreement, the report says.

The Breakthrough Agenda was signed by 45 nations at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow last year to drive emissions reductions in the power, hydrogen, road transport, steel and agriculture sectors.

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To meet the Breakthrough Agenda pledges, up to 8TW of renewable power capacity will be needed by 2030 (compared to less than 3.1TW today). Renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production must scale up from less than 1Mt in 2020 to around 140-155Mt per year. And annual production of net zero carbon steel must increase 100-fold from a million tonnes today.

The authors also argued for advance purchase commitments from multiple countries to mobilise the investment needed in low-carbon steel production. Focused discussions also need to be started on how to ensure international trade facilitates the transition to sustainable agriculture.

The recent announcement of the Clean Energy Marine Hubs at the Clean Energy Ministerial is one maritime industry-led initiative that seeks to meet the challenges set out in the report.

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The initiative will be a convening platform for public and private senior-level stakeholders from the ports, shipping, finance, and energy sectors across the energy-maritime value chain.