EEG COP26 Side Events – summary from Programme Director Simon Trace

EEG ran two events on the fringes of COP26, held in Glasgow in November 2021. Both took place during a three-day symposium held at Strathclyde University by the FCDO-funded Climate Compatible Growth research programme. They were streamed live to online attendees, but an audience was present at the venue as well.

Our first event focused on cross-border trade in renewable energy, in light of the Green Grids Initiative announced at COP. Our panellists reflected on what EEG-sponsored research tells us about the potential benefits of inter-country, and even inter-continental, trade in renewable energy, looking at this issue from climate, resource allocation, financial, economic and technical perspectives. We were also fortunate enough to be joined by Ram Gopal Kharbuja, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation in Nepal, who was able to reflect on first-hand experience of the trade in electricity with India. We had a lively discussion that included questions from our online and in-person audience. A recording of the session can be found here.

The research projects we drew on for the event included work on cross-border trade in hydropower in South Asia, modelling of a potential electricity interconnector between India and the Gulf States, planning for the use of renewable energy resources across the Southern Africa Power Pool countries, and best practice in renewable energy auctions as a means of procuring grid-scale renewable power. It was very heartening to see how directly relevant this collection of work was to informing thinking around the challenges of pushing the COP Green Grids Initiative forward.

Our second event related to the work EEG has been doing over the past three years with the Roundtable Initiative on Strategic Energy Planning. The Roundtable Initiative’s objective is to improve the coherence of development partner support to strategic energy systems planning and the effective use of evidence and analysis by decision-makers in developing countries.

We were very pleased to use the Glasgow event to formally launch a set of principles around national ownership, coherence and inclusivity, capacity support, robustness of modelling approaches and the transparency and accessibility of the resultant system models. The principles define a sort of ‘code of conduct’ for development partners to uphold as best practice when supporting work in this area and the aim of the launch was to raise awareness of the principles and encourage their use.

To date, 22 organisations have formally adopted the principles, including the African Development Bank, the World Bank’s ESMAP programme, AFD, FCDO, GiZ, IRENA, UNDP and UNECA. The launch included a call to other development partners to adopt the principles. We hope the event has gone some way to raising the profile of the Strategic Energy Planning Principles and encouraging their use.  

A video message from some of the key signatories to the principles setting out why they are important and making the call for other development partners to sign up can be found here, and this blog also explains more about the principles. A recording of the COP26 session can be accessed here.


By Simon Trace