In this pivotal moment for global action on climate change, I am in the full optimist camp about COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh-not only for Egypt, but for the precedent Egypt has set for the future.
Two main reasons fueled this enthusiasm. First, COP27 focuses on implementation– Putting climate promises into action. Second, the show is committed to highlighting needs and challenges emerging economies. This will put the global spotlight on a unique opportunity for a country where most of the 750 million people without reliable access to electricity live.
Economic growth appears in leading climate action
Developing economies are increasingly central to tackling climate change and ensuring a just transition. And rightfully so. They have felt the impact of climate change and are taking steps to protect their people. And they want and need to invest in being part of the innovation to lead a just transition.
To solve climate change and achieve a just transition on the planet, it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each country, depending on its specific situation, will deploy its own mix of tools to achieve the energy transition while at the same time increasing access to reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy for all. Present in 175 countries, it’s something we focus on every day with customers and government partners. What this means is that governments and corporate partners must adjust their approaches, policies, and technologies to meet the needs of each market.
Here, Egypt becomes a key proof point at COP27 and beyond. Thanks to the strategic cooperation agreement between the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), GE, Hassan Allam Holding, and the Power Generation Engineering and Services Company (PGESCO), GE will run the LM6000 gas turbine at the Sharm el Sheikh Power Plant on hydrogen. / natural gas fuel mixture. The project in Egypt will be the first time that the LM6000 technology is expected to run on hydrogen fuel mixture on the African continent. Beyond this COP27 milestone, GE Gas Power signed a memorandum of understanding with EEHC to develop a roadmap to reduce carbon emissions from EEHC’s gas turbine fleet. On the table are the potential applications of carbon capture, the development of hydrogen blended fuels, and the conversion of simple cycle power plants to combined cycle.
In many markets, countries are building grids and electricity infrastructure so they can deploy increased renewables. This includes transitioning coal to gas using innovative solutions such as high-efficiency gas turbines. in South Africa, gas will provide baseload capacity for their Coal Repurposing Program—a fuel switch that cuts power plant emissions in half. In the future, breakthrough technologies such as hydrogen fuel and carbon capture could reduce net emissions from those gas turbines.
Increasingly in emerging economies, renewables is an important near-term aspect of the energy mix. turkey has reached over 10 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity. in Indiawhere wind speeds are relatively low, GE’s India Technology Center in Bangalore developed special wind turbines that have been deployed in several wind farms across the country.
In many markets, a energy solution mix will contribute to long-term electrification and decarbonization. Tactics towards this end include improving the grid; reduce the use of diesel generators by expanding access to and efficiency of thermal assets; and increase assets generating renewable energy.
So while Egypt is raising its attention to decarbonization and improving energy security in emerging economies, there are many proof points in Africa and beyond that point to the implementation of the COP27 goals.
Progress through partnerships and proof points
As a driver to help achieve implementation and climate action in emerging economies, another COP27 transformation is the rapidly growing role of public-private partnerships between policy makers and corporate stakeholders. The company’s growing role to be part of the solution and partner with governments, NGOs, and other companies in industrialized and emerging markets is leading to unprecedented collaborations, some of which are already having an impact.
Pursuing public-private partnerships may be a high undercurrent at COP27, because many collaborators and odd bedfellows alike come together for bold pronouncements of joint projects and initiatives. These examples show how emerging economies, through public-private partnerships and real proof points, are leading the energy transition by mixing different approaches, technologies, and perspectives. Additionally, they illustrate how emerging economies are strategically building climate-resilient infrastructure that increases energy access at the same time. Lessons learned from each will help inform many discussions and negotiations in Sharm el Sheikh.
I am glad how Egypt is really putting the focus on cooperation and inclusiveness and the actions that will result in the whole world. I am confident that this broad, truly global perspective will help make lasting progress toward common climate goals and guide collective implementation activities in the months and years ahead.
Roger Martella is GE’s chief sustainability officer. Ge has been a presenting partnerf GEC at COP27: Ambition for All.
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