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Build back better with solar: accelerating PV development in the post-COVID economy – possible scenarios in the near and the long term

June 22, 2020 @ 3:00 pm 4:30 pm

“Build back better” is fast becoming a hashtag-friendly mantra for the need to seize the opportunity presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the suffering and tragedy it has inflicted, and put in place policies and actions to boost sustainable development.

The World Bank has estimated, for example, that low- and middle-income countries alone could see a $4.2 trillion boost from investing in infrastructure that prioritizes future-focused resilience – a return of $4 for every $1 invested. The COP26 Universities Network, meanwhile, recently highlighted that the labor intensity of building and installing renewable energy infrastructure means it creates twice as many jobs per dollar as fossil fuel investments.

Rebuilding a greener economy through investment in solar energy would bring social and economic benefits as well as accelerate the fight against the climate emergency. Putting a price on emissions through a “carbon tax” or similar mechanism may create an incentive to pursue climate-friendly investments internationally and across all sectors of activity.

In this webinar, we’ll explore the role that solar energy can play in the post-COVID economy, the kind of policy measures that would boost the sector in the short and medium term and the positive effects this solar-friendly scenario would have for our societies globally.

15:00 Introduction & moderation – Gianni Chianetta, Chairman, Global Solar Council

15:05 Towards a Post-Pandemic Green Recovery – Prof. Jeffery Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University, and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General

15:20 The Role of Carbon Pricing and Other Policies in Building Back Better – Ms. Helen Mountford, Chair of the Steering Committee, Carbon Price Leadership Coalition & Vice President for Climate and Economics, World Resources Institute (WRI)

15:30 The U.S. Renewable Energy Sector: Prospects and Current State of Play – Mr. Greg Wetstone, President & CEO, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)

15:40 The impact of COVID-19 in the Spanish Solar Sector – Mr. José Donoso, Director General, Union Espanola Fotovoltaica (UNEF) & Chair-elect, Global Solar Council

15:50 Roundtable
16:10 Q&A
16:30 Closing

More about the speakers:

Gianni Chianetta

Serving as a founding member, representing ItaliaSolare as Vice President and Head of International Affairs, and as a Co-Chair of the organization, Gianni Chianetta has been elected by the board to be Chair Elect in 2019, Chairman of the Global Solar Council in 2020 and member of the Steering Committee at Irena Coalition for Action. Mr. Chianetta is Director at Greening the Islands and CEO at The Green Consulting Group.

Mr. Chianetta has been working in the area of energy since 2002. He has been Managing Director at BP Solar Italy, founder and chairman of the first Italian Solar PV Industry Association for three consecutive terms when he negotiated the five Photovoltaic Energy Incentive Decrees with the Italian Government, that has brought the installed capacity from about 35 MWp to more than 20 GWp. He has also chaired the National Committee for Solar Energy of the Italian Ministry of the Environment and founded the Global Network of National PV Associations in 2007, which has been the basis for the GSC.

Mr Chianetta has a degree in Mechanical & Management Engineering and masters at: Middlesex University (London); Kellogg School of Management (Chicago); SDA Bocconi Milano (Milan); Istituto de Empresa (Madrid).

Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed the Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is also Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development. He has been advisor to three United Nations Secretaries-General, and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary-General António Guterres. He spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, where he received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. He has authored numerous bestseller books. His most recent book is Ages of Globalization: Geography, Technology, and Institutions (2020). Sachs was twice named as Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders, and was ranked by The Economist among the top three most influential living economists.

Mr. Greg Wetstone

Gregory Wetstone is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), a national nonprofit organization that unites finance, policy and technology to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy. Since assuming this role in January of 2016, he has led the way to dramatic improvements in ACORE’s organizational health, prominence and effectiveness in pursuit of its mission. Greg oversees ACORE’s strategic planning and core activities, including government affairs, communications, research and analysis, executive programs, market expansion priorities, signature events and fundraising.

Ms. Helen Mountford

Helen Mountford is the Vice President for Climate and Economics at WRI. The Climate team helps policymakers, businesses and civil society in countries around the world and through international collaboration to identify and advance the deep structural shifts needed to successfully address climate change. The Economics team supports work across WRI by integrating an economics approach as appropriate to strengthen the underlying analysis and impact of our work. Helen is also Program Director for the New Climate Economy (NCE) project, the flagship initiative of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate that provides independent and authoritative evidence on actions which can both strengthen economic performance and reduce the risk of dangerous climate change.

Mr. José Donoso

José Donoso is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Unión Española Fotovoltaica (UNEF). He has extensive experience in the field of renewable energy. From 1987 to 2001, he was Head of the Department of International Relations at the Institute for Diversification and Saving (IDAE).

Mr. Donoso was also Director of Promotion and Director of Sector Development of Gamesa for more than ten years. Between 2008 and 2011, he was president of the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE). He is a Member of the Spanish Energy Club, the Association of European Energy Agencies (ENR) and the Mediterranean Association Energy Agency (MEDENER).

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