One of the little-noticed announcements from COP28 that could have a big long-term impact: The Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) launched a call to action to advance transparency and accountability in the renewable energy sector. Not long ago, secret oil and mining contracts were the norm. But today — thanks in large part to EITI — countries regularly disclose what they sign and how much revenue they receive, while companies report what they pay. The new EITI call, supported by energy sector actors including the Energy for Growth Hub, calls for anti corruption safeguards and other good practices that clean energy can also adopt, including beneficial ownership and contract transparency.
Why does this matter? After the EITI’s global conference in Dakar last year I called for the initiative to expand its mandate to include the energy transition. EITI spearheading this effort signals a growing movement for increased transparency in the renewable energy sector and, by extension, the power sectors of member countries and implementing companies. Trillions of dollars in new investment are required to meet net zero targets. The sector needs far more transparency and open competition if we want any chance of deployment on this scale and timeline.
What’s next? What makes this even more exciting for me — and surely most actors that follow these issues closely — is that the call to action was launched at COP 28 which ended with an Agreement to “transition away” from fossil fuels and for a tripling of renewable energy capacity globally by 2030. The Hub’s contract transparency project has already begun shedding light on the negative impacts of the lack of disclosure in the electricity sector including high debt risks, slow deployment of new clean energy projects and non competitive tariffs. It is now time to make electricity and renewable energy transparency a priority.