14 January 2018| Articles
1,100 delegates from more than 150 governments, the private sector and civil society are gathering to discuss key issues in the global energy transition and chart the way forward for the Agency against a backdrop of remarkable progress on deployment. See the Press Release.
This live blog provides a rolling coverage of the Eighth Assembly Events as they happen.
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06:15 pm Looking forward to 2019, China is confirmed as next President of the next Assembly announcing that it will endeavor to lead in the journey towards the deployment of renewable energy, working closely with the secretariat to ensure a successful next Presidency. The Eight Assembly is officially closed.
06:00 pm IRENA Director General Adnan Z.Amin, says it’s been an exceptional Assembly and notably first Assembly to be chaired by a woman. H.E. Minister Cosse is a representation of the “changing face of an energy landscape, that is becoming more inclusive and diverse,” said Mr Amin.
05:42 pm "There are a lot of technologies that still require more help to basically show what their benefits are to provide more certainty and knowledge to investors and what their opportunities are when going into this market," Barbara Buchner of the Climate Policy Initiative tells IRENA.
05:20 pm The MRT participants are reporting back on the round-table sessions. "The expansion of e-mobility of renewables has a massive potentialof decarbonisation of the economy," Dominique Ristori, Director of Energy, European Commission.
04:57 pm "If you rely only on hydrocarbons, a moment will come when you will understand the whole world is moving much further," Anatoly Chubais, CEO of RUSNANO tells IRENA.
04:55 pm It's time to take action:
The President of the 72nd Session of the @UN General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák addressing the @IRENA Assembly. “#ParisAgreement & #SDGs are our plans. Time is running out. Time to take urgent action” #IRENA8A pic.twitter.com/CBy9MbU2l5— Chema Sarri (@jmsarri) January 14, 2018
04:40 pm Want to know the economic gain of scaling up renewable energy investment in line with IRENA’s 2050 energy transition scenario? If we can go from 16 per cent to around a 66 per cent share of renewables in total final energy by 2050, we would boost economic growth by around 0.8% in 2050, a cumulative gain of USD 19 trillion.
04:32 pm"We are exporting energy and on some days all of our generation is from renewables," President of IRENA's 8th Assembly, Carolina Cosse tells IRENA
04:19 pm Before the sessions of the Eighth Assembly conclude, the participants will discuss the Medium Term Strategy 2018 - 2022.
03:55 pm According to our analysis, nationally determined contributions (NDCs) have not kept up with recent, rapid growth in renewables. Even countries that lacked targets in their NDCs had ambitious plans for renewables in the energy sector. Renewables are a key climate solution. We can, and should, be more ambitious.
03:45 pm Euroactiv argues that much of the expected growth in solar and wind power generation could happen outside of Europe, because of stalling policies there. Read about the EU 'lost decade’ for renewables as costs continue to fall.
03:32pm NDCs are a cornerstone of the Paris Agreement. Renewable energy features prominently in most of the NDCs, confirming that the transition to a renewable energy future has come to be recognized globally as central to addressing climate change. IRENA’s analysis of the NDCs suggests that the implementation of renewable energy targets in NDCs could potentially unlock significant investment opportunities in renewable energy. It also shows that significant potential exists to strengthen renewable energy targets in the next round of NDCs, planned for 2020. See the NDCs dashboard.
03:25 pm Strategic Plenary Ministerial on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is in progress. The purpose of IRENA’s NDC session at IRENA’s 8th Assembly is to discuss from the perspective of energy ministries the potential of renewable energy components of NDCs in advancing the energy transition.
03:00 USD 1.7 trillion investment is needed by 2030 to implement the renewable energy targets contained in Paris Agreement’s NDCs. See the Untapped potential for climate action publication.
02:24 pm Maria van der Hoeven, formerly of the IEA Executive Director says one of the key questions in terms of the geopolitical impact of a renewables based energy system, is how to manage transformation in a way so that nobody is left behind economically.
02:28 pm At the launch of the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, it was noted that the job of diplomats is to work on behalf of stability and peace on behalf of their citizens and the citizens of other countries. And it is also their job, to understand threats to that stability. In this context, boring is good.
02:22 pm A session on Renewable Energy Market Analysis with a focus on South East Asia is taking place. To achieve a sustainable, secure and prosperous future, the region has set out to make 23% of its primary energy renewable by 2025. Read more in the Renewable Energy Outlook for ASEAN.
02:01 pm Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General, opens the session on Geopolitics of Renewable Energy. To date, most geopolitical analyses of energy related issues have focused on conventional fuels such as oil and gas. There is a need to review the implications of the ongoing global energy transformation underpinned by the surge in renewables.
01:45 pm In the summary remarks, the panelist of the Geothermal session underlined that cooperation is key: 'We need help from each other. We need GGA as a platform enabling knowledge and experience sharing. If we want to combat climate change, we need to stick together on the path to decarbonise economies," Irene Canas, Costa Rica.
01:17 pm "Direct use of geothermal energy in water heating has tremendous potential. Resource assessment support and policy frameworks together with guaranteed PPAs critical if we are to make best use of it," says Alexander Richter, International Geothermal Association.
01:08 pm Strong statements about the energy transformation at the MRT session:
‘The energy transformation has started and is here to stay. It’s important for us to stay up-to-date with technology, including renewables and electric vehicles’ – #Russia’s Alexey Teksler #IRENA8A pic.twitter.com/PfNkecI6YT— IRENA (@IRENA) January 14, 2018
12:58 pm In the closing part of the discussion, there was no question about the strength or rapid transition of the energy sector. Countries were universal in highlighting rapid progress on electric vehicles in their own countries. However, technological changes needed are in the area of smart grids, autonomous driving, and vehicle-to-grid. Alexey Teksler – First Deputy Minister, Ministry of Energy, Russia, reminded participants that the storage of energy will be central to the uptake of renewables. See more on Electric Vehicles.
12:38 pm Frederic Busin, Senior VP Development Customers and Services, EDF, summed up the challenges of adapting smart charging to the future needs of the electric mobility system, “By 2025 France will have nine million electric vehicles on the road. That means that 30GW of power that could be used at peak hour, which is 25% of current usage. We need to have terminals that are 100% automated in order to manage this demand.”
12:30 pm Italy welcomes IRENA's role is supporting and coordinating the Global Geothermal Alliance as a knowledge sharing platform for the geothermal community. The Florence Conference in September 2017 was a success as the governments adopted the Florence Declaration and agree to work closer to advance geothermal energy. Read the article
12:14 pm Gurbuz Gonul of IRENA pointed out that the organisation is scaling up its efforts to foster geothermal energy deployment. Global Geothermal Alliance is a crucial partnership in supporting countries in moving towards geothermal energy deployment and in result, achieving NDCs. Work on regional and thematic levels helps to identify barriers and challenges, and guide upcoming work in a region.
12:12 pm The latter portion of the discussion at the MRT session focused on the need to adapt and transform business processes to the new dynamics. Electric vehicles are a solution to problems of adapting energy grids to 100% renewables, as they provide additional storage. The future of our cities is emerging, with full, electric autonomous mobility – those changes are driven by affordable electric mobility today. Thierry Lepercq, Vice-President Innovation, Research and Technology, ENGIE was pointed, “Renewable vehicles are much, much cheaper. Any suggestions otherwise are totally false.”
12:00 pm A programmatic discussion on Accelarating the deployment of geothermal energy has started with an opening statement underlining the key role of geothermal energy in addressing key climate change challenges and energy security.
11:54 am Deputy Minister of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources, Hayk Harutyunyan, pointed out that more than 80% of Armenia’s transport is based on CNG. This transformation was done in only eight years, all by enabling the private sector to engage.
11:50 am Citibank says it is concerned about the trend of auctions in which the lowest bid generally wins, suggesting four criteria should be looked at: technical evaluation of the project, worthiness of the bidder, financial feasibility of project and bid price. With that in mind, Citibank suggests banks would be better suited to making decisions on strongest bids in auction policy. Smarter selection procedures are necessary. See IRENA publication on Renewable Energy Auctions: Analysing 2016
11:45 am China is all in on adapting renewables:
“Not only is #China massively scaling-up its deployment of renewables, but also replacing coal, oil and gas powered facilities and industries with electricity.” - Zhu Guangchao, Vice Chief Engineer, State Grid Corporation of China #IRENA8A pic.twitter.com/hYo2TwpUgq— IRENA (@IRENA) January 14, 2018
11:22 am Moderator John Defterios from CNN stressed that for many countries in Europe, investing in billions is beyond their means. IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin reminded participants that what is crucial about the narrative underpinning the IRENA Eighth Assembly is that it is no longer about Global North and South, about ODA, or about building new technology. The technology is available, private sector investment is happening, and policies exist. All that’s needed is to put them together in the right way and, as we have seen with many countries where renewables are taking off, significant change will happen.
11:10 am IEA says it's critical that we take a truly holistic view of the energy mix as renewables deploy. Transportation, heating and cooling will become much more integrated with power in the coming years, and so policies must follow suit. Heating will be the 'Cinderella' of renewable energy policy making. Find out more about our work on Policies
11:03 am At the MRT:
‘The only way to ensure cross-border e-mobility is if all countries build electric charging stations in all cities. Transport has no borders’ – Anja van Nearsen, Allego & Ultra-E project #IRENA8A pic.twitter.com/TvM3APKs8N— IRENA (@IRENA) January 14, 2018
11:01 am Boris Schucht, CEO, 50Hertz pointed to smart charging as a key factor to up-scaling e-mobility in Germany. "Electric vehicles are today es.”where solar PV was a few years ago: the changes will be as rapid and as steep. Smart charging is needed to address issues with low-voltage grids. If you don’t do this, the investments will be tens of billions in terms of grid upgrades."
10:48 am "In a few years, e-mobility will move from the niche to the mass market. But to get there we need smart charging. Reliable charging, combined with the services that somebody needs in that moment in time, are vital. Smart charging must be made available to all, including across borders. The first pan-European international smart-charging enabled highway is currently being built. Soon, you will be able to charge 100km in only five minutes." - Anja van Niersen, CEO, Allego & Ultra-E project.
10: 46 am Christine Lins, Executive Secretary, REN21, focused on the transport sector. "Removing fossil fuels subsidies is essential if we are to decarbonise end use sectors, particularly transportation and support the role of renewables," she said. Read more about our work on Transport.
10:41 am “There is no doubt that renewable energy is becoming increasingly crucial, as is IRENA’s role. We welcome the world to a Japan Olympics that will be powered by renewable energy-powered e-mobility.” - H.E. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan.
10:31 am “The IRENA Assembly gives Japan a change to adopt innovative solutions to engage the advanced technology and power of our innovation to address renewable energy.” - H.E. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan.
10:27 am In the meantime, a programmatic discussion on Renewable energy policies in a time of transition started. Yesterday, many Member Countries signaled a need for policy development to scale up renewable energy in end use sectors.
10:24 am Kicking-off the Ministerial Roundtable on E-mobility, IRENA Director-General reminded delegates of the rapid, and accelerating pace of e-mobility in the transportation sector. With the rise of electric vehicles, where will the electricity come from? We must address this.
10:18 am The MRT on Innovation for the energy transformation: E-mobility is about to start. Stay tuned for updates.
10:05 am Today, IRENA signed an MOU with Japan in the presence of the Japanese Foreign Minister, H.E Mr. Taro Kono, and H.E Mr. Kanji Fujiki, Japanese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, together with the Director General of IRENA, Mr. Adnan Amin. The agreement is for the provision of Junior Professional Officers by the Government of Japan to IRENA to allow early career professionals from Japan to contribute to the Agency’s mandate as IRENA staff members.
.@IRENA & experts from @ser_enr & @Access_Power present requirements to apply to @IRENA/@ABUDHABI_FUND Project Facility. $25m earmarked during #IRENA8A for #replicable, #scalable & #transformative #solar projects in #Rwanda & #Mauritius. pic.twitter.com/hr6ioXFDUm— Simon Benmarraze (@sim2ben) January 14, 2018
09:38 am Browse the rolling photo coverage of the IRENA Eighth Assembly on Flickr
09.10 am Following the release of the IRENA Power Generation Costs report, Forbes article underlines that "the cost of renewable energy is now falling so fast that it should be a consistently cheaper source of electricity generation than traditional fossil fuels within just a few years". See the full Forbes article
08:30 am Day 2 of the Eighth Assembly opens with a session on Accessing funding in the sixth cycle of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility. Yesterday, the winners of the Fifth Funding Cycle were announced. The beneficiaries are for two solar PV projects, one each in Mauritius and Rwanda. Read more
06:40 pm The close of the MRT session concludes the filled with events Day 1 of the Eighth Assembly. The main message of the day: costs of renewables are falling dramatically.“Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now – overwhelmingly – a smart economic one,” said the Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin.
06:32 pm "We have a strategy and ambitious goals, in Jordan, according to our capacity," Wafa Bani Mostafa, Member of Jordan's Parliament, tells IRENA at the Eight Assembly today:
05:58 pm The Plenary session came to an end.
05:52 pm The UK’s Nick Bridge, Climate Envoy for the Foreign Secretary said we can all agree that the energy system is transforming. We can all agree that it is happening quickly. But it is not nearly moving quickly enough. We are likely to all get a huge shock when the 1.5 degree report is released later this year.
05:46 pm At MRT session:
‘The energy transformation is unstoppable. If you cannot fight it, join it, and we think this is a fortunate opportunity for #Africa’ – Amadou Hott, African Development Bank #IRENA8A pic.twitter.com/MuX91QKIpP— IRENA (@IRENA) January 13, 2018
05:43 pm The World Bank confirms that it will be exiting fossil investment within a couple of years., and is hopeful and optimistic that other renewable technologies can be advanced significantly beyond just solar and wind.
05:38 pm The Deputy Director-General of IRENA, Sakari Oksanen takes the floor at the Plenary session: "The messages conveyed this afternoon are consistent. They reflect a new stage of renewable energy development. Here we see issues like finance, digitalisation and priority to secure access for all. Collaboration will be of essence as we go forward with the implementation of Work Programme and Budget 2018-2019".
05:21 pm At the MRT: Driven, positive approach to meeting Paris Agreement goals and more
‘Aiming for the 2 degree goal is really limiting us. I agree with @adnanzamin, we should not have ceilings on green investments and ambitions’ – Michael Eckhart, @Citi #IRENA8A pic.twitter.com/hpkRq1iEuC— IRENA (@IRENA) January 13, 2018
05:09 pm At the MRT session, the African Development Bank says Africa cannot miss this wonderful opportunity. We missed the industrial revolution. We cannot miss the renewable energy revolution. We can truly lead in renewables. If we can consume renewables domestically, and export fossil fuels while there is still a market, we are strengthening our economies and promoting energy security.
04:53 pm The plenary session continues. Member States, including Japan, Norway, the USA, Kiribati, Mali, Belarus and Mexico express positive support towards IRENA's work and commitment to ongoing partnership. Mr Haohan Eduardo Roldán-Connelly, Ministry of Energy in Mexico City underlined benefits coming from renewable energy deployment, including health, environmental and social benefits and underlined Mexico’s commitment to mitigate the effects of climate change and support to IRENA drive for promoting renewable energy. Read more about renewable energy benefits.
04:49 pm At the first MRT session:
04:40 pm Barbara Buchner of the Climate Policy institute says the declining cost of technology should provide the motivation for increased investment in renewable energy. Lots of potential for growth in emerging economies such as Argentina and Indonesia – but having the right policy framework provides the environment for change at the scale and speed required.
04:33 pm The Renewable Power Generation Costs report presents comprehensive data on costs trends. Renewable energy costs continue to fall and are already very competitive to meet needs for new capacity. Check the Costs page for more data.
04:27 pm Global Landscape of Renewable Energy Finance report has been published today, The study, jointly published by IRENA and Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), examines finance flows worldwide in 2013-2016, broken down by technology, financial instrument and region.
04:07 pm The Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017, released today, highlights that other forms of renewable power generation, such as bioenergy, geothermal and hydropower projects in the last 12 months have competed head-to-head on costs, with power from fossil fuels. The findings note that by 2019, the best onshore wind and solar PV projects will be delivering electricity for a USD 3 cents per kWh, significantly below the current cost of power from fossil fuels. Read more in the Press Release
3:55 pm The first ministerial round table (MRT) of the Eighth Assembly is about to get underway. ‘Accelerating the Global Energy Transformation: Scaling up Renewable Energy investment’ will look to identify the policy instruments and financial mechanisms required to increase investment – particularly from institutional investors – to accelerate renewable energy.
3:35 pm The new report on Renewable Power Generation Costs has just been published. This report highlights the latest trends for each of the main renewable power technologies, based on the latest cost and auction price data from projects around the world.
3:15 pm Read more about the ADFD winning projects in the Press Release.
2:12 pm Cost reduction potential of renewables remains main focus. The newest Power Generation Costs in 2017 IRENA report finds all renewable technologies will be competitive by 2020. See the report's Executive Summary.
02:05 pm "We need to not only think about the energy transformation but about what happens on the day after," Uruguay Minister of Energy, Industry and Mining Carolina Cosse.
01:55 pm Watch live coverage:
01:50 pm Press conference with the IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin and President of the Assembly, Uruguay Minister of Energy, Industry and Mining Carolina Cosse just started.
01:29 pm In Rwanda, the ADFD loan of USD15 million will contribute to the installation of 500,000 off-grid solar PV home systems across the country, providing clean electricity for lighting, mobile phone and radio charging.
The 2nd recipient of the funding is a solar home kits project in #Rwanda, valued at $15m. The project will bring 7.5MW of #renewableenergy benefitting about 2.5 million people, create 2,000 jobs, and help bring electricity to 500,000 homes. #IRENA8A #ADFD pic.twitter.com/uNThAhODkS— صندوق أبوظبي للتنمية (@ABUDHABI_FUND) January 13, 2018
01:15 pm In Mauritius, the ADFD loan of USD10 million will help the Central Electricity Board install solar PV systems on rooftops of 10,000 households
The first recipient of the funding is a solar photovoltaic system project in #Mauritius, valued at 10 million US dollars will be bring 10 megawatts(MW) of renewable energy, benefitting 30,000 people in low income communities. #IRENA8A #ADFD pic.twitter.com/1f7NUxtYgp— صندوق أبوظبي للتنمية (@ABUDHABI_FUND) January 13, 2018
12:55 pm USD25 million in concessional loans from ADFD have been earmarked for two solar PV projects, one each in Mauritius and Rwanda. The projects have the potential to significantly transform the lives of over 2.5 million people and alleviate poverty by bringing affordable energy to low-income communities.
12:43 pm The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and IRENA will shortly announce the selection of projects to be funded through the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility, a unique partnership to help developing countries access low-cost capital for renewable energy projects as a means for improving access to affordable and clean energy.
12:09 pm Nick Bridge, Foreign Secretary’s Climate Envoy,United Kingdom: “As the country that started the Industrial Revolution we are truly now into a new revolution. The UK is now the biggest offshore wind producer in the world.”
12:03 pm Speakers indicate positive attitude towards renewable energy transformation:
11:59 am During their remarks, Member States including China, the European Commission, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and others highlighted the rapid pace of the energy transition in their own countries and reemphasized their commitment to IRENA and appreciation for its role.
11:52 am Yesterday, the IRENA Coalition for Action released two new reports. Developed in a joint effort by the members of the Business and Investors Group, Scaling Up Renewable Energy Investment in Emerging Markets: Challenges, Risks and Solutions produced in a joint effort by the members of the Business and Investors Group, identifies challenges and opportunities for unlocking investment in renewable energy. It consolidates previous analyses and on-the-ground experiences of some of the leading private-sector players in the renewable energy field. Community Energy: Broadening the Ownership of Renewables produced in a joint effort by the members of the Community Energy Group, identifies the benefits, challenges and opportunities of broadening the ownership of renewables.
11:32 am IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin presented a summary of IRENA’s achievements over the course of the 2016-2017 biennium. He reiterated that IRENA’s nearly universal membership is well-poised to lead the energy transformation, and that it has been given momentum by the Paris Agreement. He provided a summary of the rapid and profound growth in renewable power capacity, tied to falling prices. However, to achieve the Paris Agreement targets, the scale of investment in renewables must exponentially increase. This would bring substantial gains of 19 trillion added to global GDP between now and 2050, and leading to 24 million new renewable energy jobs in 2050.
"As countries look to simultaneously meet different developmental and climate objectives, we continue to raise awareness on the possibilities that renewable energy offers to ensure that policy-makers and other stakeholders have the latest and most accurate knowledge for informed decision-making," IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin tells the Assembly in his Annual Report.
11:23 am Steve Sawyer, Secretary-General of the Global Wind Energy Council, reminded delegates that political will and a clear policy framework will allow for a just energy transition. Furthermore, that a reduction in transaction costs, efforts to lower high-upfront investment costs are needed to continue to drive low-cost renewable energy.
“We cannot live in planet where energy systems in some places have not changed in hundreds of years. Renewable energy is central to #SDGs. “ - Carolina Cosse, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining, #Uruguay #IRENA8A pic.twitter.com/wtu1B18nYE— IRENA (@IRENA) January 13, 2018
11:05 am In providing delegates with a recap of yesterday’s discussion on small island developing states (SIDS), Prime Minister Henry Puna, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands argued that narrative on renewables in SIDS today is starkly different to that of a few years ago. Furthermore, that the NDCs represent crucial opportunities to accelerate energy transformation in SIDS. However, in order to make this happen, strong international cooperation is necessary.
10:58 am Dr. Thani further emphasized the role of all IRENA Members to expand the use of renewable energy around the world, as a means to create millions more jobs and create social, economic and environmental benefits. Read more about benefits. Dr. Thani reiterated the UAE’s commitment to hosting the International Renewable Energy Agency.
10:56 am UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, addressed the Assembly, highlighting the country’s record-low solar prices and its efforts to invest in renewable energy projects around the world. Find out more about renewable energy costs.
10:45 am IRENA Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin welcomed over 1,200 participants present here today "The mandate entrusted to our Agency to support countries in the transition to a sustainable energy future has never been more important and relevant."
10:37 am Afghanistan, Nigeria Norway, Sudan elected as vice-presidents of the Eighth Session of the IRENA Assembly.
10:25 am Incoming President of the Assembly, H.E. Carolina Cosse, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining, Uruguay, drew on the experiences of Uruguay, which has realised tremendous development in its energy system over recent decades, to underline the centrality of renewable energy to the achievement of sustainable development.
10:12 am The Eight Session of the IRENA Assembly is officially open.
09:40 am Watch Didier Dogley, Seychelle's Minister of Environment, Energy & Climate Change speaking about renewables: "We've reached the point of no return because everyone knows that the way forward in energy is renewables — there's no going back".
09:22 am Welcome to Day 1 of the Eighth Session of the IRENA Assembly. More than 1,100 delegates and observers are now taking their places in the Plenary Hall. The opening session will begin shortly – stay tuned!
09:04 am See the Pre-Assembly Day, 12 January, coverage