IRENA Assembly sets agenda for renewable energy future

12 January 2013| Articles

Delegates from 150 countries arrived in Abu Dhabi during the weekend for the opening of the third session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on 13-14 January. The Assembly is the foremost annual renewable energy event, setting the global policy agenda for the transition to a sustainable future based on renewable resources and technologies.

The delegates include nearly 80 at ministerial level, including ministers of energy and environmental affairs from leading countries for renewable energy deployment and emerging countries that seek to scale-up renewables massively to support future growth.

“The Assembly has become a key occasion for setting the agenda and laying out the necessary action plans for the world’s transition to clean, sustainable energy,” said IRENA’s Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin. “We are embarking on an exciting new phase of the Agency’s work to promote the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy worldwide.”

IRENA, established in 2011, has become the policy hub for key questions such as how to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix by 2030, one of the key targets set out last year in the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

Boosting renewable energy to 30 per cent is achievable and would reap a wide range of benefits, IRENA’s initial analysis suggests. But if progress continues at current levels, renewables will only account for 21 per cent of the global energy mix by 2030.

Assembly discussions will include setting in motion a “global roadmap” process, REMAP 2030, to recommend actions at the regional and inter-regional levels, to continue tracking progress and highlight new opportunities to accelerate the deployment of renewables.

An online resource assessment tool, the Global Renewable Energy Atlas, will become active on the IRENA website on 13 January as several more countries join the collaborate initiative to make solar and wind data openly available. IRENA experts will also give presentations on the Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) process, which provides country-specific guidance to scale up renewable energy and spreads the knowledge of what has worked successfully.

“This is an exciting time to be at the centre of global discussions and planning for the world’s energy future,” Mr Amin said.

The two-day Assembly also marks the opening of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, a series of high-level energy and environmental conferences in the United Arab Emirates capital, where IRENA’s headquarters is located. The Agency will have a booth at the World Future Energy Summit on 15-17 January with a line-up of presentations, briefings and launches of new reports.

Dramatic falls in costs have made renewable energy increasingly competitive with fossil fuels globally and the least-cost option in a growing number of markets, the latest IRENA report confirms. IRENA is a worldwide intergovernmental Agency with 105 members and another 55 participating countries taking steps towards membership.