IRENA Eighth Assembly Live: Pre-Assembly Day

12 January 2018| Articles

Pre-Assembly Day live blog

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.

Today's highlights: 

  • Legislators Forum followed by Public-private dialogue on Unlocking Renewable Energy Investment.
  • Two sessions on SIDS: High Level Meeting on Scaling up the Renewable Energy Deployment in SIDS and Improving SIDS capacities to deliver bankable energy projects.
  • Sessions on SDGs and energy statistics, Regional REmap approach, Bioenergy for sustainable development and Scaling up solar PV.

06:15pm Today's activities are coming to a close. A huge amount of energy and ideas ran throughout today’s discussions and is setting the stage for an engaging and vibrant Assembly, powered by a group of event participants committed to moving the energy transition forward.

06:10 pm Linus Mofor Senior Energy & Climate Change Expert, UNECA discussed the importance of translating REmap into the Africa context. He pointed out that, given that many African countries are now discovering fossil fuel reserves and are seeking to advance their own energy needs, a compelling case must be made to instead use renewables. REmap must help them do this. 

05:59 pm Renewable Energy Prospects for the European Union, the advance summary for policymakers released today, identifies cost-effective renewable options, spanning all EU Member States and different sectors and technologies, that would allow countries to meet and potentially exceed the EU’s proposed target. Read more on how European Union Can Meet Ambitious Renewable Energy Targets.

05:43 pm During a discussion about the feasibility of achieving the decarbonisation of the global economy, Dr. Martin Schoepe, Head of Division, International Energy Cooperation - German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy pointed out that, “Achieving the Paris Agreement is technically feasible and economically viable, but it means steering investments.”

05:35 pm Meanwhile, in the session on Scaling up solar PV: Project bankability means different things to different people. To be clear, a project is only bankable if a bank is prepared to finance it. Getting there for developers can be complex however, and requires a good understanding of the criteria of lenders. Our Project Facilitation tools can help.

05:31 pm Newest IRENA Remap study found that the EU could double its share of renewable energy from 17% to 34% in 2030. Read the just published Executive summary

05:18 pm Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Henry Puna, talks about the island's renewable energy goals. Cook Islands are going 100% renewable: “We are going all the way, flat out." 


05:12 pm As costs for solar energy continue to fall, how do we ensure solar technologies deliver the expected performance across their lifetime? Session on Scaling-up PV deployment: implementing projects with assured quality is now under way.

IRENA, with support from partner organisations, developed comprehensive guidelines and tools based on international best practices in so called quality infrastructure (QI). Experience to date has shown that implementation of QI brings multiple benefits, including technical risk mitigation, increased affordability, reliability and sustainability. IRENA's recent work on QI for renewable energy technologies (RETs) has focused on solar PV, solar water heaters, small wind turbines and guidelines for policy makers. See related publications.

04:30pm IRENA’s Dolf Gielen kicked off the Regional Remap Approach session with a question: "What should be our end goal? To do Remap analysis of every country in the world?" The aim of the session is to exchange international experiences in regional renewable energy cooperation, and explore opportunities for the application of the REmap approach in other regions of the world. The completed regional REmap analysis includes work on ASEAN and Africa regions, as well as many national  REmap reports. View REmap interactive dashboards.

04:54 pm A discussion emerged among participants in terms of why mitigation and adaptation are not normally considered together when discussing climate change in a SIDS context.

Amjad Abdulla, Director General of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, Maldives pointed out: “When you talk about mitigation, you talk about business, growth, investment.  When you talk about adaptation the conversation is very localized.  How will you attract investors to, for example, restore a local shoreline for small businesses? What will be their return on investment?”  This underscores the challenges that SIDS can face in terms of translating international ambition and targets into local development gains.

Amjad Abdulla, Director General of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, Maldives

04:39 pm During discussions, delegates reinforced the need to focus on attracting private sector funding, and on the challenges of getting them to invest in certain small island states.  As Dr. Vince Henderson, Executive Chairman of SIDS Dock put it, “When we’re talking about financing, we’re really talking about the private sector, not the state.  Realistically, any tools should seek to support private sector in development of renewables.”

04:21 pm At the Improving SIDS capacities to deliver bankable renewable energy projects session:

03:59 pm At the Private-Public Dialogue: Covering different regions and markets, IRENA’s dialogue between the public and the private sector is building common understanding and encouraging complementary actions by focusing on investment frameworks and the role of the private sector and legislators in shifting investments towards renewable energy.

03:45 pm Deputy Director of IRENA Sakari Oksanen asks bioenergy experts to identify the current barriers to bioenergy development. What is the roadmap for the future of bioenergy? According to Rob Sandoli, Director at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the US Department of Energy, capacity building, communication and education is the key challenge. “We have the technology, but financiers, policy makers and other key stakeholders need to buy in to the potential of bioenergy production and use – it’s a heavy lift”.

03:38 pm IEA bioenergy chair says concerted international action is needed to scale up bioenergy production and use. We need more innovation, both on the production side and in terms of the efficient use of the biomass.

03:32 pm A new feature, IRENA’s Project Navigator Islands Module can help islands shorten development time, lower costs, and reduce failure rate of renewable energy projects.The module incorporates several renewable energy project guidelines — utility-scale solar PV, onshore wind, solar home systems, and mini-grids — specifically for SIDS. "It's not enough to understand the potential that is out there in terms of renewable energy – you need to translate this into financed projects. IRENA’s tools and platforms can help.”- IRENA Simon Benmarraze.

Simon Benmarraze

03:21 pm Improving SIDS capacities to deliver bankable renewable energy projects session is in progress. IRENA’s Simon Benmarraze shared an overview of IRENA’s Project Navigator with delegates.  The Project Navigator helps translate technical ideas into financing proposals, and produce good quality project proposals.  To date, more than 1,300 projects have been created within the Project Navigator platform.

03:16 pm To strengthen coordination and collaboration between public and private stakeholders, legislators are taking part in a Public-Private dialogue with business and investor group of the Coalition for Action. The focus of this meeting lies on how legislators and governments can contribute to unlocking renewable energy investment and what are the challenges. Major barriers to scaling-up renewable energy investment, in particular in emerging markets, include regulatory uncertainties leading to high financing costs.

03:14 pm Following an engaging morning session which set the stage for what is at stake for SIDS in efforts to urgently decarbonize the global economy, delegates are now convening to delve further into specific tools and platforms that islands and others can use to plan, finance, and implement the energy transition. Visit IRENA SIDS website to find out more about the existing tools.

03:08 pm Bioenergy is a key renewable energy that has the potential to provide three-eighths of global renewable energy supply by 2050 but its deployment has been slow. What is being done to expand its use? Delegates discuss.

02:53 pm At the SIDS meeting earlier today the importance of energy transition for sustainable future was noted. Find out more about energy transition.

02:45 pm A discussion on how to coordinate global efforts to achieve global acceleration in modern bioenergy deployment is taking place during the  Bioenergy for Sustainable Development event. In the view of the key role that bioenergy plays in the energy transition, IRENA has begun work in three priority areas: sustainable resources (see bioenergy potential related publications), cost-effective technologies (see Innovation Outlook: Advanced Liquid biofuels) and tools for scale-up (Bioenergy Simulator and Project Navigator module for solid biomass). Further action to scale up deployment and address challenges is required. See IRENA Bioenergy data

12:35 pm Read the latest Press Release: Lawmakers discuss policies to accelerate global energy transition

12:30 pm Browse our rolling photo gallery of the 8th Assembly on Flickr for images of speakers at various events. 

11:45 am During their opening statements at the SIDS meeting, small island developing states leaders reiterated their sense of determination and clear purpose on advancing climate resilience through renewable energy.  All stressed the importance of partnerships.

11:37 am At the Legislators Forum:

11:30 am DGs and energy statistics for monitoring progress towards Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all discussion begun with an objective to further explore data needs, methods for data collection and interpretation to improve information at the global level and support countries in their efforts to monitor progress towards Goal 7. Explore current IRENA Data & Statistics

11:06 am “Development cannot take place without energy. Renewable energy is the key to helping our population achieve development.” - H.E. Djaffar Hassani, Vice President of the Union of the Comoros at the High-Level SIDS meeting. 

HE Djaffar Hassani

10:55 am The dialogue at the Legislators Forum continues: 

10:50 am “On many of our remote islands, the ability to generate power 24-hours a day was a dream.  We were slaves to an essential, but high cost imported product.  Today, even the least-populated of the Cook Islands have 24-hour renewable power, creating greater food security and alleviating poverty.” - H.E. Henry Puna, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands

10:46 am  “The importance of accessing financing in SIDS cannot be understated, especially as they work to implement their NDCs.” -  IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. 

10:37 am IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin opened the High Level Meeting on Scaling up Renewable Energy Deployment in Small Island Developing States with a reminder of the vulnerability of many SIDS to climate change, as evinced through the numerous devastating tropical storms experienced last year. Browse IRENA Climate Change topic.

10:26 am IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, tells IRENA Legislators Forum that despite growing levels of investments in renewables, achieving the decarbonisation needed in the energy sector will entail investing an estimated 25 trillion USD in renewables by 2050 — a tripling of the current annual investments, most of which will have to come from the private sector, and the topic of this afternoon's 'Public-Private Dialogue'.

10:13 am Hans Olav Ibrekk, Policy Director Energy and Climate Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway, says he is delighted to be participating in a panel discussing sustainable development in the Middle East in which we have gender parity, we are making progress.

10:03 am A High Level Meeting on Scaling up the Renewable Energy Deployment in SIDS started with a goal to highlight successful examples of energy transformation in small island developing states (SIDS), identifying pathways to strengthening their resilience to climate change.

SIDS are rich in renewable energy sources and can meet most, if not all, of their domestic energy needs through a combination of renewable energy technologies. “In the energy sector, SIDS are hindered by a high dependence on imported fossil fuels, and the associated high costs in transitioning to sustainable energy and low carbon development,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. IRENA’s SIDS Lighthouses Initiative aims to support the energy transition in SIDS by successfully mobilizing US 500 million, to advance their renewable energy ambitions.

Today, islands are emerging as front runners in the pursuit of renewables based energy systems. 



09:58 am Underway: the regional dimension of SDG7, finding a way to secure, affordable and clean energy across the region.

"Energy is not just for experts and technicians. It has a transformative social and economic role to play too. Energy is closely interrelated with key national resource issues like water and food security in the Middle East region." Roula Majdalani Director, Sustainable Development and Policy Division, ESCWA

09:53 am At the Legislators Forum

09:45 am Yesterday, a discussion during a joint FNC-IRENA Parliamentary Forum focused on engagement of the private sector in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the food-energy nexus to illustrate the interlinkages between energy access and other SDGs.

09:40 am Regional dimensions of the SDG 7: A look at the Arab region meeting started. “Within the context of sustainable development, cities are becoming leaders in the application of renewable energy technology solutions such as heating, cooling and transportation” Rabia Ferroukhi, @IRENA Deputy-Director #IRENA8A

09:30am The Pre-Assembly Day commences with the 3rd IRENA Legislators Forum. Over 60 members of parliaments from 30 countries started a discussion on the implementation of climate commitments. They are discussing their role in accelerating the implementation of renewable energy deployment in the context of Paris Agreement commitments, exchanging best practices, and aiming to jointly develop solutions together with private sector representatives.