x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Abu Dhabi-based Irena votes to open an office in New York

Organisation meeting in capital works out plan for meeting 2030 targets, in which renewables double share of world energy mix.

ABU DHABI // The world's green-energy body, based in the capital, is to open an office in New York.

The decision was made yesterday as delegates from 104 countries and the European Union, all members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), approved its work programme for this year.

A total of 579 delegates from 133 countries attended Irena's third annual assembly, although only members have a say in how the organisation should be run.

The New York office, described in documents as modest, will represent Irena to important international organisations such as the United Nations, also based in New York.

The office will offer a point of contact with Irena member states that do not have envoys in Abu Dhabi.

Delegates at the two-day gathering at the St Regis Saadiyat Resort approved a budget of US$29.7 million (Dh109m) for Irena.

They were briefed on Irena's progress on preparing a renewable-energy roadmap for 2030.

The document is part of Irena's contribution to Sustainable Energy for All, launched by the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, which aims to double the share of renewables in the world's energy mix by 2030.

Dr Adnan Amin, Irena's secretary general, yesterday said renewable energy capacity could be doubled but warned the window for action was small.

"Doubling the share of renewables is achievable but will require concerted action by all," Dr Amin said.

Preliminary findings show that at the current rate, renewable energy will account for 21 per cent of the global energy mix by 2030 - 9 per cent short of the goal set.

To close the gap, infrastructure would have to grow by 150 gigawatts a year, compared with a growth of 110 in 2011.

Work on the project, Remap 2030, is continuing this year with Irena asking members for information about their renewable-energy plans and projections.

Ultimately, the organisation wants to see the difference between countries' plans and their actions. It aims to bring together experts and policymakers to chart the way.

The goal, Irena said yesterday, was attainable but adoption rates must increase significantly for it to be met.

Nine countries, including the UAE, have appointed national experts to join the effort. Irena is aiming to make the plan publicly available in the future.

The organisation also presented a prototype of an annual report on the renewables sector, which aims to outline barriers to adopting clean power and opportunities where "investment can make a key difference", Dr Amin said.

The report will seek to offer governments and investors advice on renewable technologies and policies, identify innovation and point out emerging issues that are likely to be major influences on renewable energy in future.

The document was not publicly disclosed as it is still to be presented to expert consultants. A first edition of it is to be unveiled officially at Irena's fourth assembly next year.

The Irena assembly coincides with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which opens today. About 30,000 officials, clean-energy advocates and entrepreneurs are expected in the capital this week for the sixth World Future Energy Summit and the International Renewable Energy Conference.

For the first time, water management will also be a key part of the discussions through the International Water Summit.

Leaders such as Queen Rania of Jordan, Francois Hollande, president of France, and Cristina de Kirchner, president of Argentina, are expected to speak at the opening of the summit.