x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Irena founder Hermann Scheer hailed for renewable energy role

Former German politician oversaw double-digit growth in renewable energy sector over a 10-year period.

ABU DHABI // Widely regarded as the founder of Irena, Hermann Scheer's record in the field includes double-digit growth in Germany's renewable energy sector in less than a decade.

Scheer, a German parliamentarian and the president of the European Association for Renewable Energy, had long been a staunch advocate of renewable energy and was a key driving force in Irena's founding four years ago.

"Hermann is the father of Irena, he is an inspiring model," Hélène Pelosse, the organisation's interim director general, said in 2010 after his death.

"In his speech during the founding conference on Irena, Hermann reminded us that we shouldn't lose any more time to accelerate the transition towards renewable energies."

Scheer believed that the continuation of current patterns of energy supply and use was environmentally damaging, and that renewable energy was the only realistic alternative.

He saw the main obstacle to such a change as political, rather than technical or economic

During Abu Dhabi's bid to host the young agency, Scheer said that the candidacy of an oil-producing country to host the headquarters of the world's renewable energy agency had "a special meaning".

"More than 90 per cent of all countries are more or less newcomers." Abu Dhabi had taken decisive steps to assert itself as a future renewable energy centre, Scheer added.

He also highlighted Masdar City, the world's first large-scale carbon-neutral development, as another example of how the UAE was trying to establish itself as an influential player in renewable energy.

In 2002 Scheer was recognised by Time magazine as one of five "Heroes for the Green Century".

He wrote five books and more than 1,000 articles demonstrating the necessity and feasibility of a transition from fossil and nuclear resources to the field of renewable energy.

"The way is for renewables and we do not need a bridge," Scheer said in an interview with The National in 2009. "Nothing can be implemented faster than renewable energy."