x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Irena members gather from around the world

High-level delegations from more than 100 countries are meeting in Abu Dhabi for the third assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

Adnan Amin, the director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National.
Adnan Amin, the director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). Fatima Al Marzooqi / The National.

High-level delegations from more than 100 countries are meeting in Abu Dhabi today and tomorrow for the third assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

The assembly is held annually in the UAE capital, where Irena is headquartered. It allows members, currently numbering 104 countries and the European Union, to make decisions about the workings and future of the organisations. All in all, 160 countries are part of the Irena process, although not all are full members.

The gathering is expected to approve Irena's working programme for 2013 and its core budget of US$18 million (Dh66.1m), and to highlight some key achievements and initiatives, said Dr Adnan Amin, the director general of Irena.

Among them is a renewable energy road map for 2030.

The document is part of Irena's contribution to Sustainable Energy For All, an initiative launched by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.

"One of the targets for the Sustainable Energy For All initiative is to achieve a doubling of renewable energy by 2030," said Mr Amin. "We believe that it is possible to do more than that."

Irena will also launch a special report on Africa, a continent where energy demand is set to rise sharply, presenting both an opportunity and a risk.

"Africa faces a choice whether to go the renewable energy route or whether to invest in conventional energy generation," said Mr Amin. "Conventional fossil generation will bind them into one investment for two decades on average."

"We believe that will be a wrong decision and we want to create an environment to assist Africans to make the decision to move in the renewable energy field."

Delegates will have the chance to review a draft of the first Irena annual report, which aims to give neutral strategic advice on the future of renewable energy in terms of developments in investment, innovation and technologies. A fully-fledged report is to be presented next year at the organisation's fourth assembly.

In partnership with the Financial Times, Irena is hosting high-level ministerial discussions on finance strategy and the broader costs and benefits of renewable energy with leading countries in the field such as Germany, Morocco, the UAE, China and Iceland.

"In two years, we have come to a position where we have developed a global recognition that there is a new agency here, that it is functioning well, that its institutional structures and capacity are reliable and that it presents a platform for international co-operation that we have not had in renewable energy up to today," Dr Amin said.