- International Renewable Energy Agency
Representatives from more than 60 countries met in Berlin in April 2008, at the invitation of the German Government, to discuss the founding of an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). IRENA would be an intergovernmental organization for promoting the adoption of renewable energy worldwide. [http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/story?id=52254 Time for an International Renewable Energy Agency?] ]
The Berlin meeting saw
renewable energyas meeting some of the key challenges facing the world today, and agreed that renewable energy offers many advantages. Renewables contribute to three key major global energy goals: energy security, cost efficiency and environmental protection. [http://irena.org/downloads/Case_for_IRENA_EN.pdf The Case for an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)] p. 4.]
Preparatory Berlin meetings
54 countries participated in the Preparatory Conference for the Foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency in Berlin, held on April 10 and 11, 2008. [http://www.irena.org/downloads/list_of_countries_final.pdf] This meeting followed several other meetings since 1981 which also discussed the formation of IRENA. At Berlin, government representatives met to discuss the objectives, activities, finances, and organizational structure of IRENA. Participants expressed a need to begin a swift transition to a more secure, sustainable renewable energy economy with the assistance of an international body.
The Statutes & Finance Group has held its first workshop from June 30 to July 1, 2008 inBerlin, in parallel to the first workshop of the Working Programme Group. The second workshop of the Statutes & Finance Group will be held at the end of September to discuss final proposals for the statutes and financing documents. Final versions of these documents will be sent to all countries interested in becoming members of IRENA prior to the Founding Conference.
Rationale for IRENA
The Berlin meeting saw renewable energy as meeting some of the key challenges facing the world today:
* Renewable energy provides "sustainable power that will never run dry". Even substantial increases in demand can be met by the enormous energy potential of wind,solar and other renewable energy sources.
* Renewable energy "brings energy prices under control". With declining production osts, renewable energy guarantees stable energy prices. Indeed, many renewable energy options – particularly small-scale applications – are already competitive. Examples include hot water from solar collectors and electricity from small hydro and wind power.
* Renewable energy "makes it possible to reduce greenhouse gases" and air pollution. Renewable energy mostly causes only very small amounts of greenhouse gases and helps to reduce negative health effects.
* Renewable energy "can provide energy to the poorest in the world" – with no need for expensive grid solutions renewable energy can solve the energy needs of more than a billion people around the globe.
Some key advantages of renewables were seen to be:
* One of the main advantages of renewable energy is "energy security". Renewable energy is home-grown, universally available and not reliant on an electricity grid or oil/gas pipeline infrastructure. It reduces dependency on rapidly diminishing fossil fuel resources. Renewable energy is thus an appropriate option for "diversifying supply and increasing domestic supply".
* When applied in a sustainable manner, renewable energy "can reduce the pressure on natural resources". It therefore helps to combat deforestation, desertification and the loss of biodiversity.
* Renewable energy is "multifunctional" – it can meet electricity, heating and cooling needs as well as providing fuel for vehicles. Renewable technology installations have the advantage of being flexible with regard to scale and can be up and running in a comparatively short space of time. In addition they can be integrated into either the transmission or the distribution system.
* Finally, renewable energy technologies "stimulate economic growth and job creation". In 2007, more than USD 100 billion was invested worldwide in renewable energy plants, the manufacture of renewable energy devices and related research and development. Some 2.4 million jobs were created in 2006 alone.
Renewable energies thus represent an adequate response to the challenges faced by the world's population. They are the key to achieving the three key global energy goals: energy security, cost efficiency and environmental protection. IRENA will act as a driver for renewable technologies at the international level.
Climate Investment Funds
International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation
International Renewable Energy Conference
* [http://irena.org/ Preparatory Conference for the Foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)]
* [http://www.irena.org/downloads/WS/Discussion_paper_Workshop_II_(statutes)_EN.pdf International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)]
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