More than 350 government representatives from 115 countries — including Ministers and high-level officials — gathered today in Abu Dhabi to attend the 14th Council of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). At the outset of the meeting, the Council re-elected China as Chair of the meeting and Colombia as Vice-Chair.
The Council of IRENA meets twice annually to facilitate cooperation among Members, oversee implementation of the IRENA Work Programme and complete substantive preparations for the Agency’s annual Assembly, which takes place in January, at the outset of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
“We will promote a revolution in energy production and consumption, and build an energy sector that is clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient,” said Council Chair Mr. Zhi Guo, Chief Economist of China’s National Energy Administration, upon his election. “Renewable energy has now become a major part of China’s additional electricity generation, which highlights the impact of clean energy as a substitute.”
At the opening of the Council, IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said: “Renewable energy has been the cornerstone of growth in the energy industry over the last five years, during which more than half of global capacity additions in the power sector have been from renewable energy. While great progress is underway in the power sector, attention can be turned to the relatively untapped potential that exists to integrate renewable energy into end-use sectors such as transportation, heating and cooling.”
“As the global energy system is undergoing a rapid transition with larger shares of renewable energy, this Council presents Members with the opportunity to set the Agency’s strategic direction towards accelerating this transition to a sustainable energy future,” added Mr. Amin.
During IRENA’s 14th Council, participants will discuss the Agency’s future work as part of the Work Programme and Budget for 2018-2019, and its Medium-term Strategy for 2018-2022. Programmatic discussions will cover increasing the share of renewable energy through Nationally Determined Contributions, and scaling-up renewables deployment through effective project facilitation.
Improving information about modern uses of bioenergy in support of energy transformation, enabling higher shares of variable renewable energy through flexibility options including electricity storage, and accessing funding in the sixth cycle of the IRENA/Abu Dhabi Fund for Development Project Facility, will also be discussed.
Since the last Council meeting in May 2017, IRENA’s Membership has increased by three to 153, with the addition of Lebanon, El Salvador, and Uzbekistan. Nearly 30 additional countries are in the process of becoming Members.