Government officials from more than 150 countries including 75 ministers, and leaders from international organisations, the private sector and civil society are gathering this week for the Seventh Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Assembly brings together energy leaders to set the global renewable energy agenda and take concrete action to accelerate the ongoing global energy transition.
“2016 was a remarkable year for renewable energy. The falling costs of solar and wind power in markets around the world highlight the increasing cost-competitiveness of renewable energy which has become the preferred option for new power generation capacity in many countries around the world,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.
“In addition, innovations in technology and new business models are bringing renewable solutions to people who previously had no access to energy. These developments, coupled with the entry into force of the Paris Agreement and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, underscore growing momentum for renewable energy and give fresh impetus to the case for transitioning to a sustainable energy future. Efforts now need to turn to scaling-up renewables in end-use sectors such as transportation, industry, and heating and cooling.”
Taking place 14-15 January at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, with a day of preliminary meetings and discussions on 13 January, the Seventh Assembly will focus on the critical role of renewable energy in powering economic growth, combatting climate change, expanding energy access and meeting global sustainable development goals.
Notable events taking place throughout the three days include:
- The 2017 IRENA Legislators Forum on 13 January will gather legislators from around the world to discuss the key role of legislators in accelerating the deployment of renewables.
- A high-level meeting on renewable energy in South East Europe on 13 January will discuss the opportunities and challenges to expand the share of renewable energy in the region’s energy mix. The event will also be a platform for IRENA to launch its publication on cost-effective renewable energy generation in the region.
- A high-level event on renewable energy in islands settings on 13 January will discuss pathways for renewable energy deployment on islands and the enhanced efforts needed to support them.
- A Ministerial Roundtable on 14 January, ‘Towards an Economy Fuelled by Renewable Power: Innovation for the Next Stage of the Power Sector Transformation’, will discuss the innovative models and technologies needed for power sector transformation to inegrate higher share of renewables.
- On 14 January, IRENA and Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) will announce the funding of renewable energy projects in a number of developing countries as part of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility.
- A Ministerial Roundtable on 15 January, ‘Catalysing off-grid renewable energy deployment - Towards universal electricity access and the attainment of SDGs’, will discuss how off-grid renewables can be best integrated into national electrification strategies and improve livelihoods.
- The launch of REthinking Energy 2017 on 15 January, an IRENA publication that examines the dramatic changes of the energy sector under way and how they provide an opportunity to develop an energy system that underpins sustainable development objectives.
- Three Programmatic discussions: Plenary discussions amongst Members will take on ‘Enabling the private sector to accelerate renewable energy deployment – Corporate sourcing of renewables,’ on 14 January and on ‘Driving the decarbonisation of the energy sector through innovation’ and ‘Investment pathways towards advancing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) on 15 January.
“IRENA is now the recognized leader for authoritative and objective knowledge resources on renewable energy costs, resource potentials and employment,” said Mr Amin. “The Agency has also developed practical tools to enable countries to better plan their energy transition. Our annual Assembly provides a critical opportunity for high-level engagement with our Members and partners to examine how international cooperation can speed the transition to a sustainable energy future through concrete action and initiatives.”
The Assembly marks the opening of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and preceeds the World Future Energy Summit, a global gathering of thousands of energy leaders. IRENA will participate in a number events throughout the week, covering topics ranging from the decarbonisation of energy systems to the scaling up of variable renewable power.