Finding a Way to Transform Energy on Islands

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are on the frontlines of global climate change. Dependent on the ocean for their livelihoods, yet threatened by its rising and acidifying waters, this assemblage of the world’s lowest lying countries are some of the most outspoken and driven countries for decarbonisation and renewable energy.

Matching ambition with reality, however, is not simple, and SIDS need international support to accomplish their decarbonisation goals. But what does that support look like? What is needed to identify the best pathways for SIDS to achieve a renewable energy future and to establish the necessary frameworks for accessing financial support at the speed and scale required to transform their energy systems? Continue reading Finding a Way to Transform Energy on Islands

Energy Community Gathers at IRENA’s 7th Assembly

From 14 to 15 January 2017, the seventh session of the Assembly of IRENA gathered 3 heads of state, 75 ministers, government officials from over 150 countries, and representatives from the private sector, civil society and other international organisations. As IRENA’s ultimate decision-making authority, the Assembly brought together the international community to reaffirm the global renewable energy agenda and make concrete steps to accelerate the global energy transition.

Taking place at the St. Regis Saadiyat Hotel in Abu Dhabi, with a day of preliminary meetings and discussions on 13 January, the Assembly focused on the critical role of renewable energy in combating climate change, expanding energy access and meeting global sustainable development goals. Continue reading Energy Community Gathers at IRENA’s 7th Assembly

IRENA’s Year in Review 2016

Entering 2017 presents an ideal moment to review IRENA’s progress and what better way to do that than to take account of what has occurred in the year just finished— and so here we present to you IRENA’s year in review.

Before we start, in case you missed it, you can catch-up on what the Agency achieved in 2014 and 2015, in IRENA’s At A Glance.

But now without further ado, let’s travel through the last 12 months and take a look at IRENA’s activities and accomplishments in 2016. Continue reading IRENA’s Year in Review 2016

Winners of IRENA’s Photo Competition

In April, to celebrate IRENA’s fifth anniversary, the Agency launched its first ever international photo competition. The entry requirements were broad and the rules simple: submit a photo demonstrating “the promise and power of renewable energy as the solution to a wide range of global, national and local challenges,” and it’ll be judged it on its story, originality and artistic merit, quality, and dramatic impact.

And the prize? The winner would win a trip to Abu Dhabi to attend the seventh session of IRENA’s Assembly, in January 2017. The top five photos would all be exhibited at the Assembly where they’d be seen by thousands of energy professionals from around the world. Continue reading Winners of IRENA’s Photo Competition

Simulating Bioenergy Potential

It is estimated that 1.4 billion hectares of unused arable land is available for cultivating potential bioenergy sources — crops, forests, residues, and livestock. Identifying and figuring out how to utilise this limited amount of space effectively and efficiently, is one challenge hampering the development of bioenergy production. But a shifting urgency to address climate change, and improved data sharing and analysis, means that the barriers holding bioenergy back, are giving way.

A new IRENA online simulator, developed in partnership with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and Valbiom gives its users the ability to estimate the potential yields of bioenergy produced anywhere in the world, and is now looking to the public to help it validate its data and make it better. Continue reading Simulating Bioenergy Potential

Pay-As-You-Go Solar Systems in Rural Senegal Give Access to Electricity

In the rural village of Salémata, located in the Kédougou region of southern Senegal, 10-year old Omar and his parents used to spend money on costly kerosene and low quality solar torches for basic lighting needs in their house. The kerosene and torches did not provide light for the whole evening, making studying at night a challenge for Omar. Omar’s parents then purchased a pay-as-you-go solar system in hopes that it could solve their lighting and energy problems. Since then, Omar is able to complete his homework every night and has improved his performance at school. And when his homework is done, now he can even watch some football games on TV.

The pay-as-you-go system Omar’s family purchased is made by Touba Solar Rama, a company that is supported by an Entrepreneurship Support Facility established by IRENA and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. Based at the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso, the facility provides advisory assistance to small and medium-sized renewable energy entrepreneurs in West Africa. Continue reading Pay-As-You-Go Solar Systems in Rural Senegal Give Access to Electricity

Green Gold: Growing Jet Fuel in the Desert

Thirty kilometres from the bustle of downtown Abu Dhabi, lies a remarkable undertaking that could one day change the environmental impact of air travel.

Set on a two-hectare farm down the road from the IRENA Headquarters building, a pilot project conducted by Masdar Institute’s Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC) is bringing private sector firms together to answer ‘is it possible to create a sustainable jet-powering biofuel?’ Continue reading Green Gold: Growing Jet Fuel in the Desert

Covering the latest news from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and developments in renewables.