“When we started out just over five years ago, many were not convinced of the need for the energy transformation, or of the role renewables could play therein. But developments during the past few years exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic supporters,” announced IRENA Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin, during the opening of IRENA’s 12th Council.
Convened from 1 to 2 November 2016, IRENA’s 12th Council attracted more than 300 high-level government representatives from 100 countries – the most ever represented at a Council meeting.
“There is no silver bullet solution to transform the energy system to a sustainable, reliable and affordable one. The world will need thousands of bigger and smaller solutions to make this a reality, ranging from new financing models to reshaping policies, to mobilizing public and private funding,” the Director-General told the Council while outlining the Agency’s activities and developments over the last year.
The Council, one of IRENA’s two governing bodies, brings together a rotating group of 21 countries to discuss IRENA’s work and to propose issues for IRENA’s Assembly — the agency’s other, larger, governing body.
Convening just twice a year, this Council’s discussion focused on reviewing the progress completed to date under the current work programme, and planning the Agency’s future work as part of the Medium-term Strategy for 2018-2022. The plenaries thematic sessions covered renewable energy in cities, renewable energy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, implementing renewable energy as a means for countries to achieve their national commitments under the Paris Agreement, renewable energy opportunities in Asia, and the corporate sourcing of renewables.
In other rooms
In addition to discussions held during the Council’s plenary, side sessions informed and updated IRENA members on the progress of agency activities. ‘Decarbonisation pathways to 2050’ highlighted IRENA’s renewable energy roadmap (REmap) work, which, supported by careful analysis, provides a roadmap for doubling the global share of renewables by 2030.
A session titled the ‘Opening of the fifth funding cycle — IRENA/ADFD Project Facility’, drew attention to IRENA’s collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) to support renewable energy projects in developing countries, and the upcoming launch of its fifth funding cycle on 11 November 2016. The IRENA/ADFD Project Facility allocates US$350 million towards the deployment of renewable energy projects in developing countries across seven loan cycles. The Facility has already allocated $144m worth of funds to projects across the globe.
Other sessions discussed the corporate sourcing of renewable energy, catalysing investments in renewable energy-based mini-grid development, and leveraging local industries for renewable energy benefits.
This year’s Council members included Albania, Algeria, Bahamas, Belgium, Cameroon, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, India, Israel, Japan, Nicaragua, Poland, Korea, United Arab Emirates, UK, USA, Uruguay and Zambia, with France, Germany, Kiribati, Somalia, Turkey and Zimbabwe acting as alternate Council members.