Cities hold the key to the global transition to sustainable energy.
More than half the world’s people live in cities. By 2050 that will rise to two thirds. Cities already account for 65% of global energy demand and 70% of carbon dioxide emissions – and the numbers keep growing. If humanity wants to meet its future energy needs, stay healthy, and stop catastrophic climate change, the battle begins and ends in our urban centres.
For the first time, privately-produced renewable energy resource data is available for download to all for free. This past May, IRENA’s Global Atlas for Renewable Energy unveiled a new feature that allows users to download renewable resource data from selected datasets for offline analysis. Up to now, only data from selected publicly-funded sources was available. This has changed now that Vaisala, a global leader in environmental and industrial measurement, has made its average annual data on solar irradiation and wind speeds available for download through the Global Atlas. This capability gives developers, policy makers, and researchers access to globally consistent resource data that can be used in setting policy and performing initial project planning and prospecting.
Technological development in renewable energy gives hope for a future where energy demand can be met sustainably. And while there are still some challenges in getting renewables on the electrical grid, using renewable energy for transport is even more complex.
The transport sector makes up 30 per cent of global energy consumption and its energy use is expected to grow one per cent every year till 2030. With the lowest renewable energy share of any sector, and making up 25 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions (a figure expected to rise to over a third by 2030), there is a growing urgency in finding ways to supply the energy we need to get around, in a sustainable manner. This challenge is the focus of a newly released IRENA working paper that lays out a renewable route to a more sustainable transport future.
Since winning the bid to host the International Renewable Energy Agency in 2009, the United Arab Emirates has been a strong supporter of the Agency and has made considerable strides in achieving domestic renewable energy ambitions. The UAE is actively pursuing the development and deployment of renewables, and an IRENA REmap assessment (PDF) suggests the country could save billions of dollars annually by switching from fossil fuels to renewables.
On 1 August 2016, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visited IRENA’s headquarters to show his support for the agency and engage with IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin on the Agency’s achievements. Continue reading IRENA Director-General Meets with UAE Vice President→
Creating a sustainable future is the responsibility of all countries, and that includes allocating a greater share of the world’s energy mix to renewables. A new IRENA report, Renewable Energy Prospects: Dominican Republic, finds the Dominican Republic could by 2030 increase its share of modern renewable energy from 9 to 27%, and its share of renewable electricity generation from 12 to 44%, by adopting a series of recommendations.
It’s been a long and exciting journey but after more than 16 months, of which over 500 hours were spent in the air, Solar Impulse 2 has ended its around the world trip, landing safely in Abu Dhabi.
“This tremendous feat is another proofpoint that we have entered a period of remarkable growth for renewable energy,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA, of Solar Impulse 2’s landing at UAE’s Al Bateen airport. “This remarkable achievement is not only a technological breakthrough but also a clear signal that the age of renewable power is here to stay.” Continue reading Journey’s End: Solar Impulse Lands in Abu Dhabi→
IRENA and the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Sustainable Energy Marketplace for Latin America and the Caribbean, have announced a $300,000 technical assistance award to advance the development of six renewable energy projects across Latin America and the Caribbean.
The projects — based in Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, and Mexico — cover a range of areas including solar, wind, and carbon management. “The Sustainable Energy Marketplace supports projects at different stages of development. Through the project development support and the work with IDB, this platform will create a bigger, more liquid market for renewable energy projects that will eventually improve access to sustainable and reliable energy in a financially sustainable manner,” said Henning Wuester, Director of IRENA’s Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre. Continue reading IRENA and the Inter-American Development Bank Award Support to Renewable Energy Project Development→
Access to electricity in remote and rural areas is necessary to combat poverty and meet the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals. Roughly 15% of the world’s population lives without electricity and many more with unreliable access. Off-grid renewable energy solutions are a cost-effective, environmentally-sustainable and scalable option to expand access to electricity to reach unconnected areas.
Energy ministers of the G20 and representatives of key intergovernmental organisations, including IRENA, recently met to discuss the G20 energy agenda including the progress that has been made since last October’s adoption of the IRENA-led G20 Toolkit of Voluntary Options for Renewable Energy Deployment — aimed at accelerating the adoption of renewable energy globally.
“Renewable energy offers a technical solution to energy access that meets multiple development goals and does it sustainably and in a climate-friendly way,” said Sakari Oksanen, IRENA Deputy Director-General, speaking at the G20 event in Beijing, China.
We all know that solar power offers myriad health and environmental benefits over traditional energy sources — including reduced emissions and improved air quality — but the social benefits it offers are perhaps less well known. A new paper from IRENA, launched today at InterSolar Europe in Munich, highlights the way solar technology is being used to power food production and empower communities to escape poverty.