Category Archives: Publications

Biogas Cost Reductions to Boost Sustainable Transport

While most people will identify electric vehicles as a sustainable form of transport, particularly when paired with renewable electricity generation, biogas also holds great potential to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector.

“In the global pursuit for sustainable transport, biogas represents a great opportunity for countries to address climate change while harnessing local economic benefits in the rural sector and tackling environmental challenges such as waste management,” says Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre, about the release of IRENA’s latest addition to its sustainable transport series, Biogas for Road Vehicles.

IRENA’s newest technology brief highlights the process and technology status of biogas and provides insight to policy makers that want to include it in their plans for sustainable transport. Continue reading Biogas Cost Reductions to Boost Sustainable Transport

Developing Bankable Woody Biomass Projects

Bioenergy, renewable energy derived from biological sources, today accounts for as much as three-quarters of total final renewable energy use — making it by far the most widely used renewable energy source worldwide. IRENA estimates that to meet international climate change targets, the share of renewable energy will need to be doubled by 2030, and bioenergy can account for around half of that.

Falling costs and favourable policies have resulted in a dramatic rise in installed generation capacity worldwide, but the deployment of renewables is at times still stalled by projects that do not meet the specific standards required to obtain the necessary financial support. To support the successful development of woody biomass projects, IRENA has launched new technical guidelines on Woody Biomass, as part of its online Project Navigator platform. Just as the utility-scale solar PV guidelines, released last October, the newly released guidelines describe in nine stages what is needed to plan, establish, operate, and decommission a bankable woody biomass project. Continue reading Developing Bankable Woody Biomass Projects

Enabling Variable Renewables and Driving Down Emissions, with Electric Vehicles

At a media frenzied event last March, electric car manufacturer, Tesla, unveiled its Model 3. Priced to compete with conventional fossil-fuelled vehicles, it attracted over 325,000 reservations within a week.  The hype built around this vehicle, and several other fast and slick electric cars, is but a symptom of a much larger and growing movement across the motor vehicle industry, to cut the transport sector’s oil addiction and switch to electric power.

Globally the stock of electric vehicles is on the rise, and in 2015 more than one million electric vehicles were on the road. That number grew to more than two million in 2016, with China, the US, and several European countries leading the way in uptake. Continue reading Enabling Variable Renewables and Driving Down Emissions, with Electric Vehicles

Sustainable Flight with Biofuels

If the aviation sector were a country, it would be the eighth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world — using planes and helicopters to move people and cargo around the world produces around two percent of the world’s planet warming gases. In 2010, carbon dioxide (CO­2) emissions, the  primary contributor of human-caused climate change, from international aviation amounted to 448 megatonnes (Mt). The International Civil Aviation Organisation has forecasted that CO2 emissions from the aviation sector will increase to the range of 682 Mt to 755 Mt by 2020, and could even be as high as 2,700 Mt by 2050, a six-fold increase from 2010 levels, if nothing is done about it.

So what can be done? What’s the environmentally responsible solution for aviation, and how can emissions be reduced, short of removing planes from the skies? Continue reading Sustainable Flight with Biofuels

Planning for Solar and Wind

Spurred by ambitious national commitments, international agreements and rapid technological progress, governments are increasingly choosing renewable energy to expand their countries’ power infrastructures. In 2014, renewables provided 23% of power generation worldwide, and with the adoption of more ambitious plans and policies, this could reach 45% by 2030.

Amid this accelerating transition, the variability of solar and wind energy — two key sources for renewable power generation — presents new challenges. It also raises questions, like ‘How do you power a country when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining?’ and ‘How does variable power fit with the delivery of reliable electricity?’

Continue reading Planning for Solar and Wind

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

Latin America’s Renewable Energy Market Analysis

Covering the surface area of China and the USA combined and home to around 600 million people, Latin America is rich in resources. While its minerals, metals, and fossil fuels have traditionally drawn investment, energy security concerns, technological advances and the growing threat of climate change have now brought the region’s enormous renewable energy potential to the forefront.

A new IRENA report, Renewable Energy Market Analysis: Latin America, highlights Latin America’s success with renewables, the region’s emerging trends and valuable insights for other countries. Continue reading Latin America’s Renewable Energy Market Analysis