Category Archives: Publications

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

A Gale of Innovation: the future of offshore wind

In 2002, Denmark commissioned the world’s first commercial-scale offshore wind power plant. With an installed capacity of 160 megawatts (MW), the Horns Rev plant set the stage for a storm of ever growing farms with larger turbines; by the end of 2015 there was 13 gigawatts (GW) of installed offshore wind capacity in the world. And while most offshore plants are located in Europe, innovations are positioning the technology to become a leading global power generator in the future.

IRENA’s latest report Innovation Outlook: Offshore Wind, released today at the 15th World Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition in Tokyo, anticipates that offshore wind capacity could grow from 13 GW in 2015 to 400 GW by 2045. Continue reading A Gale of Innovation: the future of offshore wind

Looking Ahead with Advanced Biofuels

Today’s modern world is one defined by mobility. From people commuting across a city for work or traversing the globe for an annual holiday, to industries shipping raw materials and final products, transportation is at the core of so many things we do. Unfortunately this freedom relies on a transport sector that accounts for around a third of the world’s energy use, half of its oil consumption and a fifth of its greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve the goal of reducing global CO­2 emissions and adverting irreversible climate change, the world must look to a host of sustainable transport options, including advanced liquid biofuels — fuels derived from feedstocks as agriculture residues, woody material and algae — to provide a practical fossil fuel alternative for powering airplanes, ships, and heavy freight trucks.

IRENA’s latest report, Innovation Outlook: Advanced Liquid Biofuels, the second in the Innovation Outlook series which includes a renewable mini-grid report and a offshore wind power report, reveals a future global outlook for advanced liquid biofuel technology. It provides a detailed overview of the promising technological developments for commercialised advanced biofuel production to the year 2045. Continue reading Looking Ahead with Advanced Biofuels

Living Sustainably: Future Renewable Cities

For millennia, the vast majority of the world’s population lived in the countryside. But with the onset of the agricultural and industrial revolution in the early 19th Century, technological and societal changes encouraged increased urbanisation. Fast forward to today and more than 54% of the world’s population lives in cities — a situation that brings both good and bad. One of the most pressing challenges is making sure that cities, which represents 65% of global energy demand and produce 70% of CO­2 emissions, are economically and environmentally sustainable.

To address the challenges and opportunities inherent in creating sustainable cities, the United Nations organises every 20 years a Conference of Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, known as ‘Habitat’. This year Habitat III, the third summit of its kind, convenes from 17 to 20 October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador. The conference aims to adopt a “New Urban Agenda” that will lay the future groundwork for policies and approaches to sustainable development for cities around the world. Continue reading Living Sustainably: Future Renewable Cities

Solving the Energy Access Problem with Renewable Mini-Grids

Until recently, renewable-powered mini-grids were viewed as capable of delivering only basic energy services – for single houses or small communities – but recent technological innovations are changing that perception. Increasingly, renewable energy mini-grids offer a means to meet much larger power needs, including for industry.

Since 1990 energy access has improved and nearly two billion more people have gained access. However, more than a billion people still lack electricity access and another billion have only an unreliable supply. To achieve universal electricity access by 2030, the pace of expansion needs to at least double, and estimates suggest that off-grid solutions will provide roughly 60 per cent of the additional generation needed. Continue reading Solving the Energy Access Problem with Renewable Mini-Grids

Renewables for Growing Food and for Growing the Economy

Agriculture and related agri-food activities are at the heart of the rural economy, with a large percentage of households employed in harvesting, agro-processing, transporting and selling produce. Yet, rural communities often struggle with the lack of access and affordability of resources, and they can be limited to producing low-quality goods with little variety. This traps rural economies in poverty.

Affordable energy services were recognized as essential ingredients of economic development in the Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty. More recently, access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy has been included as one of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Increasing access to cost-effective and environmentally sustainable energy services can have a broader development impact through better livelihoods, improved health, gender equality and enhanced education..

Released this weekend at the International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition, IRENA’s first interactive digital publication, Renewable Energy Benefits: Decentralised Solutions in the Agri-food Chain, highlights the socio-economic benefits of using decentralised renewable energy to deliver energy for activities in the agri-food chain in rural areas. Continue reading Renewables for Growing Food and for Growing the Economy

A Renewable Future for Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is growing fast — its population is expected to grow from around 615 million in 2014 to over 715 million by 2025, and its economies at a rate of five per cent per year. All of this growth is expected to fuel a four per cent annual growth in energy demand, raising the region’s share to over 7.5 per cent of the world’s total.

To meet this growing energy demand in a sustainable manner, last October, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) set an aspirational target of supplying 23 per cent of its total primary energy from modern renewable sources by 2025. With its current set of policies, the region is on path to only reach a 17 per cent share by that time — six percentage points short of the target.

Today, during the 34th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting being held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, IRENA and the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) are previewing a study, Renewable Energy Outlook for ASEAN — a REmap analysis, showcasing technological and sectorial renewable energy deployment options that can help ASEAN countries achieve their target by 2025. The study will be released publically later this year.

Continue reading A Renewable Future for Southeast Asia

Renewable Energy Investment at Global Green Growth Week 2016

A growing public resolve to tackle climate change, and record-low prices for solar and wind technology, means that the deployment of renewable energy can and must be accelerated. Achieving this will require funding to be dramatically scaled up from current levels. This week at the Global Green Growth Week 2016, IRENA hosted a side event ‘Unlocking Renewable Energy Investment: the Role of Risk Mitigation and Structured Finance’ to share its findings on how best to increase renewable energy investment.

“More investment in renewables is needed if countries hope to meet their decarbonisation commitments while also reaching their growth and development aspirations,” says Henning Wuester, Director of IRENA’s Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre. “At this year’s Global Green Growth Week, we presented our findings and recommendations for governments and public finance institutions to help mobilize private investment in renewable energy,” Wuester added.

Continue reading Renewable Energy Investment at Global Green Growth Week 2016

Laying the Route to Sustainable Transport

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.

Continue reading Laying the Route to Sustainable Transport

Dominican Republic’s Roadmap to a Renewable Future

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.

Situated on the tropical island of Hispaniola, in the heart of Caribbean, the Dominican Republic’s shining sun and gentle winds, provides its 10 million inhabitants with rich opportunities for renewable energy generation. Continue reading Dominican Republic’s Roadmap to a Renewable Future