martes, 27 de enero de 2009

The start of an International Agency for Renewable Energies: IRENA

On 26 January 2009, IRENA, the International Agency for Renewable Energies, has been officially launched during a Founding Conference at the World Conference Centre in Bonn, Germany. IRENA is an ambitious initiative that Germany launched with like-minded countries, especially Denmark and Spain. “Renewable energies are a key element in the supply of sustainable energy. With the foundation of an International Renewable Energy Agency we want to contribute to the sustained development of renewable energies’ vast global potential. This will also benefit those who lack access to electricity and thus are unable to use development opportunities to the same extent”, says German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the presentation brochure of IRENA.
In his opening speech, the Environment Minister of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, exposes what Irena aims, means and will do. Here are some excerpts:

“The foundation of IRENA aims to promote the expansion of renewable energies internationally.”

“The time has now come, with the founding of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), to press ahead with the expansion of renewable energies in an even more comprehensive and targeted way. IRENA is therefore:

  • An expression of our conviction that in future we can cover the main share of our energy consumption with renewable energies.
  • An expression of our awareness that renewable energies offer huge potential and that the technologies for their use are available. But also of our recognition that there are obstacles blocking the rapid expansion of renewable energies and that we have to join forces to overcome them.
  • An expression of our common commitment to international cooperation and our firm intention to develop and steer processes together. “

“There is such great potential in solar, wind and hydropower, geothermal energy and biomass that they can cover the energy needs of a global population rising to over 9 billion people. Furthermore, their use can be decentralised, thus bringing energy and development opportunities to isolated regions.”

“Due to technological advances, renewable energies are often already a competitive alternative to conventional energy sources. And what's more, technological progress means they are cheaper from year to year. Renewables are developing into an important economic sector. In 2008 over 150 billion dollars were invested in renewable energies worldwide. In Germany alone, 250,000 people already work in this sector.”

  • “IRENA will help to remove the many obstacles which up to now have delayed the rapid expansion of renewables. The market is still distorted by subsidies for conventional energies; technological know-how is inadequate, information is not always correct.
  • IRENA will give concrete advice to both industrialised and developing countries to aid their introduction of political and legal frameworks. The goal is to create the right incentives and securities for investment. This needs to be steered by governments, since a distorted market is not capable of initiating the transformation of energy systems.
  • IRENA will act as a catalyst to facilitate technology and knowledge transfer, and to support capacity building. Using positive examples, the Agency will clear away deep-rooted concerns.
  • IRENA will be an international platform for renewable energies. It will focus more resources on renewable energies than any other organisation to date. But others need not worry - there is more than enough work for everyone. IRENA will cooperate with other organisations and institutions to exploit synergies.”

“With IRENA we are laying the foundation for an energy supply which takes equal account of the three principles of sustainability – social, ecological and economic aspects.”

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