International Renewable Energy Agency

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International Renewable Energy Agency
IRENA map.svg
Formation January 26, 2009; 5 years ago (2009-01-26)
Type international organization
Legal status treaty organization
Purpose/focus promotion of renewable energy
Headquarters Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Location Abu Dhabi
Official languages English
Director-General Adnan Amin
Main organ Assembly

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was founded in 2009 to promote widespread and increased adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy.1 IRENA facilitates access to all relevant renewable energy information, including technical data. Its statute entered into force on 8 July 2010.

On June 2009, at the Preparatory Commission meeting Abu Dhabi was elected as interim headquarters of the Agency. 2 The current Director-General of IRENA is Adnan Amin, a Pakistani who was born and raised in Kenya.3


The idea to establish IRENA can be traced back to Hermann Scheer. Over the last two decades, as president of EUROSOLAR and chair of the World Council for Renewable Energy, he has constantly argued for the establishment of a political institution in the form of an international governmental organisation for renewable energy. "The long way from the initiative to the foundation of the IRENA shows that you do not only need further leading ideas but also patience and stamina for their realization." said Scheer in retrospect. Hermann Scheer held a speech during the founding conference, he said: "IRENA will push forward the global use of Renewable Energies and accelerate their introduction. Now IRENA can start its work without delay and create first structures. After 19 years of preparation we should not lose any more time." 4

In November 2003, the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) assumed a resolution 5 to support the creation of IRENA and, since then, actively promoted IRENA throughout the world, amongst governments and industry.

On June 15, at their annual event, the WWEA gave their 2010 World Wind Energy Award to the Founding member States of IRENA. They stated: ″The creation of IRENA can be seen as the most important decision ever taken on the global level in favour of renewable energy. The founding of IRENA sent out a very strong signal to the world community that renewable energy will have to play and will play a key role in the future energy supply all over the world. With the Award, WWEA would also like to indicate that WWEA is committed to work closely with IRENA and will continue to give its full support.″ 6

54 countries participated in the Preparatory Conference for the Foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency in Berlin, held on April 10 and 11, 2008. This meeting followed several other meetings since 1981 which also discussed the formation of IRENA. At Berlin, government representatives met to discuss the objectives, activities, finances, and organizational structure of IRENA. Participants expressed a need to begin a swift transition to a more secure, sustainable renewable energy economy with the assistance of an international body.7

The Founding Conference of the International Renewable Energy Agency was held in Bonn, Germany, on January 26, 2009. 75 countries signed the Agency's statute. The statute entered into force on July 8, 2010, thirty days after the twenty-fifth country deposits its instrument of ratification. The Founding Conference established the Preparatory Commission for IRENA, which consists of all signatory states.

During the first session of the Preparatory Commission in Bonn on January 27, 2009, the signatory countries adopted criteria and procedures for selecting IRENA's Interim Director-General and its interim headquarters. An Administrative Committee was created to assist the Commission in preparing its second session. The Administrative Committee prepared draft proposals for an interim work programme and budget as well as for interim staff regulations and interim financial rules.8 Nominations for the Interim Director-General and the interim headquarters were submitted by 30 April 2009.9

The second session of the Preparatory Commission met on Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, on June 29–30, 2009, to elect the Interim Director General and decide the location of IRENA's interim headquarters. It was decided, that the interim headquarters will be located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The UAE thus became the first developing country to host a major international organisation. In addition, an innovation and technology center will be located in Bonn, and an office dedicated to liaising with the United Nations and other international institutions will be located in Vienna.1011 Hélène Pelosse was elected as the Interim Director-General.12 The second session of the Preparatory Commission also adopted an interim work programme and budget as well as for interim staff regulations and interim financial rules.

The fourth session of the Preparatory Commission on 24–25 October 2010 in Abu Dhabi appointed Kenyan representative Adnan Amin, Deputy Interim Director-General, to perform functions of Interim Director-General after resignation of Hélène Pelosse.1314 On 4 April 2011, Adnan Amin was sworn in as the first Director-General.


IRENA aims to become the main driving force in promoting a transition towards the use of renewable energy on a global scale:

Acting as the global voice for renewable energies, IRENA will provide practical advice and support for both industrialised and developing countries, help them improve their regulatory frameworks and build capacity. The agency will facilitate access to all relevant information including reliable data on the potential of renewable energy, best practices, effective financial mechanisms and state-of-the-art technological expertise.

IRENA provides advice and support to governments on renewable energy policy, capacity building, and technology transfer. IRENA will also co-ordinate with existing renewable energy organizations, such as REN21.15

Renewable energy trends

Hydro-electricity and geothermal electricity produced at favourable sites are now the cheapest way to generate electricity. Renewable energy costs continue to drop, and the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) is declining for wind power, solar photovoltaic (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP) and some biomass technologies.16

Renewable energy is also the most economic solution for new grid-connected capacity in areas with good resources. As the cost of renewable power falls, the scope of economically viable applications increases. Renewable technologies are now often the most economic solution for new generating capacity. Where “oil-fired generation is the predominant power generation source (e.g. on islands, off-grid and in some countries) a lower-cost renewable solution almost always exists today”.16

As of 2012, renewable power generation technologies accounted for around half of all new power generation capacity additions globally. In 2011, additions included 41 gigawatt (GW) of new wind power capacity, 30 GW of PV, 25 GW of hydro-electricity, 6 GW of biomass, 0.5 GW of CSP, and 0.1 GW of geothermal power.16

Member states

As of June 2013, 112 States and the European Union are Members of IRENA, and 51 States are IRENA Signatories/applicants for membership. Signatories include almost all European and African countries, and also major economies such as the United States, India, Japan, and Australia.17

China has announced it will join the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), a milestone in international efforts to double the share of renewable energy worldwide by 2030.18

United Nations

Various UN organisations work in the field of renewable energy. But IRENA is the only one dedicated to the promotion of 100% renewable energy worldwide. IRENA and the UN will join forces to speed up the transformation of the global energy sector.

Hélène Pelosse, former Interim Director General of IRENA, met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during 2009 Climate week in New York, and together with Mr Ban explored future fields of cooperation between IRENA and various UN bodies. IRENA also seeks to cooperate with the UN and associated organisations like the United Nations University, UNESCO, the World Bank, GEF, UNIDO, UNDP, UNEP, and WTO in the areas of education and training, financing, access to energy, potential studies and trade.citation needed

See also


  1. ^ Official IRENA website
  2. ^ Abbas Al Lawati (2009-06-29). "UAE to host Irena HQ". Gulf News. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ The long Road to IRENA- A chronology, by Hermann Scheer
  5. ^ Resolution of the 2nd World Wind Energy Conference in Cape Town/South Africa
  6. ^ WWEA Press Release: World Wind Energy Award goes to the founding member States of IRENA
  7. ^ Time for an International Renewable Energy Agency?
  8. ^ Preparatory Commission of IRENA
  9. ^ Lily Riahi (2009-06-16). "Hans Jorgen Kock explains why IRENA is 50 times more than the IEA". Renewable Energy World. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  10. ^ Abbas Al Lawati (2009-06-29). "UAE to host Irena HQ". Gulf News. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  11. ^ "Renewable energy agency to call United Arab Emirates home". Deutsche Welle. 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  12. ^ "France's Helene Pelosse named head of Irena". Gulf News. 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  13. ^ "Irena promotes deputy Adnan Amin to replace Pelosse". ReCharge (NHST Media Group). 2010-10-26. (subscription required). Retrieved 2010-11-13. 
  14. ^ "'Fearful' Frenchwoman replaced as renewables agency chief". AFP. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  15. ^ WWEA Press Release: IRENA and REN Alliance have agreed to work together
  16. ^ a b c International Renewable Energy Agency (2012). "Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2012: An Overview". 
  17. ^ "Signatory States". International Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 2013-01-18. 
  18. ^ "China to join International Renewable Energy Agency". International Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 

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