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© International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, is heading the German delegation at the eighth Assembly of the members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

“If we want to meet our long-term climate change mitigation goals, we need to use renewable energy across all sectors, not least in the transport and buildings sector. Renewables need a stable legal framework so that the private sector will invest. IRENA plays a leading role in supporting the global energy transition. In countries like China, this isn’t just about combating climate change, it’s also about clean air,” stressed State Secretary Baake.

The main focus of the eighth IRENA Assembly is on the contributions made by renewables to the global energy transition. The agenda includes issues like renewables and the energy transition, geothermal energy and a strategic debate on nationally determined contributions (NDCs) towards mitigating climate change in the context of the Paris climate accord. Two high-level ministerial discussions on “Accelerating the global energy transformation: scaling up of renewable energy investment” and “Innovation for the energy transformation: E-mobility” include private-sector participants.

Also, this year’s session aims to adopt decisions on the programme of work and the budget for 2018/19, the strategic direction of IRENA in the next five years and the medium-term strategy 2018-2022. This further strengthens IRENA as an international organisation and as the “voice” of renewables. The Agency aims to be a centre of excellence for renewables. It has developed analytical tools to attain the UN goal of ensuring that everyone has access to sustainable energy by 2030 in the form of its Renewable Energy Roadmap 2030 (REMAP 2030), the cost study and the Global Wind and Solar Atlas. Germany will help implement the roadmap.

At the same time, IRENA is the platform for cooperation in the field of renewables. It is where the nations come together to promote effective and efficient funding instruments. IRENA mobilises support for developing countries, e.g. via the Global Renewable Energy Islands Network and via capacity building in Africa and the Pacific. It also provides advice for member states by counselling governments on the design of their policies for renewable energy.

The annual IRENA Assembly is the decision-making body for all the (currently 154) IRENA members (153 countries plus the EU), deciding on the future direction of the programme and on the budget. No other international organisation has expanded more quickly than IRENA in the last 100 years. This is down to the work by Director-General Adnan Z. Amin from Kenya, who has been successfully heading the IRENA secretariat since 2011. IRENA was established in Bonn in January 2009. With an envisaged staff of 90, IRENA will mainly continue the work begun in 2011 and concentrate on stimulating the sharing of expertise, analysing scenarios, potential and technology costs, and offering policy advice. IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre (IITC) in Bonn, which has been in operation since April 2011 and was ceremonially opened on 6 October 2011, and which Germany provides with around US$5 million a year in funding, plays a major part in the organisation’s work.

On the margins of the conference, State Secretary Baake is meeting with various ministers and heads of delegation, including the representatives of the United States and Morocco. Following the IRENA Assembly, State Secretary Baake will be attending the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi and bilateral events with the UAE in the context of the German-Emirates energy partnership.