Article from the REN21 Newsletter – November 2011 Issue
The official opening of the IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre (IITC) in Bonn, Germany was held on the 6th and 7th of October 2011 bringing together high level officials and representatives from industry, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The IRENA IITC, under the leadership of Director Dolf Gielen, aims to create frameworks for accelerated renewable energy technology uptake tailored to specific country needs, conditions and resources. To help governments design effective technology and innovation policy, IITC will analyze technology costs and standards as well as develop scenarios and technology roadmaps. In this way, IRENA IITC will complement the work of IRENA’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The IITC has already started to analyze technology cost reduction potentials and cost indicators in its draft IRENA study – The Competitiveness of Renewable Energy Technologies. IITC Director Dolf Gielen provided an overview of the study at the IRENA workshop “Renewable Competitiveness and Innovation” on 6th October as part of the IITC inauguration. He presented the report’s methodology and noted the difficulties of getting fact-based figures and objective cost data, opening the floor for discussion and comments. Panelist Christine Lins, Executive Secretary of REN21, welcomed collaboration with IRENA, complimented its focus on indicators and mentioned the need for better cost estimates. Attended by over 100 participants, the IRENA workshop continued for the full day engaging expert input the economics of renewable energy, including the cost, benefits and competitiveness of renewable technologies, cost and benefits of system integration, and innovation for accelerated deployment.
On October 7th, IRENA held a roundtable event on a recently launched IRENA initiative – Assessing Renewable Readiness prior to the IITC opening ceremony. The project aims to develop a framework to assess country-level readiness for the deployment of renewable energy technologies. Gauri Singh, Director of Knowledge Management at IRENA, chaired the session highlighting that a holistic assessment framework does not yet exist such that renewables can be placed in the context of national policy and so that the resource endowments can be tapped systematically. REN21 offered full support to the process through the provision of data as collected throughout the year in the REN21 Renewables Interactive Map and for the REN21 Renewables Global Status Report.
The IRENA IITC was officially opened in the afternoon of 7th October in the presence of German Ministers Guido Westerwelle and Norbert Röttgen as well as Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change of the United Arab Emirates.
The IITC opening ceremony included a panel discussion entitled “Towards the Age of Renewables” moderated by REN21 chair Mohamed El-Ashry.