IRENA – studies and presentations as basis to a new paradigm

IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) wants to unleash the world’s vast renewable energy resources to make a significant contribution to the world’s growing demand for energy. It’s IRENA’s mission is to promote the widespread and increased adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy. Today  I want to highlight some of their activities to promote a shift to sustainable energy on a global level.

Prospects for the African Power Sector”  is a working paper presenting in-depth analysis about the current and future situation in Africa with regard to energy.

It is acknowledged that electricity is a prerequisite for enhancing economic activity and improving human quality of life. Agricultural and industrial production processes, households and essential facilities, such as hospitals, require electricity to operate efficiently and reliably.waterdrop.gif

It is shown that Africa currently has about 147 GW (gigawatts) of installed capacity, a level comparable to the capacity China installs in one or two years. Analysis of a range of country and regional studies suggests the continent will need to add around 250 GW  of capacity between now and 2030 to meet demand growth.

This fact offers Africa  a unique opportunity as nearly two-thirds of the additional capacity needed in 2030 has yet to be built. This is a great change to use this investment to increase the share of renewables and gives Africa the chance to become a leader of innovative energy models.

IRENA highlights two possible outcomes, depending on decisions that have to be taken now:

  • The Reference Scenario: This is a continuation of existing economic, demographic and energy sector trends and only takes into account existing policies. Universal electricity access is not achieved and access reaches only 43% in 2030.
  • The Renewable Scenario: This scenario examines the impact of policies in Africa to actively promote the transition to a renewable-based electricity system to meet the growing needs of its citizens for electricity, to boost economic development, and improve electricity access. Importantly, this scenario achieves electricity access for all by 2030 and assumes concerted government action in the area of efficiency standards and programmes.

Furthermore potentials for renewable energy are presented within this study which help decision makers to take the necessary steps towards the Renewable Scenario.photovoltaic.gif

“Power Sector Costing Study Update” was a presentation held in Abu Dhabi on January 15th 2012. The outcomes of the Power Sector Costing Study will assist governments with better decision making because currently their decisions are often based on outdated numbers and data. The cost of renewable energy has been declining over the last few years and exact data is needed to ensure wider uptake of these technologies.

IRENA thrives to become a source of:

  • objective cost data that allows cost comparisons
  • Cost/benefit analysis
  • Business perspective and macro-economic perspective

IRENA has already supplied power sector data for 2011, which will be followed by transportation data in 2012 and stationary applications data. Sources of data for this study are general information and questionnaires (12 countries to start with).

Establishing real cost for energy generated from different renewable technologies allows a better choice, safer investment and more clean energy systems in operation.

IRENA is working hard to make renewable energy the first choice by supplying hard facts that make any other decision unreasonable. This is the attitude which is needed to make renewable energy mainstream, which is what REEEP and IRENA both see as an ultimate goal.

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