IRENA paper examines rate of renewable energy integration


Commenting on the launch of the paper, Rethinking Energy 2017, Adnan Z. Amin, director general at International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said the adoption of clean energy resources has witnessed a significant growth at a global scale under efforts to meet goals set under the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The paper addresses how energy storage and smart grid solutions and business models are being used to improve the management and deployment of renewable energy resources.

Trends in renewable energy resources market

The paper analyses the current and future landscape of renewable energy market, policies, regulations and market designs impacting on the market, trends in renewable energy investments and innovations in technology.

According to IRENA, global utilities are rallying towards expanding their renewable energy portfolios to provide consumers with affordable energy, reliable and modern energy services.

An increase in clean energy usage would also help energy providers to meet carbon emission reduction targets set under national, regional and international policies.

Research by IRENA highlight that so far more than 170 countries have set renewable energy targets and nearly 150 countries established programmes to improve investments in renewable energy technologies.

Some of the findings made by IRENA highlight:

  1. One out of every five units of energy delivered to consumers comes from renewable sources.
  2. Renewables are now the first-choice option for expanding, upgrading and modernising power systems around the world due to decreases in costs of deploying RE projects.
  3. Global share for renewable energy might rise from 18.3% in 2014 to 36% by 2030 if current national, regional and international grid innovation and climate change plans are implemented.
  4. Accelerating the deployment of renewable energy will fuel economic growth, create new employment opportunities, enhance human welfare and contribute to a climate-safe future.

IRENA urges global utilities to increase deployment of energy efficiency programmes in order to achieve the 36% increase in the global renewable energy portfolio by 2030.

In addition, governments and financial institutions would also be required to increase their commitments towards the growth of the sector. At the same, utilities will also need to integrate their business models with the heating, cooling and transport sectors.

However, IRENA says it projects socio-economic benefits of deploying renewable energy programmes will go well beyond jobs. The installation of 50MW renewable energy plant and integration with grid creates 34,500 jobs per annum whilst the operation and maintenance of 50MW RE system employ 2,665 individuals per year.

The paper discusses the three manners in energy providers can measure the progress of their renewable energy projects in line with targets set under the Sustainable Development Goals.

IRENA says renewable energy projects need to be measured according to:

  •  The number of people on a grid network and using different types of energy
  •  The amount of renewable energy produced and consumed
  •  The amount invested in the deployment of renewable energy resources.


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