One theme kept recurring throughout IRENA’s work in the first half of 2018: A fast-moving global energy transformation is underway - driven by technological innovation, dramatic cost declines, positive socio-economic benefits and the imperative to decarbonise our economies.
Together with the World Bank, WHO, UN Statistics, and IEA, IRENA released the Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report, the most comprehensive review of the world’s progress towards targets on universal energy access, clean cooking, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Despite progress overall, renewable energy consumption - especially in the heating and cooling and transportation sectors - remains low
The need to scale-up action also emerged as a major theme of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue in April. Drawing on the findings of IRENA’s new 2050 Roadmap in his keynote, the IRENA Director-General pointed out that to meet the objective of the Paris Agreement “renewables would have to be scaled up at least six times faster than in recent years”. Pinpointing to the socio-economic benefits, IRENA’s Roadmap to 2015 report also finds that with the shift to renewable energy and energy global economy would grow by one per cent – leading to a cumulative gain of up to USD 52 trillion by 2050.
Promising new jobs data is fuelling the business case for increasing the deployment of renewables. According to latest IRENA figures from May, the renewable energy industry created more than 500,000 new jobs globally in 2017. The total number of people employed in the sector worldwide now stands at 10.3 million, surpassing the 10 million figure for the first time.
Countries that are looking to scale up their renewable energy ambitions have been given a powerful set of new policy options in a new joint report by IRENA, IEA and REN21. Renewable Energy Policies in a Time of Transition gives policymakers a comprehensive set of policy options to support an accelerated development of renewables. In order to unleash the full potential of renewables to create jobs and support socio-economic development, IRENA and Mission Innovation agreed to work together to share knowledge and data to accelerate the clean energy transformation.
With the support of the governments of Italy and the United Arab Emirates, a new multimedia art installation by IRENA and conceptual artist Bill Fontana debuted at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. The collaboration uses art to engage a wide audience in a discussion around the importance of renewable energy in the context of climate change. Experience the artworks and launch event yourself through the below video.
Finally, IRENA Innovation Week brought together participants from ninety countries to discuss, debate and dissect the cutting edge of energy, policy and business innovations that are driving the energy transformation forward. In this way, as IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin put it, Innovation Week is a “boot camp for the army of innovators who are going to change the world.”