IRENA Innovation Days: Solutions for a renewable-powered future
IRENA’s Innovation Days take place in different regions around the world and aim to connect innovators and policy makers. This series of events aims to showcase emerging innovations and inspire and inform the broader and faster uptake of innovative solutions that can help deliver a renewable-powered future. Innovation Days build on IRENA’s biennial Innovation Week events but focus on the particular needs and experiences of groups of countries. To date Innovation Days have been held in Uruguay in July 2019 and Turkey in November 2019, with new editions coming up in 2020 including IRENA Innovation Week in September 2020.
IRENA Innovation Day: Thailand, 4th September 2019
The event brought together a diverse mix of policy makers and innovative companies from ASEAN as well as from further afield and offered local and regional representatives and companies the opportunity to showcase successes, highlight challenges, learn from each other’s experience and explore how innovative solutions can help meet national energy system’s needs. For countries and companies from further afield, this event provided the opportunity to meet key local actors, to showcase work and to learn from the experience of countries in the local region.
Discussions drew on the experiences of local, regional and international governments and innovative companies as well as on the global insights captured in IRENA’s 2019 report Innovation landscape for a renewable-powered future.
The event was opened with two keynote speeches: one from Mr Kulit Sombatsiri, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy of Thailand and the second from Mr Francesco La Camera, the Director General of IRENA. While reflecting on opportunities and challenges faced by Thailand and countries in the region arisen from the energy transition, Mr Sombatsiri accentuated Thailand’s commitment during their 2019 ASEAN chairmanship by putting forward a central theme that promotes sustainability and partnerships that are enabled by digital technologies. This theme complements the ASEAN Centre for Energy orientation towards innovations and innovative solutions crucial to tackle energy challenges of the region. In response, Mr La Camera emphasised the role of IRENA in assisting countries and regions in addressing common challenges of power and end-use sectors through different means including sharing real-world examples of available innovations and innovative solutions and opportunities for their replicability for a broader and faster uptake of renewables.
Session 1: Solutions to decarbonise the road transport
Panel explored complementarities between liquid biofuels and the direct and indirect electrification of road transport, including the potential role of electric and fuel cells vehicles to decarbonise the transport industry.
Session 2: Digital solutions for renewable power
Panel explored digitalization-enabled business models for managing demand and supply and providing flexibility to the system – for example blockchain, artificial intelligence or internet of things enabled solutions such as distributed generation or flexible and smart grids.
Session 3: Solutions for energy storage
Panel explored the innovative use and integration of large- and small-scale energy storage solutions e.g. flexible-hydro, utility scale and behind the meter batteries, and other energy storage options.