IRENA Eleventh Assembly Live Day 2

19 January 2021| Articles

Watch on demand: Assembly Day 2

National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition

Scaling up Finance for Renewables

Almost 2000 delegates from more than 150 governments, the private sector and civil society gathered virtually to discuss key issues in the global energy transformation and chart the way forward for the Agency against a backdrop of the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

All recorded Member statements can be found on IRENA YouTube channel.

See the  Full Programme


"Renewables are not only a solution to the environmental concern but a good investment", said H.E. Mr Gabriel Quijandría in his final recap of this session. These words summarize today's session perfectly. 


Ms Aida Sitdikova, Director, Energy Eurasia, Sustainable Infrastructure Group, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said that everything bank does is based on three main principles: green, digital and inclusive. "Our policy is conducted with governments, our investment is increasingly in the private sector," she stated. As a development bank we provide money but also help the private and public sector come together to deliver this major public good, she added. She continued talking about inclusion and the believe in shifting the mindset  and behaviours. Renewables need to be put in socio-economic context, clean energy deployment creates jobs and improves welfare. Clean energy solution will require innovative solution and broad participation, she concluded. 


The discussion on scaling up investment in renewable energy continues. The panellists are sharing lessons learn form renewable projects implemented in their regions, and calling for working together  on project facilitation, bringing projects to bankable and facilitating matchmaking projects with appropriate investors.  



Dr Kevin Kariuki, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, African Development Bank (AfDB) has had the pleasure of collaborating with IRENA on increasing renewables generation in Africa. AfDB supports establishing the environment fit for renewables investment in the continent. There is a need for well-designed public-private partnership, with transparent procurement process, he added. The more credible and transparent the procurement process, the more trust project developers have in the market, the lower the electricity tariff. In consequence, renewables can be deployed at scale.

Dr Joachim von Amsberg, Vice President, Policy and Strategy, Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) stated that the agenda we're discussing right now could determine how we move forward with the energy transformation. For AIIB, that serves to fund the infrastructures of tomorrow, green infrastructures are very much in our area of work. AIIB works on gathering new capital sources, and direct them to innovative projects. AIIB has financed renewables projects in Asia and Africa. With increasing market demand, we see challenges, including risks mitigation in projects, and we developed tools to mitigate those risks with governments. What we need from governments among others is regulatory framework to level the playing field in renewables market. AIIB relies on the collaboration with organisations such as IRENA to tap into bankable renewables projects, and is keen to contribute further to the global energy transformation efforts.

Mr. Csaba Kandrács, the Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Hungary: “Central banks cannot act in isolation. Credible, predictable and effective public policies that enable project development is needed. However, the key dilemma is to create stable and predictable policy framework while promoting market competition.”


Mr Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO, MASDAR said: “To invest and advance the development of sustainable energy Masdar has supported the UAE to source 50% of its energy mix from renewables by 2050. By going beyond our borders we have also scaled up investments across the entire renewable energy spectrum. We are now present in more than 30 countries, investing or committing to projects worth more than 20 billion USD. By supporting governments to cut red tape and make financing more accessible, IRENA is already making huge impact. For example, IRENA recently launched its Climate Investment Platform promoting the transparency that is required to attract investments. We have the opportunity to build on initiatives like these to bring in investors to mitigate the funding shortfalls to ensure that the path to a sustainable future remains intact.”



Ms Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director General for International Partnerships, European Union said that the EU is leading the way with commitment and ground breaking energy and climate framework. "We are determined to inspire and support others in this shared journey of energy transformation," she stated.

EU is increasing its ambitions in development funding by putting sustainable energy at the heart of our joint action with member states in Europe,. “One thing is very clear. Business as usual will not be enough to meet increasingly energy demand and to address the climate emergency,” she said. "We look forward to building back better and greener post COVID-19, together with IRENA, members, and partners," she concluded.


Mr Dinesh Jagdale, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India said that his country has become one of the most attractive destinations for renewables investment. The government has established financial schemes to advance renewables which includes rooftop solar and agricultural funds for bioenergy. Additionally, India decided to pursue a clear roadmap for off-shore renewable energy resources and green hydrogen. "What our government feels is that we need to use public fund to leverage private capital, both from domestic and foreign sources. We need to take advantage from technologies that can help us scale up renewables, and investment is needed for that area as well," he concluded. 

“This year is the turning point – we can accelerate on a path that was already there,” said Mr La Camera.
Read more in the National

H.E. Mr Chems Eddine Chitour, Minister of Energy, Algeria said: “Climate change is a worldwide responsibility. Fossil fuels should remain underground in order to respect the climate agreement. We need to work together with reliable partners to achieve our goals and Algeria is ready and available to lend its support.”


H.E. Ms Hala Adel Al-Zawati, Minister of Energy, Jordan highlights that Jordan has moved from near zero renewables in 2012 to 20 per cent renewables in 2020. “The most important thing has been the will,” she said noting the country had, until then relied entirely on energy imports. “This was the first time we had an energy resource produced locally here in Jordan.”

In her closing remarks to the Ministerial on National Energy Planning, Ms. Gauri Singh IRENA Deputy Director General said: “The Ministerial session today, highlighted the role of renewable energy in accelerating the energy transition. Ministers and high-level representatives from our partner organisations emphasised that 2021 will be critical for climate action and for the recovery from the pandemic. Today’s meeting also highlighted how steps are being taken for the energy transition and is helping them overcome their energy challenges.” The meeting has been adjourned.


Moderating the panel discussion H.E. Mr Gabriel Quijandría, Minister of Environment, Peru said: “we must see investments in renewables not only for the sake of the environment but also as a financial opportunity that perfectly matches our environmental concerns. Together, the 16 speakers today, represent the full spectrum of stakeholders that can scale-up renewables.”

H.E. Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, in the UAE says that while the pandemic has slowed renewables development around the world, the UAE remained on track in 2020, awarding the contract for the 2GW solar park in Abu Dhabi at a world record low 1.35 cents per kWh. “We continue to reinforce the role of the green economy and we hope our experience can serve as source of inspiration for other nations to follow.”



In his Opening Remarks, Francesco la Camera, IRENA Director-General, mentioned IRENA’s recent report Global Landscape of Renewable Energy Finance findings. Global investments in renewable energy have risen steadily in the past years, but they remain far below the required levels. From about 300 billion US dollars globally in recent years, annual investments in renewables must triple to 800 billion US dollars by 2050 to realise the economic and social resilience, aligned with climate science, he noted.

"Channelling such level of investments to energy transitions requires a steady pipeline of investor-ready and scalable renewable projects", he added. He progressed outlining how IRENA is committed to provide targeted, demand driven and comprehensive support to Members to speed up building project pipelines and to facilitate access to finance through the Climate Investment Platform (CIP) initiative, led by IRENA, UNDP and SEforALL, in close cooperation with the Green Climate Fund.

This Ministerial plenary meeting on Scaling up Finance for Renewables has just started. This session will address both policy and finance aspects of channeling investments to the renewable energy sector and achieving a steady pipeline of investor-ready and scalable projects. In addition to Ministers and Heads of Delegation, the meeting will bring together policy makers, leading experts from public and private finance institutions and industry to discuss how to make use of the opportunities that the rapidly evolving renewable energy sector offers.

As the Ministerial on the National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition continues (watch here),  we will soon open the live stream of the Ministerial on Scaling up Finance for Renewables. 

Mr. Ben Backwell, Chief Executive Officer, Global Wind Energy Council remarked how wind energy industry has been exceptionally resilient during the pandemic, with increasing installations and ongoing creation of jobs. Yet, he underlined, we are far from where we should be in years to come to follow IRENA's recommended scenario not to fall behind. Therefore, ramping up is crucial and additional annual investments need to be increased to triple direct and indirect jobs as a result. The major issue is not the lack of money to invest, it is the lack of clarity of country targets by 2030, planning systems not fit for purpose and market systems not yet incentivizing renewables deployment in the levels required.  

A statement on national energy planning from H.E. Mr. Flavien Joubert, Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Seychelles

Dr. Marit Brommer, Executive Director, International Geothermal Association praises Members who have embraced geothermal energy even in the midst of the pandemic. She outlined three fundamental things to work on to build the technical roadmaps to make geothermal more wide-spread: scalability, affordability and driving down costs, and finally sustainability of geothermal energy.

Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director, ASEAN Center for Energy outlined that as representative of energy in Southeast Asia, ACE is committed to align regional renewables target with global goals, that are the Sustainable Development Agenda, and the Paris Agreement. Regional energy cooperation continues to advance in ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation, which puts an emphases on sustainability, affordability and availability. We are adopting a low carbon pathway adopted in diverse sectors. Energy climate nexus that includes the promotion of energy efficiency in buildings and transport has been endorsed by ASEAN Ministers. "We are also pushing the renewables share target to 23% by 2025, through efforts to increase rural electricity," he concluded. We commit to continue working with IRENA, especially on the ASEAN REmap.

During Member Interventions, Mr. Alfonso Blanco Bonilla, Executive Secretary, Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) said: “There are warning signs regarding the progress of the energy transition in Latin America. I am convinced that it is highly necessary to strengthen planning capacities in the energy sector to design policies in the short-, medium- and long-term to combat the impacts that the pandemic can have on the energy transition around the world." He continued stressing that we have to look beyond the larger scale of power generation and consider digitliastion and energy storage that could have direct impact on people's lives. He reassured that countries in Latin America have unanimously agreed to support renewable energy and the energy transition.


Offering his concluding remarks on the panel discussion, Achim Steiner, UNDP said that a future depending on fossil fuels is coming to an end. “We should gain courage to use the development crisis of the pandemic to move in the right direction." he concluded.

The floor is now open to interventions. Members share their experience at country level and hopes for fast advancement in renewable energy deployment globally in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. They agree that transition to green energy has remained of upmost importance. Explore IRENA report on the Post-COVID Recovery: an agenda for resilience, development and equality.


Watch the statement by H.E. Mr Arifin Tasrif, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia: 


We are living in challenging times, says Pablo Vieira, Executive Director, NDC Partnership. “Most the countries we currently support are experiencing health, economic and budgetary crises. But the climate crisis has not gone away and many of these countries have been planning for more ambitious climate action through NDCs despite being challenged by immediate priorities.” Mr. Vieira notes the inputs from IRENA and UNDP with financial, technical and knowledge-based support to enhance NDC packages. “Through the climate enhance package the NDC partnership is supporting 65 countries update NDCs.” He notes that IRENA is engaged in many ways including the development of project pipelines and organizing investment forums, while also building lasting in country capacity.



H.E. Mr. Lars Andreas Lunde, State Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Norway said it is important that in the economic stimulus packages that countries are coming up with, will help bring us out of the crisis but also prepare us for a better, cleaner and more resilient post COVID-19 world. "It is time to look at the opportunities presented to us by the energy transition and clean, renewable energy technologies,” he concluded.


Pietro Benassi, Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister, Italy underlined the important role of IRENA in promoting innovation to advance deployment of renewable energy. Italy calls upon countries to accelerate efforts in addressing the climate challenge through energy transition.


Mr. Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India said “We plan to meet a large part of our growing demand from green electricity. We recognize that our strategies will need to be flexible to accommodate new technologies such as green hydrogen and storage." He elaborated on country's dependency on coal saying that coal remains important to meet the country's growing energy demand and is likely to remain essential for quite some time. However, the country is actively focused on increasing its efforts on renewable energy deployment to tackle climate change.

H.E. Mr David Tvalabeishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Georgia spoke of the need to meet growing energy demand in Georgia. The country is developing additional power generation from renewable energy and looking to improve energy efficiency though implementation of relevant legislation.


Dr Gloria Magombo Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Zimbabwe outlined the country's plans for renewable electricity, and in particular an increase of energy access in rural communities through an implementation of a rural energy master plan which is set to achieve universal access to energy by 2030. Among further mitigation measures, Dr Magombo mentioned solar PV at utility level, solar water pumping, e-mobility and waste management. She indicated that cooperation with IRENA to date has been successful and the country is ready to work together with various partners to obtain funding and find investors in projects in the country.

Find out more about IRENA's project facilitation work, including matching investors with projects under IRENA for CIP initiative.

H.E. Mr Omar Pagannini, Minister of Energy, Uruguay: “We are making the most out of our existing momentum to deploy green energy. We believe that the decarbonisation of our economy is a realistic goal.”


Ms Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP said that even with the net zero ambition today, we are no where near our target to keep our Paris Agreement. This is where renewables can play a key role, filling the gap needed to decarbonise different sectors. The main thing is to make renewable energy and energy efficiency the main drivers of our economic activities, she outlined.

"Promises of net-zero are very powerful and very strong," she stated. Yet, they cannot be fulfilled unless we act upon them, she explained. "The plan is the NDCs and it has now to be prepared, funded, submitted and implemented," she continued. "Change is possible and we need more action (...) what we're doing globally is not enough. We need to start implementing now," she concluded with a strong call to action reaffirming UNEP's commitment to work with all parties and with IRENA to advance renewables at an accelerated pace.


H.E. Mr Loknath Sharma, Minister of Economic Affairs, Bhutan says Bhutan has committed to remain carbon neutral. He outlines that there is a constitutional mandated to ensure emissions do not exceed the sequestration of our forests. Speaking to his country’s plans for a more diversified national energy mix, he said: “We have realised the energy mix is very important as hydropower resources dwindle depending on the season and the conditions. If energy security is a must, we cannot rely on hydropower. We have alternate renewable energy policies and the IRENA renewables readiness report has supported the development of a more diversified energy plan.”



H.E. Ms. Miriam Dalli, Minister of Energy, Malta outlined Malta's drive for implementation renewable energy on the island due to the benefits renewables bring. Sustainable economic growth and security of supply are of upmost importance and renewables can ensure both. Therefore, the country is looking to ramp up investment in off-shore wind and in batter storage going forward. Referring to climate change mitigation, she added "it is a global challenge that requires consolidated global effort".

“The transition towards renewables is a pivot point for our economies and not just for our climate,” says UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner – moderator of the ministerial round table. “Governments are sending a strong signal that is clear and unambiguous about the direction of travel.”


"Let's take action now to put the world on track for a clean and prosperous future" -  see the opening statement delivered by Rt Hon. Alok Sharma, COP26 President Designate:


In opening keynote remarks for, Ms Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC says while emission reductions in 2020 were the largest on record, the rebound expected in 2021 threatens gains. In financial terms she says, despite the progress made as a result of lock downs in 2020, we remain ‘close to default’ on our emissions debt. She continued: “That is why 2021 is so important. What we do over the coming months will be decisive to our future.” She underlined that the investment in energy system fit for XXI century could push jobs to 42 million resulting in tremendous economic growth, as per IRENA's analysis


See the scene-setting video for this session: 


Mr Gjergji Simaku, Albania, the Vice President of the 11th Assembly opened the session welcoming this session's participants.

IRENA Director-General, Francesco La Camera, delivered the Opening Remarks. “National energy planning is key for providing a framework for improved NDCs,” he said. Together with “quantified targets and backed by enabling policies and regulatory frameworks, NDCs can accelerate action by providing a direction of travel and providing signals to the market."

He continued assuring the Members that IRENA stands ready to continue to work with all of you in this area. He outlined the current partnerships, Climate Promise with UNDP and other partners, the NDC Partnership and regional NDC hubs which enabled IRENA to engage with almost 70 countries across the world contributing to their efforts in enhancing and implementing the energy component of the NDCs. He added that IRENA has also long been working with its Members to improve the energy planning practices, including through capacity building initiatives as well the Long-Term Energy Scenario Network.


The first Ministerial of the day is about to start. The discussion will focus around the theme of the National Energy Planning and Implementation for Fostering Energy Transition. This session will provide an opportunity to showcase the emerging experience in reinforcing energy planning and implementation at the national level and aligning that to global climate action and goals through NDCs.

The session will facilitate a dialogue among IRENA’s Membership and international partners on climate action from the perspective of accelerated energy transition and faster deployment of renewable energy. Ministers and key partners will be able to illustrate national priorities in terms of energy transition and climate action in their respective countries, while sharing national experiences and best practices in the context of energy component of NDCs to inform the way forward.


The first day of the Eleventh Assembly, World Energy Transition Day, featured an Opening session, followed by a High-level Panel on Energy Transition for Sustainable Post-COVID Recovery. See the blog from the sessions.

In addition, Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General, presented the Annual Report on the Implementation of the Work Programme and Budget and opened the floor for Member Interventions. The real-time account of the session is accessible on the blog. The recorded Member statements can be found on IRENA YouTube channel.