IRENA Highlights Renewable Energy Initiatives to Mobilize Action on Climate Change at Abu Dhabi Ascent

03 May 2014| Press Release

Africa Clean Energy Corridor and SIDS – Lighthouses initiatives top of agenda

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is advocating action oriented-initiatives to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy at the Abu Dhabi Ascent.  The high-level meeting hosted by the UAE on May 4-5 is in preparation for the September U.N. Climate Summit in New York. IRENA is highlighting its Africa Clean Energy Corridor and SIDS – Lighthouses initiatives to the governments, international organizations, and delegates from the private sector and civil society convening in Abu Dhabi to learn about and shape specific stakeholder initiatives that address climate change.

Energy accounts for over 60 percent of emissions and the transition to renewable energy offers the most cost-effective, technically proven and economic solution to reduce this.  The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) urged for a tripling or even quadrupling of the share of renewables in the energy mix by 2050 to avert catastrophic climate change.

“The climate agenda is becoming ever more prominent and the IPCC has expressed very clearly the need for the world to act quickly,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. 

“We are meeting in Abu Dhabi because we still have a choice. Decarbonizing the world’s energy mix is possible and the transition to renewable energy can also generate additional growth and employment. Action-oriented initiatives like Africa Clean Energy Corridor and SIDS – Lighthouses and the others presented here at the Abu Dhabi Ascent, show us how.”

IRENA’s Africa Clean Energy Corridor is a plan to transform the continent’s current fuel mix with hydro, geothermal, biomass, wind and solar energy projects deployed from Cairo to Cape Town.  With a regional approach, fostering international co-operation across countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa power pools, the Africa Clean Energy Corridor develops the continent’s vast energy resources, optimizing the energy mix and advancing economic prosperity. New jobs and investment opportunities will be created while fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions will be reduced.

The SIDS – Lighthouses initiative is a systematic approach for the transition to renewables in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  Renewable energy sources have been shown to be viable in small island energy systems, and some islands have become a ‘lighthouse’ for the possibilities that renewable energy offers. The deployment of renewable energy technology and efficient use of energy can, and is, having a transformational impact on SIDS energy security, employment generation and economic and social well-being.



Notes to editors:

The Africa Clean Energy Corridor will boost the deployment of renewable energy and help to meet rising African energy demand with clean, indigenous, cost-effective power by drawing on the continent’s enormous renewable energy resources and evolving power infrastructure.
As renewable power technologies decline in cost, they are increasingly competitive with fossil-fuelled power. They can be deployed rapidly to meet growing power needs, expand electricity access and fuel economic growth. Ministers from the countries of the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) and the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) endorsed the initiative at the Fourth IRENA General Assembly in January 2014.
The plan’s action agenda identifies renewable power development zones to cluster renewable plants in areas with high potential, resource planning for greater shares of renewables in the energy mix, new financing models and investment frameworks, and knowledge and capacity building.

SIDS – Lighthouses enables a systematic approach for the transition to renewables in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  Most SIDS are dependent on fossil fuels for the majority of their energy needs, especially for transport and electricity generation. Fuel imports come at great expense and crowd out vital capital and social expenditures, inhibiting economic growth, with a detrimental impact on health and the environment.
The Lighthouse initiative seeks to advance the efforts made by SIDS, individually and collectively, in the deployment of renewable energy, replicate successful examples, and accelerate action on the transition to renewables through concerted focus on key areas. By pursuing ambitious strategies on renewable energy, SIDS are not only harnessing the wealth of renewable energy resources they possess, but also demonstrating leadership in efforts on climate change.

About the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA): 

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is mandated as the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by 130 Members (129 States and the European Union). About 40 additional countries are in the accession process and actively engaged. IRENA supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. The Agency promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.

Contact information:
Timothy Hurst, Chief Communications Officer, IRENA,