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Innovation landscape for a renewable-powered future

This report maps and categorises innovative solutions to integrate renewables. It brings together insights on key innovations to facilitate higher shares of solar and wind in the power sector.

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Ce rapport est également disponible en Français.

This report is also available in Japanese (日本語版), courtesy of the Ministry of Environment of Japan. 

The integration of solar and wind power poses specific challenges as system operators pursue low-carbon investments and long-term energy sustainability. As these variable renewable energy (VRE) sources reach high shares of power generation, power systems must be increasingly flexible to maintain the balance of supply and demand over each day or year.

A large number of innovations that can be used to integrate high VRE shares are emerging and are being implemented worldwide.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has analysed the innovation landscape for VRE integration, mapping and categorising innovative solutions and on-the-ground examples. The resulting report aims to provide a structural framework to approach innovation and a guide to current innovations, either under development or already in use, in different settings across the globe.

A summary of the report is available in English, Chinese (中文) French (Français) and Spanish (Español).

See the digital story Innovation: A Game Changer for Power System Flexibility

 Innovations are emerging across four key dimensions of the world’s power systems:

  • Enabling Technologies: Technologies that play a key role in facilitating the integration of renewable energy. (See “Enabling Technologies” briefs).
  • Business models: Innovative models that create the business case for new services, enhancing the system’s flexibility and incentivising further integration of renewable energy technologies. (See “Business models” briefs).
  • Market design: New market structures and changes in the regulatory framework to encourage flexibility and value services needed in a renewable-based power energy system, stimulating new business opportunities. (See “Market Design” briefs.)
  • System operation: Innovative ways of operating the electricity system, allowing the integration of higher shares of variable renewable power generation. (See “System operation” briefs).

Explore the interactive Innovation Toolbox to mix and match 30 innovations to create solutions.