irenna518 January 2015: During the fifth meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly, over 1,000 representatives from 150 countries and 115 international organizations discussed ways to accelerate the growth of renewable energy, considering in particular such challenges as energy security, climate change and the future financing of the organization. The Assembly also re-appointed Adnan Amin as Director-General of IRENA.

The two-day event, held from 17-18 January 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), also included a ministerial roundtable on the power sector transformation underway, a discussion on the falling costs of renewable power generation, a programmatic discussion on off-grid renewable energy deployment, a ministerial roundtable on the importance of renewable energy in energy security, and a panel event on ‘Innovation, Technology, Business and the Future of Renewable Energy.’

The discussions highlighted that renewable energy deployment is underpinning sustainable development worldwide. Kandeh Yumkella, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary–General and chief executive of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL), spoke at the off-grid energy event, explaining that off-grid renewable energy can start providing power to people currently lacking access at a much faster rate than large fossil-fuel projects. He noted that, in the next 15 years, off-grid solutions will provide a larger share of the additional generation needed to reach universal access than conventional sources.

On Amin’s re-election, delegates from the UAE and Germany commented on the progress IRENA has achieved in the five years under Amin’s leadership. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Permanent Representative to IRENA and Director of Energy and Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted that, “IRENA has grown from a concept into the primary platform for renewable energy cooperation and analysis, positioned alongside decades-old organizations in terms of both political importance and content delivery.”

According to IRENA, since Amin’s appointment in 2011, membership has increased from 64 members with two countries in accession to 139 members (138 States and the EU) with more than 30 countries in accession. The 124 member countries in attendance at the Assembly re-appointed Amin by acclamation. His new term will run from April 2015 to April 2019.

The Assembly was convened in conjunction with Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, running 17-24 January 2015, and the World Future Energy Summit, which took place 19-22 January 2015. [IISD RS coverage of IRENA Assembly] [IRENA Press Release, Assembly Opens] [IRENA Press Release, Amin Re-Appointed] [IRENA Press Release, Electrification] [IRENA Assembly Webpage]