International Renewable Energy Agency

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International Renewable Energy Agency
International Renewable Energy Agency Logo.png
IRENA map.svg
Formation26 January 2009; 9 years ago (2009-01-26)
Typeinternational organization
Legal statustreaty organization
Purposepromotion of renewable energy
HeadquartersMasdar City, United Arab Emirates
158 states and the European Union
Adnan Z. Amin
Main organ

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organization to promote adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy. It was founded in 2009 and its statute entered into force on 8 July 2010. The agency is headquartered in Abu Dhabi.[1] The Director-General of IRENA is Adnan Amin, a national of Kenya.[2] IRENA is an official United Nations observer.[3]


The first suggestions for an international renewable agency is based on the 1980 Brandt Report activities. NGOs and industry lobbying groups like Eurosolar,[4] the World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE) and the World Wind Energy Association have promoted IRENA since several decades.[5] In 1990, the Austrian government of Franz Vranitzky suggested a reneweables agency to the UN.[6] One of the drivers was Hermann Scheer, a German politician and lobbyist which was acting as president of EUROSOLAR and chair of WCRE.[6]

On 15 June, at their annual event, the WWEA gave their 2010 World Wind Energy Award to the Founding member States of IRENA. They stated: "The creation of IRENA can be seen as the most important decision ever taken on the global level in favour of renewable energy. The founding of IRENA sent out a very strong signal to the world community that renewable energy will have to play and will play a key role in the future energy supply all over the world. With the Award, WWEA would also like to indicate that WWEA is committed to work closely with IRENA and will continue to give its full support."[7]

Since 1981, several meetings took place to discuss the formation of IRENA. The Preparatory Conference for founding IREA was held on 10 and 11 April 2008 with 54 countries participating. Here, government representatives discussed the objectives, activities, finances, and organizational structure of IRENA. Participants expressed a need to begin a swift transition to a more secure, sustainable renewable energy economy with the assistance of an international body.[8]

The Founding Conference of the International Renewable Energy Agency was held in Bonn, Germany, on 26 January 2009. 75 countries signed the Agency's statute. The statute entered into force on 8 July 2010, 30 days after the 25th country deposited its instrument of ratification. The Founding Conference established the Preparatory Commission for IRENA, which consists of all signatory states.

During the first session of the Preparatory Commission in Bonn on 27 January 2009, the signatory countries adopted criteria and procedures for selecting IRENA's Interim Director-General and its interim headquarters. An Administrative Committee was created to assist the Commission in preparing its second session. The Administrative Committee prepared draft proposals for an interim work programme and budget as well as for interim staff regulations and interim financial rules.[9] Nominations for the Interim Director-General and the interim headquarters were submitted by 30 April 2009.[10]

The second session of the Preparatory Commission met in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 29–30 June 2009, to elect the Interim Director General and decide the location of IRENA's interim headquarters. It was decided, that the interim headquarters will be located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The UAE thus became the first developing country to host a major international organisation. In addition, an innovation and technology center will be located in Bonn, and an office dedicated to liaising with the United Nations and other international institutions will be located in Vienna.[11][12] Hélène Pelosse was elected as the Interim Director-General.[13] The second session of the Preparatory Commission also adopted an interim work programme and budget as well as for interim staff regulations and interim financial rules.

The fourth session of the Preparatory Commission on 24–25 October 2010 in Abu Dhabi appointed Kenyan representative Adnan Amin, Deputy Interim Director-General, to perform functions of Interim Director-General after resignation of Hélène Pelosse.[14][15] On 4 April 2011, Adnan Amin was sworn in as the first Director-General.

The agency has staged a number of events bringing together member states for interaction on ways and means of furthering renewable energy, and conducted significant research and development into viable solutions for the future. On 8 September 2014, IRENA published a notable report on its works titled REthinking energy, which encouraged "speedier adoption of renewable energy technologies," as "the most feasible route to reduce carbon emissions and avoid catastrophic climate change." The study set out to gauge the global power sector and establish how technological advances, economic growth and climate change are transforming it. "A convergence of social, economic and environmental forces are transforming the global energy system as we know it. But if we continue on the path we are currently on and fuel our growing economies with outmoded ways of thinking and acting, we will not be able avoid the most serious impacts of climate change," Director-General Amin said at a function to release the report.[16]

The Ninth Meeting of International Renewable Energy Agency Council was held on 10–11 June 2015 at Abu Dhabi.[17]


IRENA aims to become the main driving force in promoting a transition towards the use of renewable energy on a global scale:

Acting as the global voice for renewable energies, IRENA will provide practical advice and support for both industrialised and developing countries, help them improve their regulatory frameworks and build capacity. The agency will facilitate access to all relevant information including reliable data on the potential of renewable energy, best practices, effective financial mechanisms and state-of-the-art technological expertise.

IRENA provides advice and support to governments on renewable energy policy, capacity building, and technology transfer. IRENA will also co-ordinate with existing renewable energy organizations, such as REN21.[18]

Member states[edit]

As of October 2018, 159 states and the European Union are members of IRENA, and a further 26 are in the process of accession.[19]

United Nations[edit]

Various UN organisations work in the field of renewable energy. But IRENA is the only one dedicated to the promotion of 100% renewable energy worldwide. IRENA and the UN will join forces to speed up the transformation of the global energy sector.

Hélène Pelosse, former Interim Director General of IRENA, met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during 2009 Climate week in New York City, and together with Mr Ban explored future fields of cooperation between IRENA and various UN bodies. IRENA also seeks to cooperate with the UN and associated organisations like the United Nations University, UNESCO, the World Bank, GEF, UNIDO, UNDP, UNEP, and WTO in the areas of education and training, financing, access to energy, potential studies and trade.[citation needed]


The first director-general of IRENA is the current Director General Adnan Z. Amin. He was elected to the post in April 2011. He previously spent more than 25 years in the development of international environment and sustainable development policy, and worked in political, management, and interagency coordination areas of the United Nations. He was Head of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) Secretariat.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Abbas Al Lawati (29 June 2009). "UAE to host Irena HQ". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 July 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 May 2017. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  4. ^ EUROSOLAR-Memorandum zur Einrichtung einer Internationalen Agentur für Erneuerbare Energien (IRENA)[permanent dead link], May 2001
  5. ^ "World Wind Energy Association". Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b The long Road to IRENA- A chronology, by Hermann Scheer Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "World Wind Energy Association". Archived from the original on 11 April 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Renewable Energy News". Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Preparatory Commission of IRENA". Archived from the original on 28 April 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
  10. ^ Lily Riahi (16 June 2009). "Hans Jorgen Kock explains why IRENA is 50 times more than the IEA". Renewable Energy World. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
  11. ^ Abbas Al Lawati (29 June 2009). "UAE to host Irena HQ". Gulf News. Archived from the original on 1 July 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  12. ^ "Renewable energy agency to call United Arab Emirates home". Deutsche Welle. 29 June 2009. Archived from the original on 7 July 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
  13. ^ "France's Helene Pelosse named head of Irena". Gulf News. 30 June 2009. Archived from the original on 3 July 2009. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  14. ^ "Irena promotes deputy Adnan Amin to replace Pelosse". ReCharge. NHST Media Group. 26 October 2010. (subscription required). Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  15. ^ "'Fearful' Frenchwoman replaced as renewables agency chief". AFP. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  16. ^ "Speedier adoption of renewable energy mooted to offset climate change". Abu Dhabi News.Net. 9 September 2014. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  17. ^ "India to be the Chair at 9th Meeting of IRENA at Abu Dhabi in June". 11 April 2015. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  18. ^ "World Wind Energy Association". Archived from the original on 11 April 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 January 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Global support for International Renewable Energy Agency growing fast". Big News 10 September 2014. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.

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