International Renewable Energy Conference
International Renewable Energy Conference is a meeting of senior-level representatives from the Executive and Legislative branches of government at the national and subnational level, international organizations, the finance and business community, and civil society who are working to advance the integration of renewable energy in their countries.
Initiated at the renewables2004 conference in Bonn, IREC is a high-level political conference series dedicated to renewable energy policy worldwide. Dedicated exclusively to the renewable energy sector, IRECs are hosted by alternate Governments every two years and convened by REN21. One of the major accomplishments of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, was the recognition that renewable energy is a critical component of sustainable development, energy security, climate change, and air quality.
Worldwide enthusiasm for renewable energy has increased dramatically since WSSD.
The Bonn Renewable Energy Conference in 2004 was the inaugural, government-hosted international conference on renewable energy. 154 countries attended the Bonn Conference, which produced 3 outcomes:
- A Political Declaration containing shared political goals for an increased role of renewable energies and reflecting a joint vision of a sustainable energy future that provides better and more equitable access to energy as well as increased energy efficiency.
- An International Action Program of voluntary commitments to goals, targets, and actions within their own spheres of responsibility from governments, international organizations, and other stakeholders.
- Policy Recommendations for Renewable Energies that can be of benefit to governments, international organizations, and stakeholders as they develop new approaches and political strategies and address the roles and responsibilities of key actors.
From 7-8 November 2005, the Beijing International Renewable Energy Conference 2005 was held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The conference called on the world to consider renewable alternatives in the era of high oil prices. The political commitment to encourage the use of fossil fuel alternatives was strengthened by the messages from the Chinese President and the General Secretary of the UN to the 1,200 representatives from more than 80 countries and regions. It is highly significant that the conference was organised by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and that the invitation was extended by the Chinese government: A developing country had taken the torch in showing the way how to considerably increase the contribution of renewable energies to a country’s development. The conference had political and technical elements, and its participants included officials from government and multilateral organisations, business, finance, industry as well as other non-government-organisations. On the basis of an assessment of the current status and future trends in renewable energy development, provided by REN21 (through its Renewables Global Status Report) and others, official delegations discussed practical measures, success stories, and effective legislative and policy measures to create institutional and technical infrastructures and make market forces work effectively. In the open sessions, participants discussed the establishment of a review process to assess the progress made towards the implementation of JPOI of WSSD and the IAP of the renewable 2004 Conference in Bonn, in order to increase the contribution of renewable energy to total energy supply. This led to a debate on international cooperation for the increase of renewable energy use, particularly in developing countries, and on how the international community, the UN system, financing institutions, and bilateral and multilateral donors may better assist developing countries in their efforts to remove barriers and strengthen national capacities. Following the Bonn conference, this conference, too, was highly successful. Political results are documented in the Beijing Declaration, which was adopted by the officials.
Like the Bonn renewables 2004 Conference, the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008), which took place from March 4-6, 2008, invited conference participants to submit voluntary pledges to advance the uptake of renewable energy in their country, region, city or through their organisation. In partnership with the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), WIREC 2008 gathered specific, policy-oriented initiatives that will significantly increase the presence of renewable energy worldwide. In addition to the ministerial meeting, a co-located Trade Show, Industry Business Conference, and official Side Events at WIREC 2008 were organized by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE). A complete list of the pledges made at WIREC 2008 may be found here and a full report of proceedings and events can be found here. WIREC 2008 was hosted by the United States government, with participation from numerous agencies, including the Departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, and Energy, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. An international platform for government, private sector, and non-governmental leaders to jointly address the goal of advancing renewable energy, WIREC 2008 was the third global ministerial-level conference on renewable energy, following events in Beijing in 2005 and Bonn in 2004. India has offered and been selected by the WIREC 2008 participants to host the next International Renewable Energy Conference in 2010. For more information on WIREC, visit www.wirec2008.gov.
The Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC 2010) took place from 27-29 October 2010, in New Delhi, India. It was the 4th IREC conference since the “renewables2004” in Bonn, Beijing 2005 and Washington 2008, and it continues to be the highest level political conference series dedicated to renewable energy policy worldwide. The president of India, Pratibha Devinsingh Patil officially opened the Delhi Conference, which convened over 13,000 delegates from 70 industrial and developing countries worldwide, with over half at ministerial level. The Political Declaration reinforces the political momentum for the deployment of Renewable Energies (RE) worldwide. As such, DIREC sent an important signal for the global mainstreaming of renewables and highlighted the significant role of renewable energy in advancing access to energy and economic development– despite the global financial crises. Also in view of the upcoming climate debate in Cancun later this year, the role of RE as core element for low-carbon, sustainable energy supply was again confirmed at DIREC. Parallel workshops were also hosted on various issues including: solar power, solar water heating systems; wind energy; biofuels, smart grid technology; and clean lighting options. In addition, a renewable energy trade expo with over 600 exhibitors showcased the latest technology. During DIREC 2010, strong pledges were announced by the Government of India (6), Germany (4), Norway (2), and Switzerland (1). Local Governments in Japan lead the way with pledges from the government of Tokyo (1) and Yokohama(1). 10 pledges were made by the private sector representing India (9), Bangladesh (1) and Nigeria (1). 7 pledges were made by non-profit organizations representing India (such as the Indian Institute of Technology, World Vision India, Himalayan Water Service), Canada (Canadian Renewable Energy Alliance), West Africa (ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) and Europe (European Renewable Energy Council).
Abu Dhabi, 17th January 2013. Over 160 countries today endorsed the growth of renewable energy in a balanced global energy portfolio and noted the leading role of the UAE and Middle East. In the Declaration of the Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference (ADIREC), ministers called for a doubling of the world’s share of renewable energy by 2030 under the leadership of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), capping off three days of discussions among government delegations, business leaders, NGOs, and international organizations. Held this year as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the world’s largest annual sustainable energy event with over 30,000 participants, ADIREC is the fifth IREC, building upon successful outcomes in Delhi in 2010 (DIREC), Washington in 2008 (WIREC), Beijing in 2005, and Bonn in 2004. ADIREC this year also complements the General Assembly of IRENA, the 159 member country organization headquartered in Abu Dhabi. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE’s Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, commented: “ADIREC and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week have brought together the world’s renewable energy leaders in Abu Dhabi, home of IRENA, to debate strategies for the rapid expansion of renewable energy globally. The events spotlight the huge transformation in both global and regional energy markets, with billions of dollars of new renewable energy projects in the Gulf alone.” The renewable energy market in the MENA region is rapidly expanding, with a diverse range of countries announcing projects and policies to harness the region’s abundance of renewable energy resources for economic growth and energy security enhancement. With its strong demographic growth, urbanization and expanding economy, as well as high temperatures, the MENA region is experiencing marked growth in energy and electricity demand, which conference participants and IRENA estimate could be met by renewable energy on a cost-competitive basis. Supporting the discussions, REN21 launched the Renewables Global Futures Report, providing a mosaic of credible renewable energy futures, as well as the Executive Summary of the MENA Renewables Status Report, which highlights the new investment opportunities in the MENA region and the improving direction of underpinning policy frameworks. Mr. Mohamed El-Ashry, Chairman of REN21, said: “With the world’s energy dynamics becoming increasingly complex, there is a need for greater global integration and collaboration to address how the world will power its future generations. The future of renewable energy looks very different today than it did a decade ago. The recent unanimous declaration by the UN General Assembly designating 2014-2024 as the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All underscores the importance of energy to sustainable development and the need for increased use of renewable sources of energy, energy efficiency, and the sustainable use of traditional energy resources. The UAE has shown tremendous leadership in this area and will continue to do so. I would like to thank the UAE for the excellent collaboration with REN21 on ADIREC and beyond.” ADIREC is jointly organized by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate of Energy and Climate Change; Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted clean energy company; and REN21, the -based renewable energy policy network.
The next IREC will be held in South Africa in 2015. SAIREC 2015 will provide a platform to address energy security and access. Under the RE-energising Africa, SAIREC will demonstrate why Africa is the business destination for the renewables energy sector.
Official side events
Official Side Events are a forum for non-governmental, governmental, and/or inter-governmental partners to showcase their projects/programs in front of a high level public and private sector audience.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "http://www.wirec2008.gov".
- Clean Tech Nation: How the U.S. Can Lead in the New Global Economy (2012) by Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder
- Deploying Renewables 2011 (2011) by the International Energy Agency
- Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era (2011) by Amory Lovins
- Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (2011) by the IPCC
- Solar Energy Perspectives (2011) by the International Energy Agency