Conceived in Germany and established in Bonn, Germany in 2011 to promote and foster development and adoption of renewable energy worldwide, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) counts 159 national governments and the European Union as members. On January 13, IRENA announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had ratified its decision to establish its global headquarters in Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates of which the UAE is comprised.
IRENA’s choice is remarkable in at least two respects. For one, IRENA will be the first international organization headquartered in the Middle East. Secondly, and more remarkable, the UAE and neighboring Gulf Coast Countries have based and built their fortunes on the production and international sale of oil and petroleum derivatives, as well as natural gas.
Renewable Energy Comes of Age… Globally
When it comes to energy resources, technology, infrastructure and markets, times are changing fast, however. Looking to further develop and diversify their economies and provide healthy, sustainable socioeconomic conditions for fast-growing populations, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf Coast Countries (GCC) are coming round to the view that developing solar, wind, and other clean, renewable energy resources is increasingly viable, and vital, to their sustainable development. That’s good news for citizens and residents of the region, as well as of the world.
The UAE’s formal ratification of the headquarters agreement with IRENA confirms the latter’s “position as the global hub for renewable energy,” IRENA stated in a press release published during the first day of its third general assembly and the sixth World Future Energy Summit, the “centerpiece” of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
“The ratification of our headquarters agreement and the presence of a record-breaking number of ministers and policy makers at the 2013 Assembly marks IRENA’s coming of age,” IRENA director general Adnan Amin stated. “What began as a visionary idea in 2009 has truly taken form. The renewable era is upon us.”
That’s quite a statement, especially given it comes out of the UAE, yet one that’s indicative of the impetus that’s built up behind the drive to transition away from fossil fuels and toward economies and societies driven by renewable energy and clean technology.
Site director Zachary Shahan is on the ground and on site covering Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, and CleanTechnica’s been reporting on developments and the increasing momentum building up behind solar and renewable energy in the Middle East for some time. Following are links to several examples — some new, some older:
- CleanTechnica Exclusive: ‘Inside’ The World’s Largest Single-Unit Solar Power Plant
- China Joins International Renewable Energy Agency
- CleanTechnica Exclusive from Adnan Z. Amin: Accelerating the Drive toward Renewable Energy
- Middle East and North Africa to Reach 3.5GW Solar Power Capacity by 2030
- Middle Eastern Countries Turning to Solar, Wind, Other Renewables — What Do They Know?
- Solar PV Cost Competitive in Middle East, New Analysis Finds
- Could Saudi Arabia Become the Next Solar Market Hotspot?
I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.