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High-Level Renewable Energy Conference to Advance Low-Carbon Development in Egypt

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Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy and the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) together with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will co-organise the country’s first high-level renewable energy conference in the Egyptian capital, Cairo next week. The three-day Egypt Renewable Energy Conference, held from October 9-11, will seek to advance renewables development in the country and will feature the release of IRENA’s Egypt Renewable Energy Outlook report, a comprehensive assessment of Egypt’s full renewable energy potential.

Egypt aims to source 20 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022, rising to 42 per cent by 2035 as it works to meet rising demand for power. Total installed capacity currently stands at around 3.9 gigawatts, much of which is from hydropower.

“Our Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy 2035 supports the development of a diversified, competitive and balanced economy within the framework of sustainable development,” said H.E. Dr. Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy. “With renewable energy at the heart of this strategy, IRENA’s role in identifying our potential and advising on the practical steps required to succeed, is key. The Renewable Energy Conference greatly supports this process and we look forward to bringing the investment and policy community together in Cairo to support our national efforts to establish Egypt as a regional hub for clean energy,” he concluded.

The conference will convene investors and national policy makers from Egypt and across the Middle East and North Africa region to advance energy transformation across Egypt as it pursues short and medium-term targets, and capitalise on falling technology costs. IRENA Director-General Mr. Adnan Z. Amin will present the report’s key findings in the presence of ministers and high-level guests.

“Egypt has established its renewable energy ambition and this commitment is evidenced by progress made on world class projects such as the Benban Solar Park in Aswan, which will be one of the world’s largest solar parks once complete,” said Mr. Adnan Z. Amin. “In a country such as Egypt, which possesses tremendous resource potential, sustainable energy can be the backbone of its long-term energy planning.

“By strengthening the enabling environment for renewable energy investment and development, Egypt can increase the speed of its energy transformation, bringing wider economic benefits to the country such as job creation, health improvements and energy security,” concluded Mr. Amin.

Following a presentation of the report and its recommendations the conference will focus on a number of important topics relevant to renewable energy development in Egypt. The sessions will be followed by a training workshop conducted by IRENA on renewable energy project development, which supports the Pan-Arab Clean Energy (PACE) initiative – a regional initiative aiming to promote the integration of greater shares of renewables into power systems in the Arab region. The workshop will inform project developers on the tools available to them that can assist in the development of successful renewable energy projects in the region.

Key topics to be discussed at the event include:

  • Renewable energy deployment policies, featuring ministers and CEO-level participants from across the Middle East and North Africa region and the world
  • Renewable energy investments, identifying the investment frameworks necessary to accelerate the progression of renewables deployment in Egypt
  • Job creation and manufacturing capacity, exploring ways to ensure domestic businesses are positioned to capitalize on the development of a clear, long-term government programme

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IRENA and RES4Africa Partner to Accelerate Renewables in Africa

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IRENA and the RES4Africa Foundation have agreed to cooperate to increase the speed of renewable energy development in Africa in the pursuit of the continent’s sustainable development and climate goals. The ‘Letter of Intent’ signed on 15 July 2019 in Rome, will see the two parties work together to explore public-private initiatives, knowledge creation opportunities, capacity building programmes and strategic dialogues to accelerate renewable energy deployment in Africa.

With more than 620 million Africans – nearly half the continent’s population – still without access to electricity, the RES4Africa Foundation works to address the water-energy-food nexus and promote the adoption of renewable energy in Africa. IRENA estimates the continent could meet nearly a quarter of its energy needs from indigenous and clean renewable energy by 2030, but to realise this potential a step-up in renewable energy action is necessary.

“To achieve the sustainable development goals and tackle climate change we must grow the share of global energy supplied by renewables to 50 per cent by mid-century,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA during the signing event. “That requires a significant scale up of renewable energy deployment. Stronger partnerships can accelerate the energy transformation lifting millions of people in rural villages across Africa out of energy poverty and delivering socioeconomic outcomes.”

Growing engagement in Africa

IRENA’s engagement with Africa on renewables dates back to the Agency’s formation nearly a decade ago. A key component of IRENA’s engagement and its effort to promote regional market integration in Africa, has been through the development of the Clean Energy Corridors. IRENA’s work informed the objectives of the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), which now targets to develop 300 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity across the continent by 2030.

IRENA analysis suggests a transformation of Africa’s energy sector with renewables by 2030, would result in carbon-dioxide emission reductions of up to 310 megatonnes per annum and create millions of jobs across the continent.

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IRENA Puts Renewables Centre-Stage at UN High- Level Meeting

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‘There can be no sustainable development without renewables’ – that was the takeaway from the 17th IRENA Council which concluded recently in Abu Dhabi. It was a message the Agency’s Director-General Francesco La Camera reinforced at every opportunity and a message that will once again take centre-stage during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in New York this and next week.

The UN High-Level Political Forum takes place at the UN Headquarters in New York from 09–18 July 2019. Progress on six of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be reviewed. Renewable energy plays a prominent role in goals being discussed this year, particularly those promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth (SDG8); taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (SDG13); and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development (SDG16).

Director-General Francesco La Camera will attend the Forum to engage dignitaries and IRENA members and partners. Mr. La Camera will also participate in a series of high-level discussions on topics including scaling-up climate action through the energy transformation and accelerating the energy transition in small island developing states.

Mr. La Camera will highlight the inter-linkages between the goals under review and access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all (SDG7), a focus of  the last year’s HLPF. The essential role of renewable energy in powering growth, empowering people, and taking climate action will also be emphasised.

IRENA at HLPF

On 16 July, IRENA’s High-level side event on ‘Scaling up climate action through clean energy transitions: Delivering on the Paris Agreement and the SDGs’ will be co-convened by UN DESA, the European Union, and the Permanent Mission to the UN of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Building on findings and outcomes from reports and meetings, including the 2019 Tracking SDG7 Energy Progress Report and Climate Summit preparatory meeting in Abu Dhabi, outcomes from this discussion will feed into the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit and the SDG Summit in September 2019.

On 17 July, the High-level Side event on Scaling-Up Energy Transition in Small Island Developing States, will mark the launch of the policy brief on ‘Achieving SDG 7 in Small Island Developing States’ and pave the way for the Mid-term Review of the SAMOA Pathway taking place in September 2019. Organised by Saint Lucia, Samoa, Maldives, UN-OHRLLS and IRENA, the event will take stock of energy transition developments and renewable energy uptake in SIDS and explore the vital elements in making progress in the area of sustainable energy.

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IEA hosts high-level meeting on technologies for a clean energy future

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The discussion at the event was informed by two recent major reports from the IEA about nuclear power and hydrogen. Photo: IEA

The International Energy Agency on 11 July hosted a discussion among leading global energy sector figures about technologies that can help to bring about a clean energy future, including hydrogen and nuclear power.

The main speakers at the event were Dan Brouillette, Deputy US Energy Secretary; Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and CEO of EDF; Hiroshi Oe, Japanese Ambassador to the OECD and Chair of the IEA Governing Board; and Dominique Ristori, Director-General Energy at the European Commission.

The discussion at the IEA’s headquarters in Paris was informed by two recent major reports from the IEA: Nuclear Power in a Clean Energy System and The Future of Hydrogen: Seizing Today’s Opportunities.

At a time of profound change in the global energy sector, countries will require all the tools at their disposal to meet their commitments to tackling emissions and air pollution while maintaining energy security.

“I’d like to thank our speakers for the robust and rewarding conversation,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, who hosted the event. “There is no miracle technology that will solve the daunting environmental challenges the world faces. We need continued innovation across a range of technologies, including renewables, energy efficiency, batteries, carbon capture and more. The IEA sees hydrogen and nuclear power as important parts of clean energy transitions in many countries, but they need help from governments to overcome significant obstacles.”

Nuclear power is by far the largest source of low-carbon electricity in both Europe and North America, but many of their plants are aging. Without effective policies to spur new investment, advanced economies could lose as much as two-thirds of their nuclear capacity in the next 20 years, threatening global climate goals and energy security.

Hydrogen, which is currently enjoying unprecedented momentum, can help tackle various critical energy challenges. It offers ways to decarbonise a range of sectors where it is proving difficult to meaningfully reduce emissions, including long-haul transport, chemicals, and iron and steel. Hydrogen’s ability to store and transport energy could enable renewables to make a greater contribution to the global energy system. But it has experienced false starts in the past and still faces big challenges to scale up infrastructure and bring down costs.

The meeting on 11 July to discuss these important energy issues highlights the IEA’s role as the world’s leading energy authority and its commitment to covering all fuels and all technologies. Guests included Lithunia’s Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas. Lithuania has requested to join the IEA as a member country and the accession process has begun.

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