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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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Canada Joins International Renewable Energy Agency

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Canada has today officially become a member of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Canada becomes the Agency’s 160th member to join the global intergovernmental organisation dedicated to the widespread adoption of renewable energy.

Canada’s membership comes on the eve of IRENA’s ninth and largest Assembly. More than 120 ministers are expected to join 1,200 delegates from 150 countries in Abu Dhabi, to accelerate the deployment of sustainable sources of energy.

“The growing green economy is among the greatest economic opportunities for Canada in a generation,” said Amarjeet Sohi Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “Becoming an IRENA member will accelerate Canada’s efforts to build a clean energy future which will bring new economic growth and thousands of new, well-paying jobs.”

“We are delighted to welcome Canada as a new member of the IRENA family,” said IRENA Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin. “Canada has vast renewable energy resource potential and long-standing experience in low-carbon development that it can share through international cooperation.

“We look forward to working with the Canadian government as well as the private sector and research institutions to advance energy transformation,” continued Mr. Amin. “Canada’s membership firmly underscores the leadership it can demonstrate in renewable energy technology, sustainable development and global energy decarbonisation.”

Renewable energy accounts for two-thirds of Canada’s power generation and just under 20 per cent of its total final energy supply thanks largely to significant hydropower resources, which make it the second largest producer of hydropower in the world. Renewable power generation in Canada increased from 78 gigawatts (GW) in 2009 to 99 GW in 2017. In addition to plentiful hydro resources, Canada also has significant wind, biomass, solar, marine and geothermal energy potential. For example, today, wind accounts for 5 per cent of electricity generation in Canada.

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ADB Grant to Support Increased Cross-Border Energy Trading in Central Asia

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $4.5 million cluster regional technical assistance grant to support an increase in regional power trade in Central Asia Power System (CAPS) and explore potential reconnection of Turkmenistan to CAPS and its further expansion to Afghanistan.

“With increased regional power trade, countries will be able to meet local demand for power and supply surpluses to their neighbors,” said Director of Energy Division at ADB’s Central and West Asia Department Mr. Ashok Bhargava. He further added that this will improve regional energy security and reduce carbon footprints of meeting the regional power demand.

Power trade among Central Asian countries has declined dramatically since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. First in 2003, Turkmenistan disconnected from CAPS and then in 2009, Tajikistan was disconnected from CAPS. As a result, compared to 25,413 million kilowatt hour (kWh) traded in CAPS in 1990, the traded energy volume declined to 2,080 million kWh in 2016. This had caused widespread power outages notably in Tajikistan in winter and resulted in increased fossil fuel use by Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in the summer mainly because hydropower surpluses from Tajikistan were not available to CAPS. Tajikistan has since reconnected to Uzbekistan and to CAPS in March 2018.

The TA cluster will include three key subprojects to introduce an energy data management (EDM) system to the Coordinating Dispatch Center (CDC) Energiya to enable a safe increase of energy flow within CAPS; update regional power sector masterplan to identify technical barriers to increased power flow and possible solutions to overcome these barriers; and expand CAPS to Afghanistan and potentially Turkmenistan and identify additional new markets to increase power trade.

“The Central Asian countries lack the institutional and technical capacity to optimally coordinate increased power trade, due to prevailing obsolete technologies and system forecast techniques that constraints real-time monitoring of new power system assets in the region and corresponding adjustments of power flows” said ADB Senior Energy Specialist Mr. Bouadokpheng Chansavat. In this regard, the CDC Energiya, which was established in 1960s to coordinate power flows in CAPS need urgent capacity development and technological upgrading.

The updating of the regional power sector master plan is timely since its completion in 2012 to take into account the newly completed power assets and evolved geopolitical situation in Central Asia.

In 2017, Afghanistan expressed interest to join CAPS as it already trades bilaterally with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. This technical assistance grant will help assess Afghanistan’s electricity grid and ensure compatibility with CAPS. Options for connection of Turkmenistan back to CAPS will also be explored.

The technical assistance cost is $4.5 million, $1.5 million of which will be financed by ADB on a grant basis; $1 million by the Regional Cooperation and Integration Fund; $1 million by the Asian Clean Energy Fund; and $1 million by the High-Level Technology Fund. The governments will provide counterpart support in the form of staff, office space, and supplies and other in-kind contributions.

ADB has committed $7.1 billion in loans and $85.9 million in technical assistance grants to Uzbekistan since it joined the bank in 1995. In 2018, ADB committed four loans totaling $993 million to improve power generation efficiency, improve primary healthcare services, support horticulture-related farmers and businesses for fixed asset investments, and support ongoing reforms through better economic management in the country.

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IEA holds first ever Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies Training Week for India

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Training participants took part in a variety of sessions, including interactive discussions and practical exercises (Photograph: Sanjeev Narula, Liberty News Pictures)

The International Energy Agency and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) of the Government of India co-hosted the first ever Energy Efficiency Training Week for India, from 10 to 13 December in New Delhi. The event, which coincided with India’s 28th National Energy Conservation Day on 14 December, brought together over 100 energy efficiency professionals from government institutions and supporting organisations across all levels of government in India.

National Energy Conservation Day is an annual event led by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency under the Ministry of Power, intended to raise awareness about energy efficiency and celebrate achievements in this field. For example, the National Energy Conservation Awards reward leaders from industry and government for their pioneering work, urging all to strive for greater improvements.

Officials and industry professionals from over 20 Indian states participated in the IEA Training Week programme, exchanging best practices, expanding their knowledge of energy efficiency and expanding professional networks.

The Training Week consisted of four parallel courses on energy efficiency policy in buildings, appliances and equipment, industry, and municipal and utility services. Each course offered a mix of lectures, interactive discussions and practical exercises. Participants also had the opportunity to explore energy efficiency from creative perspectives, including through a photo competition intended to make energy efficiency more ‘visible’. The presentations and training materials can be accessed here.

The specific country on India focus allowed deep engagement with stakeholders from all levels of government, including at state and municipal levels, all of whom have critical roles in the design and implementation of energy efficiency policy.

“There is a lot of scope and room for improvements in energy intensity as India grows,” said BEE Director General Abhay Bakre in his opening address, “all of this is possible if we put in place an effective regime, using energy efficiency measures”.

Melanie Slade, IEA Senior Programme Manage for the Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies Programmed, noted that “we have to be in this for the long term”. She emphasised that engagement with stakeholders from both national and subnational levels of government will be key to success.

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