IRENA Innovation Week spurs renewable solutions to decarbonise end-use sectors

  • Leading companies, innovators and policy makers are convening at the 2023 edition of the IRENA Innovation Week from 25 to 28 September in Bonn to drive ground-breaking innovative renewable solutions that cut CO2 emissions in end-uses and accelerate the global energy transition. 

According to IRENA, innovation is critical to ensuring that countries can reap the benefits of low-cost renewables and reliably integrate high shares of them into their energy systems. IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook calls for a tripling of annual renewable power additions until 2030. It also advocates for a meaningful increase in the use of renewables in end-use sectors such as industry, buildings, and transport to meet the objectives of both the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“Innovation holds the key to advance the ongoing transition of the global energy system to meet increasingly urgent climate objectives,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “At the upcoming COP28 in Dubai, governments will define plans that must be implemented to accelerate decarbonisation. To inform these zero-carbon plans and translate them into concrete action, governments will require guidance on the optimal mix of innovations for their specific national contexts.”

Electrification with renewables is cost-effective, increases security of supply and mitigates risks of fuel prices volatility as experienced in recent years. IRENA’s 1.5°C scenario anticipates that by mid-century, the use of direct and indirect electricity including hydrogen will cover almost two-thirds of the global energy demand, triggering annual investment needs of up to 1 USD trillion in technologies and infrastructure. Without a smart and systemic approach to technology, business models, market design and system operation, countries face a constrained system and massive additional infrastructure costs.

“IRENA’s flagship event builds on the Agency’s excellence and provides a platform for its global membership and partners that inspires and informs the actions of decision makers,” La Camera added. “Innovation Week brings leaders from diverse fields together to share their vision for the energy sector of the future. It is crucial for fostering the innovative ideas that are moving the energy transition forward.”

Smart solutions will take centre-stage at all 12 sessions of the Week. Supported by insights from IRENA’s in-depth analyses such as the latest Innovation Landscape for smart electrification, panels will range from smart electrification of road transport and heating/cooling in buildings, to renewable solutions for industry sectors and the use of green hydrogen. As a special edition of IRENA’s Youth Talk series, youth representatives will meet industry leaders to discuss entrepreneurship and innovation.

Corporate leaders, government officials and experts at the forefront of energy innovation from over 70 countries will discuss, debate and dissect tangible solutions to decarbonise energy intensive sectors using direct and indirect electrification, disruptive technologies, business practices and policies that can accelerate the energy transition.

Insights shared during the IRENA Innovation Week will help identify priority actions to fully unlock the potential of renewable applications in end-uses. These insights will also inform the Agency’s advice to its members and the wider community, as well as the preparatory meetings for COP28.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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