Renewable energy in developing countries to inspire world

Around 160 countries joined Irena within a few years — an unprecedented achievement
Abu Dhabi: Initiatives in renewable energy in developing countries will inspire the world to adopt clean energy to address energy poverty and climate change caused by pollution, a top official of International Renewable Energy Agency said on Monday.

A group of Pacific island nations which used to generate 100 per cent energy from imported diesel, have now started heavily investing in renewable energy, said Adnan Z Ameen, Director General of International Renewable Energy Agency, at a press briefing.

The UAE is also playing a great role in this transformation as the country is investing in a 10 megawatt solar power project in the island nation of Tonga, he said. Tonga has set a target to generate 100 per cent energy from renewables by 2030, he said. Many developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East have also made such roadmaps and policy frameworks to adopt renewable energy, Ameen pointed out.

In the Middle East, Morocco has invested $1.1 billion (Dh4 billion) in renewable energy in 2011. Saudi Arabia plans to generate 41 gigawatt energy within a few years, which will save half a million barrels of oil used for energy generation. Such initiatives after the UAE’s lead to host Irena in Abu Dhabi has changed the discussion on global climate change. The nations producing (polluting) hydrocarbons are leading the discussions to promote clean energy, Ameen said.

He said the Irena is trying to change culture and philosophy of development in the international arena. The existing model is donor-recipient relationship between international funding agencies and developing nations which produced mixed results. Ameen said Irena is trying a participatory model in which public and private sectors work together to promote renewable energy.

About 160 countries have joined Irena within a few years and it is an unprecedented achievement for a international organisation.

A series of activities in the coming months will help promote renewable energy, Ameen said. The World Energy Forum in Dubai from October 22 to 24 is a major event. It is the first time this event is being held away from UN headquarters in New York. He congratulated Dubai Government not only for hosting the event but initiating investments in renewable energy recently.

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January will also be a major event.

Ameen was elected the first director general of Irena in April 2011. In his capacity, he is responsible for leading the agency in the implementation of its mandate to promote the adoption and use of renewable energy worldwide.

World Energy Forum charts new energy roadmap

Dubai: The World Energy Forum 2012 officially opened on Monday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, under the theme of “A Forum for World Leaders”.

Leaders from member states of the United Nations, international organisations, more than 2,000 delegates, scores of national energy ministers and top leaders from the industry and corporations participated in the forum.

Shaikh Mohammad signed an agreement to declare October 22 of every year as the World Energy Day, to form a roadmap for a new paradigm for sustainable energy that will benefit all people and promote a global adoption of safe and sustainable sources of energy that are accessible to all.

In his keynote speech, Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, said the World Energy Forum 2012 is an ideal platform to share the world’s best practices in the field of energy.

“The forum will increase the mutual cooperation, as well as knowledge and expertise exchange, among world countries seeking tangible progress towards cleaner, safer, and more sustainable energy that enhance the social development,” he said.

For the first time the World Energy Forum has been organised outside the headquarters of the United Nation in New York. It be held in Dubai between October 22 and October 24 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Shaikh Maktoum said: “The whole world is facing a lot of challenges in the energy sector. We have to find solutions to enhance sustainable economic development for the whole world.”

Among the world’s seven billion people there are 1.5 billion who are deprived of electricity while three another billion are relying on natural resources in their daily lives, he said.

“The UAE is an oil-producing country but has to face the world challenges by providing a sustainable energy that fuels the overall development.

“The UAE has become a global centre of sustainability by its available initiatives of creating a green economy, solar energy and others that strengthen its competitiveness, and the growth which is preserving its environment for future generations.”

He added that the forum will be achieving universal access to modern energy services to share with the world leaders and decision makers, the country’s vision for peace, stability and sustainable development.

Shaikh Maktoum welcomed the hosting of Africa Leaders Forum on the sidelines of the energy forum aimed at sustainable energy solutions helpful in reserving and conserving precious resources, and providing a sustainable future for all nations.