His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, attended the 18th Meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Council that is currently underway in Abu Dhabi.

Highlighting the country’s achievements in promoting renewable energy deployment worldwide and studying opportunities for further collaboration, Her Excellency Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, Permanent Representative of the UAE to IRENA, participated in the IRENA Council meeting and key committee sessions.

Chaired by Luxembourg, the international two-day gathering has brought together 370 government representatives from 124 countries. The meeting aims to lay the groundwork for the next IRENA Assembly, set to take place on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2020.

Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said: “The 18th meeting of the IRENA Council takes place at a time when renewable energy is gaining increasing uptake around the world, given its growing cost efficiency and greater ease of adoption. We are extremely pleased with the latest resolve of the GCC countries to create cumulative cost savings of US$76 billion from renewable energy adoption by 2030.

“Our country has been at the forefront in leading the global clean energy conversation for several years now. From adopting the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 that aims to increase the share of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50 percent by 2050 and reducing reduce our carbon footprint from power generation by 70 percent during the same period to hosting landmark initiatives, such as Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the World Government Summit, and the Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE has proven that it is possible for ambitious climate action to go hand in hand with economic prosperity and development.”

For her part, Her Excellency Dr Nawal Al-Hosany said: “Our participation in this landmark meeting aligns with the UAE’s priority to support IRENA’s endeavors to accelerate the energy transition and step up collaboration to achieve the Agency’s objectives. Through its engagement in such leading platforms, the country continues to stress the importance of ensuring inclusive and equitable renewable energy access to fast-track sustainable development and socio-economic transformation across the globe.”

She added: “This year’s IRENA Council meeting has convened at a time when the renewable energy sector is at a crossroads. Unprecedented technological innovation and continued decline in renewable energy costs allowed us to advance our quest for carbon neutrality. In addition to outlining the new work program for 2020-21, the meeting will go a long way not only in supporting developed countries in their energy transition, but also in enabling developing countries to address any obstacles that may hinder energy access.”

As a founding member of IRENA, the UAE has led by example in implementing innovative renewable energy projects using the latest concentrated solar power (CSP), photovoltaic (PV), pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH), and floating PV technologies.

As part of its efforts to provide universal access to renewable energy, the country has taken the lead in initiating high-impact renewables projects as well as galvanizing multilateral collaboration among IRENA members to address the challenges facing the deployment of renewable energy solutions.

Through its active engagement in renewable energy, the UAE has been a driving force in shaping the global energy landscape and promoting sustainable development. Internationally, the country has invested over US$12 billion in 49 renewable energy projects in 25 countries with a combined clean energy capacity of 4 GW.

In line with its commitment to promoting sustainable development worldwide, the UAE has also allocated US$350 million to renewable energy projects through the ADFD-IRENA Project Facility, US$50 million through the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund and US$50 million through the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund. 

Nationally, in line with its ambitious vision outlined in the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, the country has achieved a significant milestone – reducing the cost of solar power per one kWh by about 80 percent – from 5.84 US cents in 2015 to the new world record of 1.7 cents, submitted for Phase 5 of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

The IRENA Council comprises representatives of 21 member states, elected to serve a two-year rotational term to ensure the participation of both developing and developed countries. Accountable to the IRENA Assembly, the Council is responsible for facilitating consultation and cooperation among IRENA members in reviewing the draft work program, draft budget, and annual report.