Egypt and the International Renewable Energy Agency
Wednesday، 22 March 2023 - 12:15 PM
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is a lead global intergovernmental agency for energy transformation that serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, supports countries in their energy transitions, and provides state of the art data and analyses on technology, innovation, policy, finance and investment. IRENA drives the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, and energy security, for economic and social resilience and prosperity and a climate-proof future.
IRENA was established as a governmental organization in 2011, and Abu Dhabi has been designated as its headquarters. It is the first intergovernmental organization has been headquartered in the Middle East region. IRENA headquarters is one of the most developed and sustainable multifunctional establishment that gained the “4 Pearls” from" Estidama Pearl Rating-System Program (PRS) launched by Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) to set green building standards.
IRENA includes 168 members; 167 countries in addition to the European Union (EU). Membership in the agency is open to member states of the United Nations (UN), regional intergovernmental organizations. Members should be willing and able to act in accordance with the goals and activities provided for in the Statute.
IRENA was officially established in Bonn, Germany, on January 26, 2009. Its founding conference remains a milestone for renewable energy and a clear sign that the global energy paradigm was changing, due to the accelerating commitment from governments. Meanwhile, a total of 75 countries has signed IRENA Act. A preparatory committee was established, to act as a temporary institutional body until the ratification of the statute of IRENA with a quorum of at least 25 countries. When IRENA Act came into force on July 8, 2010, preparations began for the holding of the first meeting of the members on April 4, 2011. Three years after the first meeting, the Preparatory Committee was dissolved and IRENA was officially born.
It is the ultimate decision-making authority in IRENA, and it is attended by heads of state, ministers, high ranking government officials, representatives of the private sector, civil society institutions and other international organizations. It convenes to reassert the global renewable energy agenda, taking tangible steps to accelerate the global energy transition.
The last Session of the General Assembly (13th Session) was held on January 14-15, 2023 Abu Dhabi, capital of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and resulted in the election of the State of India as President of the General Assembly to succeed the State of El Salvador. The countries of Indonesia, Belgium, Zimbabwe, the State of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were elected as Vice-Presidents of the General Assembly.
Egypt and IRENA - Prospects of Common Cooperation
Since Egypt became a member in IRENA in 2012, they have cooperated in many activities and initiatives; salient of which are:
Power-Up Report: Renewable Energy Horizons in Egypt
IRENA worked on analyzing, monitoring and organizing various Egyptian practices in renewable energies to identify success and failure factors in developing the exploitation of these energies. Moreover, it improves knowledge, enhances and develops the necessary capabilities and competencies, transfers technology to Egypt and provides training programs in this field.
IRENA and the Egyptian electricity sector held discussions and studies to implement several pilot projects in the field of green hydrogen production, as being a promising source of clean energy.
Through IRENA General Assembly, Egypt has signed several salient framework agreements in the field of energy:
Indian Solar Alliance
Egypt signed the framework agreement to establish the International Solar Energy Alliance on March 10, 2018 during the first meeting of IRENA General Assembly. So far, 86 countries have ratified the framework agreement.
The International Solar Alliance aims at addressing the main challenges related to solar energy and expanding its use in member countries. Moreover, it establishes means of cooperation among member countries to implement coherent programs and voluntary activities aiming at financing solar energy projects. Additionally, it increases focus on innovation, research and capacity building.
Cooperation with EU
Within the framework of goals set out by the Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy (ISES) to 2035, including securing and diversifying sources of energy supply, and protecting the environment in accordance with The Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) of Egypt 2030; to allow renewable energies reach 20% by 2022, and 42%, by 2030, a technical support agreement was concluded. It aims at attaining financial and technical sustainability of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
IRENA Support for Egypt in COP-27
IRENA organized a number of events in the field of renewable energy before COP-27 Climate Summit, in cooperation with the Egyptian government.
IRENA revived all initiatives concerned with renewable energies during COP 27, which resulted in signing about 16 agreements by Egyptian government with private companies to explore green hydrogen and ammonia projects. These projects include nine final framework agreements signed in the Conference for projects whose investments exceed U$ 83 billion until 2035, as well as 15 Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with major international companies experienced in clean energy. The projects aim at transforming the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE) into a major center for launching renewable energy all over the world. These alliances will carry out production projects and have an export commitment. They will also transfer technology to Egypt since they are all among the largest international companies in their fields. These projects, which are scheduled to start their first stages of implementation by 2025, will result in a lot of job opportunities.
Egypt - A Promising Market
IRENA's annual report on Global Renewable Energy Industry 2022 included promising news about growth of renewable energy sources in Egypt. It mentioned that the renewable energy capabilities in Egypt are increasing at about 65% by 2027, and that Egypt will witness a remarkable growth in electrical capabilities generated from clean energy, especially wind and solar energy respectively, achieving expected growth rates up to 4.1 gigawatts between 2022-2027. Egypt will represent nearly a quarter of total renewable energy capacity in the Middle East and North Africa region by 2027.
According to the energy axis of the government’s NWFE Program announced during the climate summit, the report has also stated that the country will cease 5-gigawatt gas-fired power plants starting from 2023 to pave the way for new investment in renewable energy sources. The program has already obtained about U$10 billion through development funds which will be used to eliminate risks in the sector and attract investors from the private sector. Electric interconnection with neighboring countries including Greece and Cyprus -allowing the country to export electricity to Europe- may also help solve energy problem.