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IRENA Sets Goal to Double Global Renewable Energy Capacity by 2030, Welcomes China to Its Ranks

It's been a busy few days for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), as the UN-sponsored organization released several announcements at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Ratifying its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, IRENA, formally established in 2011, launched an ambitious goal to double global renewable energy capacity by 2030. The organization believes its goal is attainable, but countries will have to step up their efforts. Called REMAP 2030, international experts are set to work with the current Sustainability for All initiative set by the UN Secretary-General, which shares the same renewables goal, and develop a strategy to bring it to fruition.

Renewables currently consist of about 15 percent of the global energy mix. Annual renewable power generation will have to increase from 110 GW to 150 GW in order to realize the REMAP 2030 goal, according to IRENA. Though the goal may seem lofty, experts are confident that it is achievable due to falling renewable energy prices and positive policies. 

“REMAP 2030 clearly maps the challenge we face in meeting international targets to double the share of renewable energy worldwide,” said Adnan Amin, IRENA Director General, in a release. “The good news is that costs are falling, the technology is spreading, and countries across the world are implementing policies to make this happen. With the right political will, a world powered by clean, renewable energy is within our reach.”

A major factor in reaching this goal is China, which announced its intent to become a full member of IRENA this week.  With $52.2 billion invested in renewable energy in 2011, a 17 percent year on year increase, and the intent to add 49 GW of renewable energy in 2013 alone, China has established itself as a key player in the renewable industry. According to Amin, China’s induction is an encouraging development, “because IRENA can achieve its goals better and faster if all nations sit at one table."

In hopes to further aid global development, IRENA also released its Global Atlas of renewable energy resources to help countries realize their potential and aid in smart investments. The internet-based resource compiles data from technical institutes and agencies to map solar and wind energy resources in 22 countries. IRENA plans to add other forms of renewables throughout 2013 and 2014 and expects more countries to join in the coming months.

Lead image: City using renewable energy via Shutterstock

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