Helene Pelosse Direktor General IRENA

3. december 2009

A Climate for Renewables

There will be many hills to climb before we reach our renewable energy goals.

by Hélène Pelosse, IRENA

London, UK [Renewable Energy World Magazine]

Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities. Twenty years ago, my father and I went on a trip to explore several glaciers. It was a special experience for us, and one of my fondest memories. So you can imagine my horror to see recent photos of these very same glaciers that showed how much they had receded. Just 20 years ago, they were majestic examples of the Earth’s natural beauty. Now, they are case studies of a planet in crisis.

Sadly, my story is not an isolated tale. There is no shortage of predictions about what the world will look like in the future if carbon emissions continue to rise. All of them are negative. Glaciers will melt. Species will become extinct. And extreme weather conditions will proliferate.

Yet, despite these grim prognostications, there is reason for hope. As the dangers of climate change become more readily apparent, the international community is joining together to explore the opportunities in this crisis. In fact, the creation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is just one example of this new spirit of global cooperation.

From my office chair at IRENA’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), I have been fortunate to witness this phenomenon first hand. The fact that IRENA is based in one of the world’s most important oil producing countries sends a powerful message to the world that we can not rely on the energies of the past to power the future.

IRENA is the first intergovernmental organization tasked with providing support and advice to its member states on implementing effective framework conditions for the transition towards a new era of increased renewable energy, and I’m grateful to have a front row seat for the proceedings.

I believe the turn towards renewable energy will be as influential as the Industrial Revolution. I am not the only one who thinks so. This is why so many countries have joined IRENA. Our organization has grown quickly, and the sheer size of our member roster is telling. We launched in January 2009, the initial idea coming from Germany, then Spain and Denmark joined in. Over the year, almost 50 countries got involved in the founding process. By the autumn of 2009, dozens more had signed on, bringing the total number of IRENA member states to 137. The United Nations has 192. It’s difficult to believe that when IRENA first began, some of us thought it would be a success to have 30 countries on board.

It is clear that many countries are ready to embrace renewable energy. Although renewables are only one approach to mitigating the complex challenge of global warming, it is one of the best strategies we have. The spin-off benefits of a renewable powered future are simply too good to ignore. By their very nature, renewable energies are secure, affordable, easily accessible, and clean. And because of these traits, it can preserve the environment and protect our climate. It can boost economic growth and create local jobs that will lead to regional development. It can even increase social cohesion and make the world’s energy supplies more secure.

Renewable energy technology is progressing by leaps and bounds. Research and development in green technology is no longer restricted to European countries such as Germany, Spain, and Denmark. Just last year, for example, China surpassed Japan as the world’s leading producer of photovoltaic cells.

Remember when computers were so rare that only scientific researchers had access to them? Or perhaps you might recall when brick-sized mobile phones were so expensive that they belonged only to Hollywood producers and investment bankers. As with all technology, prices of renewable equipment are bound to come down as these products become more mainstream and manufacturers achieve economies of scale. I would not be surprised if renewable technologies become so common that we are able to purchase small-scale versions for our homes in supermarkets very soon.

Earlier this year, at least 64 countries had policies to promote renewable power generation. India recently announced an ambitious Solar Plan aiming to generate 20 GW from sunlight by 2020, starting from its current 2.12 MW. The EU has set a target of 20% renewable power by 2020 and is currently drafting legislation to support this goal.

With the advances in technology and the plans in place, we are starting to see incredibly ambitious projects take form. South Africa is developing a 100-MW concentrating solar power project. Norway will be opening the world’s first osmotic power plant outside Oslo as REW goes to press. In Bangladesh, as of March 2009, the renewable energy company Grameen Shakti had installed more than 220,000 solar home systems in rural areas that turn houses into small power plants. Morocco and India both have plans to create preferential zones for renewable energy technology production. And in IRENA’s back yard in the oil-producing UAE, the city of Masdar plans to establish a similar renewable energy technology zone.

The world’s renewable energy sector will grow. We have already seen an increase in the production of renewable energy over the last decade. Last year, both the United States and the European Union added more power capacity from renewables than from conventional sources. And consider this: an estimated US$120 billion was invested in renewable energy worldwide in 2008, almost double the $63 billion invested in 2006.

All of these developments are taking place at an important time in world history. Science has shown that we must change the way we produce and consume energy or face a future ravaged by warmer temperatures.

Current methods of energy generation produce negative effects that are rarely shown on our utility bills, but all of society pays for them. What we emit into the atmosphere today will influence the planet for decades to come and possibly far longer, affecting generations to come.

There is an even more pragmatic reason for pursuing a renewable energy future. Renewables could provide an unlimited supply to meet the needs of the estimated 10 billion humans that will inhabit Earth by 2050. Renewable energy’s greatest benefit is perhaps that it is accessible for every country in the world. Most regions of the globe have access to resources such as sun, wind, water, biomass, agricultural residue, or the Earth’s heat. We have begun to harness these resources in new and exciting ways that help countries all around the world help themselves.

We have already seen what happens when creative people design things that take advantage of renewable power. This innovation has resulted in products such as solar home systems in Ethiopia or eco-friendly cooking stoves in India. Many more innovative products are on the way. Around the world, entrepreneurs are hard at work developing clever market-based solutions that deliver safe and affordable energy to the 1.6 billion people without access to electricity, a market estimated at $500 billion.

In addition to helping alleviate conditions of poverty, the renewable energy transformation allows developing countries to avoid making some of the mistakes industrialized nations have made in the past. Developing nations can leap over interim technologies that were adopted and then discarded in favor of more efficient advances. It also allows industrialized countries to produce energy in a sustainable manner, harvesting resources at their doorsteps. Furthermore, renewables will advance technological sectors around the world and create a new class of knowledge worker. The future looks bright for us all.

In many ways, this transition is much like the hiking and climbing I enjoy so much. The journey won’t be easy, and it must be taken one step at a time. There are bound to be innumerable peaks and valleys to pass through. But just as a group of climbers eventually reaches a summit and gets to see the spectacular surroundings from the top, the international community will also get to see a whole new world.

As a mother of three, I want to help create a world I will be proud to pass along to my children. And I know others who are equally passionate about renewable energy. The transition to clean energy is an enormous challenge and an unprecedented opportunity. History shows that humanity is capable of great achievements: climbing to a renewable energy future will be its greatest legacy.

Hélène Pelosse is the interim director general of IRENA

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED by the Canadian Government

Canadian Renewable Energy Leaders at World Wind Energy Conference in Korea demand action to secure Canada’s role as an innovator and leader in Renewable Energy

JEJU/BONN/TORONTO, June 23, 2009:

WWEA and OSEA congratulate the Canadian parliament for its commitment made June 17th to join the more than 100 countries to become a full member of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) of governments. IRENA’s mandate is to support knowledge transfer, policy development and the promotion of the rapid deployment of renewable energy worldwide. Renewable energy is abundant, can provide access to electricity to all citizens worldwide, drive economic development and can be generated by individuals, communities of all sizes and the corporate sector.

The second IRENA founding meeting will be in Sharm El Sheikh on June 29, 2009. At this crucial meeting the seat and the founding Director General will be determined and it is imperative that the Canadian Government without any delay implements the parliaments decision to join IRENA. In order to participate in the decision making, to be recognized as a founding nation including applying for the seat and the leadership position, Canada must declare its position and attend the meeting in Sharm El Sheikh June 29, 2009. The urgency and the limited time requires a flexible and immediate solution.

A solution is easily at hand. Currently the 8th World Wind Energy Conference (WWEC) is being held on Jeju Island, South Korea following the spectacular success of last years conference held in Kingston Ontario Canada, where more than 900 delegates from around the world gathered and the idea of an Ontario Green Energy Act began.

Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman, architect of the newly passed Green Energy and Green Economy Act, is a keynote speaker at the WWEC in South Korea and could be requested to join or lead the Federal government’s delegation.

The other members of the Canadian contingency of renewable energy leaders presently participating in WWEC 2009 if mandated, are also prepared, to join participants from many others countries. This generous offer should not be denied and can together with the Canadian Embassy in Cairo support and guaranty a smooth and successful integration of other Canadian delegates and Minister.

Canadians country-wide are calling for change, joining the voices of citizens around the world in their demand for increased renewable energy to stimulate green jobs, green house gas emission reduction and increased energy security.

Volker Thomsen
Canadian Representative and Treasurer
World Wind Energy Association

Kristopher Stevens
Executive Director
Ontario Sustainable Energy Association

For more information, contact:

Volker Thomsen

Kristopher Stevens
Executive Director
Ontario Sustainable Energy Association
Email: Kristopher@ontario-sea.org

Phone: 82-10-4181-8885 (In Korea)

For background information please visit:

Background on Canadian Campaign for the International Renewable Energy Agency


Official International Renewable Energy Agency website


Campaign website for the Green Energy Act Alliance


Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure


Official website for the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association


Official website for the Canadian Renewable Energy Alliance


Urgent Appeal to the Member Delegates of IRENA

Urgent Appeal to the Founding Countries of IRENA and their Distinguished Delegates

Please view Volker’s Video at http://VolkerThomsen.com/irena-the-international-renewable-energy-agency/

IRENA is a new beacon of light and hope for the worldwide propagation of safe, clean, renewable, and widely distributed power generation.

IRENA will help every country get access to the policy know-how and technology transfer that is required for their sustainable and economic development.

Our current dependence on large central coal, oil, gas and nuclear power generation is counterproductive to distributed community-based power generation for local economic development. These outdated models have made us dependent on non-renewable sources of fuel at the expense of our environment, our security, and our economic sustainability.

IRENA is our international responsibility, and opportunity to globally transition us into the age of renewables, which is based on the free and distributed power of the sun, wind, earth, and water. The age of processing fuels is coming to a close. The development of appropriate technologies which harness free and renewable resources will now create jobs, security, and prosperity everywhere.

It is imperative that IRENA be built upon the sound and competent foundation of expertise in renewable energy generation, community power, and sustainable best practices. Such expertise is grounded in the work of Hermann Scheer, Hans Joergen Koch and their peers. Through their knowledge, experience, dedication and effort, they built the foundation upon which IRENA now stands.

Hans Joergen Koch is one of the founding fathers of IRENA who, from the beginning has been deeply involved in the actual establishment of the Agency through a constructive cooperation with all member countries. He possesses many years of proven, successful, national and international experience at a high level, and in a broad field of energy related activities. He will serve as a guarantor of well-balanced solutions that integrate the valuable work of Hermann Scheer and the interests of each individual member State.

In the same respect, Germany and Denmark have a long time, solid track record of implementing renewable energy and renewable integration best-practices. They are models of success in making community power work, and they are strongly committed to an ongoing and robust renewable energy technology transfer.

These countries and their supporting allies can guaranty immediate access to everything that is needed to quickly assist the world in transitioning to independent and distributed renewable power generation. With shared commitments of billions in foreign aid, an established research, education and development base, and an annual support of more than 500 million for RE implementation in evolving countries, it is within their scope and capacity to coalesce international efforts and effect the creation of hundreds of millions of jobs worldwide, within communities of every size.

Germany and Denmark are at the epicenter of the global renewable renaissance and their credibility and track record proves exactly what they truly stand for; renewable energy and sustainable re-development. The seat of IRENA must be located in a place that can serve as an established base of expertise and proven best practices.

Build IRENA upon the strong foundations of expertise and success, and renewable energy can become quickly adopted everywhere for a new era of global peace and prosperity.

The real physical potential of renewable energies is brilliantly demonstrated in the graphics on page 9 of the founding IRENA Brochure (and below). We encourage you to study this carefully, You will detect that there is not one place on our planet that does not have several of these plentiful sustainable resources.

Most distinguished representatives of the Founding Member Countries of IRENA, don’t go for the temptation of unfounded promises, but rather, make a very important, and wise choice that is based on a long time proven foundation and credible track record of successful renewable energy integration. Choose Bonn Germany as the Seat, elect Hans Joergen Koch from Denmark as the trusted founding Director General, and ask the original founder father of IRENA Hermann Scheer to continue to mentor this Agency so that it can grow beautiful, strong and able to truly do what it has set out to do..

Signed on behalf of the silent majority of unheard voices of this world:

Zhouqing Li, Volker Thomsen, and Patrik Snajdr

Let us all help move the true potentials of renewable energy to the forefront of our common global agenda.

We thank you and trust that in your deepest wisdom you will know this to be the right way forward.

Renewable energy is the ubiquitous source of electric power that can be made available to all.

Please view Volker’s Video at http://VolkerThomsen.com/irena-the-international-renewable-energy-agency/

Blessings around the World.

IRENA Eric Martinot Open Letter

Dear REN21,

This is an open letter on the matter of locating IRENA, which has become
a high-profile political issue in recent weeks and also a matter of
grave personal concern. I understand that REN21 should remain neutral
on this issue. Nevertheless, I would like to share my views with you.

With all due respect, I am sure that Abu Dhabi can provide important
resources for IRENA. And despite its remoteness to the majority of
renewable energy experts and experience around the world, which could
be a hindrance, IRENA could of course function there. However, there are
three issues which must be considered:

(1) Linkage with nuclear power. It appears that U.S. and French support
for IRENA in Abu Dhabi is linked with nuclear power technology deals
announced recently in the press (Note 1). Under these circumstances, an
IRENA located in Abu Dhabi would appear to be “nuclear tainted” because
the process used to found IRENA would be based on support for nuclear
power. There is also the fact that UAE has expressed its intentions to
rapidly become a “model” for promoting nuclear power (Note 2).

This raises the question of whether IRENA will be an effective change
agent for renewables (i.e., promoting renewables *instead* of nuclear
power), or will be merely an appendage to a nuclear agenda —
“sprinkling some renewables on top of our nuclear power” as it were.
This question is underlined by the term “low-carbon technology” that
France reportedly used in a recent IRENA meeting (Note 3). Will IRENA
become a de-facto “International Low-Carbon Agency,” supporting both
renewables and nuclear together? Are the original goals of IRENA being
co-opted to that end? That would be shameful!

The renewables vs. nuclear issue has been around for many years, but is
receiving more attention as carbon reduction efforts become ever more
serious. The renewable energy community should be sending the
messages that “a renewable energy future means that we don’t need
nuclear power” and “renewables are cheaper than nuclear power in the
long run.” While not absolute, it is certainly a question of balance, and
IRENA’s very existence contributes to that balance.

In good conscience, I personally would find it very difficult, or likely
impossible, to collaborate with and support a “nuclear-tainted” IRENA.

(2) Historical credibility and leadership. In my view, the primary work
of IRENA is to facilitate policy development and education around the
world. To achieve these ends, IRENA needs to be based in a country or
countries with an exemplary track record and proven commitment to
renewable energy. The credibility of the country, based on past history
and/or future targets, should count strongly. If you look at past
editions of the Renewables Global Status Report, particularly the “Top
Five Countries” table, you can see the past history and future targets
clearly for a number of countries (details in Note 4 below).

(Also, this view of IRENA is fundamentally about policy and capacity
building, not projects–another consideration in choosing location.)

(3) Decentralized vs. centralized structure. This whole discussion has
raised again the question of structure. Why should renewables, an
inherently decentralizing technology, be supported by a centralized
agency? Would it not be better for IRENA to be a decentralized agency?
IRENA would be stronger with 5-8 regional centers, with regional
directors but no centralized director general. As a founding basis for
IRENA, no regional center should have higher standing than any other. Of
course, more money will be required, and there are many political and
managerial challenges as well. But only a decentralized structure can
effectively serve the policy and facilitation needs of diverse regions
with different circumstances.

The promise of IRENA is reflected in my statement on the “Voices” page
of the IRENA website: “Today, existing public organizations are
fragmented in their approach to promoting renewable energy, and few
emphasize good policy based on real experience. Yet good policy is still
one of the highest priorities for developing robust renewable energy
markets and a growing industry. IRENA can study policy experience and
lessons and provide policy guidance to governments around the world. In
addition, the enormous need for technology development and education
among all countries – both developed and developing – means that more
coherent international efforts are absolutely necessary.”

For the reasons given above, including linkage with nuclear power and
historical credibility and leadership, locating IRENA in Abu Dhabi may
be a political choice but will not serve the promise of IRENA.

Thank you for your attention.

Respectfully yours,
Dr. Eric Martinot

Disclaimer: the views expressed in this letter are strictly those of
the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization
with which the author is affiliated. This letter is open and may be
freely circulated and cited.

(Note 1) “Obama approves US-UAE nuclear cooperation deal,”
Associated Press, 20 May 2009; “UAE, US sign bilateral agreement for
peaceful nuclear energy cooperation,” Gulf News, 22 May 2009;
“Further nuclear commitments from UAE,” World Nuclear News, 9 April
2009; “UAE aims for nuclear power,” Energy Tribune, 28 Jan 2009;
“UAE and France sign landmark nuclear cooperation agreement,” Gulf
News, 16 January 2008; “Sarkozy backs French nuclear plant sale bid
to UAE,” Bloomberg, 26 May 2009.

(Note 2) Op cit, Gulf News, 22 May 2009.

(Note 3) France detailed a “low-carbon” agenda for the IRENA “retreat”
in Vienna, 14-17 April 2009, according to a number of observers.

(Note 4) The “Top Five Countries” table from the Renewables Global
Status Report 2009 Update lists the following countries in two or more
categories: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the
Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.
(Although, to be fair, other countries might be considered leaders if
per-capita indicators were used as well, a pending issue that may
finally be addressed in the 2010 edition of the report.) Further,
countries listed as #1 in at least one category are China, Germany,
Spain, and the United States — these four countries were also the
investment leaders in 2008, by a large margin compared to any others.
Denmark does not appear in the Top Five Countries table, but has one of
the highest targets for future share of renewable energy of any country
(30% of final energy by 2020, along with Austria 34% and Sweden 49%;
see Table R7 of the Renewables 2007 Global Status Report); Denmark also
has decades of experience with renewables.
Abu Dhabi recently announced a
renewable electricity target of 7 percent by 2020; this compares with
many countries with electricity-share targets in the range of 15-40% and
several countries with electricity-share targets in the range 60-90%
(see Table R8 of the 2007 report and Section 4 of the 2009 report).

Declaration on the Formation of IRENA

Open Letter from The Nordic FolkeCenter for Renewable Energy

Denmark,  June 2009

Declaration on the formation of IRENA

We, as long-term supporters of renewable energy and representatives of prominent organisations working in this field bring the following letter to the attention of the delegates from IRENA signatory countries, by paying full respect to all the delegate’s forthcoming decisions at the second meeting of the Preparatory Commission in Egypt on June 29 and 30 2009.
We recommend that Dr. Hermann Scheer be appointed Founding Chair for the formation period of IRENA to directly support the Director General.
It must be acknowledged that the breakthrough represented by the establishment of IRENA can be in great part credited to the work of Dr. Hermann Scheer. Together with the two non-profit international organisations under his leadership, EUROSOLAR and World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE), he has struggled for two decades to achieve the founding of IRENA. Dr. Scheer pioneered the concept that shapes IRENA today. Numerous obstacles on the long way to IRENA have been overcome through his outstanding international leadership for the advancement of renewable energies. He first lobbied for the idea to establish an IRENA on many international conferences and succeeded in initiating the decisions that were crucial to obtain the support of Germany for launching IRENA at the government level. All these facts clearly indicate that IRENA is connected inextricably with Dr. Scheer’s vision and work.
Furthermore, through his seminal books on renewable energy strategies, his ability to empower people and to form strong alliances, and as a successful legislator for renewable energy policies in his native country he has inspired a generation of decision makers, politicians, parliaments, and organisations, as well as concerned individuals, about the imperative necessity of implementing a new energy paradigm for the service of humankind.
The German government refrained from nominating Dr. Scheer for the post of IRENA’s Director General because it decided to concentrate all of its efforts to ensure that Bonn becomes the headquarters of IRENA. This decision happened with the consent of Hermann Scheer who supported Bonn as seat for IRENA from the early beginning.
The broad acceptance of IRENA proves that the agency is directly linked to a worldwide hope to overcome the inherent dangers and shortcomings associated with the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels. Renewable energies offer unique opportunities to achieve a secure and independent energy supply that does not harm the environment, the climate and human health. Only renewable sources can reliably satisfy the increasing energy demand of a growing world population and their energy needs. Achieving the full potential of renewable sources swiftly and comprehensively is the central challenge of the 21st century and represents a unique chance for humanity to thrive and prosper.
Therefore, we consider the formation of IRENA unthinkable without Dr. Scheer’s essential contributions and firmly believe that he should be directly involved in the early leadership of IRENA to help ensure its success.

IRENA must act as a straightforward international advocate for renewable energy. As an international governmental organisation, IRENA has the opportunity and responsibility to champion the use of renewable sources everywhere, without interference into the legislative competence of governments.

IRENA must inspire the adoption of effective policies and best-practice solutions that accelerate and reinforce the rapid introduction of all renewable energy options. IRENA must proactively commit governments and the public to become aware of the advantages of adopting a new and sustainable energy future for all nations, with special attention to the needs of developing countries, which can be satisfied through the multiple economic and societal benefits related to the adoption of renewable energy strategies.
We therefore urge the signatories of IRENA who will come together for the decisions at the next meeting of IRENA in Egypt to harness Hermann Scheer’s talents and potential by entrusting him with the extraordinary role of Founding Chair to thereby directly support IRENA’s Director General.
We all have experienced his inspiration and achievements that are firmly based on his comprehensive view of the obstacles, practical solutions, and opportunities related to renewable energy. Therefore, we are convinced that his involvement is indispensable to ensure the success of IRENA’s work.
First signatories:

Franz Alt
Journalist, writer, guest lecturer, Germany

Prof. Mustapha Ayaita
Chair, MENA Institute University Kassel, Morocco

Heinrich Bartelt
Treasurer, World Wind Energy Association

Marianne Bender
Chair, OVE, Danish Renewable Energy Organisation

Jens-Peter Bonde
Former Member of the European Parliament, Denmark

Prof. Godfrey Boyle
Director, Energy & Environment Research Unit, Open Univ. Milton Keynes, UK

Lester Brown
President, Earth Policy Institute, USA

Prof. Federico Butera
Head, Research Unit Energy and Buildings, University Milan, Italy

Prof. Luciana Castellina
Former Member of the European Parliament, Italy

Ole Vagn Christensen
Member of the Danish Parliament, Social Democratic Party

Roberto Cogliati Dezza
President, Lega Ambiente, Italy

Peter Danielsson
Board member, SERO, National Organisation of Sweden’s Energy Associations

Prof. Peter Droege
University of Liechtenstein, Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning

Michael Eckhart
President, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)

Dr. José Etcheverry
President, Canadian Renewable Energy Alliance

Hans-Josef Fell
Member of the German Parliament, Green Group

Anders Fisker
Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassador, Danish Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Dörte Fouquet
Director, European Renewable Energies Federation

Paul Gipe
Author, advocate, renewable energy industry analyst, USA

Prof. Herbert Girardet
Co-Founder and Director of Programmes, World Future Council

Stefan Gsänger
Secretary General, World Wind Energy Association

Wolfgang Hein
Former Head of Division, Energy and Environment Affairs, Austrian Chancellery

Prof. Dieter Holm
President, ISES (International Solar Energy Society) Africa

Christine Hornstein
Executive Director, ISES (International Solar Energy Society)

Prof. Frede Hvelplund
Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark

Bianca Jagger
President, World Future Council

Dr. Anil Kane
President, World Wind Energy Association

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
International Environmental Advocate, USA

Ruth N. Kiwanuka
CEO, Joint Energy and Environment Projects, Uganda

Klaus Knecht
Chair, Renewable Energy Capacity Building Program INWENT, Germany

Stefan Kohler
CEO, German Energy Agency

Andriy Konechenkov
Chairman, Ukrainian Wind Energy Association

Dr. Hans Kronberger
Former Member of the European Parliament, Austria

Jane Kruse
Program Leader, World Wind Energy Institute

Jeremy Leggett
Founder and Executive Chairman, Solar Century, UK

Zhouqing Li
President TISET, Beijing, China

Prof. Wu Libin
Secretary of Foreign Affairs, BIOMA / BRTC / China Biogas Society (CBS)

Amory B. Lovins
Chairman, Rocky Mountain Institute, USA

Preben Maegaard
Director, Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energy, Denmark

Ulla Meixner
Chair, Financial Advisory Committee German Wind Energy Association

Prof. Niels I. Meyer
Emeritus Professor of Physics, Technical University of Denmark

Christine Milne
Senator, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Spokesperson on Climate Change

Prof. Masataka Murahara
Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan

Raymond Myles
Secretary General cum Chief Executive INSEDA, India

Hermann Oelsner
President, African Wind Energy Association

Leoluca Orlando
Member of the Italian Parliament, Former Mayor of Palermo, Italy

Prof. Galal Osman
President, Egyptian Wind Energy Association

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah
Special Representative of the UN Secretary -General in West Africa

Mauro Passos
President, Instituto IDEAL, Brazil

Prof. Josep Puig
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain

Ermete Realacci
Member of the Italian Parliament, Honorary President, Lega Ambiente, Italy

Dr. Rudolf Rechsteiner
Member of the National Council, Switzerland

Harald N. Roestvik
Solar Pioneer, www.sunlab.no, Norway

Mechtild Rothe
Vice President European Parliament, President EUFORES

Prof. Takeo S. Saitoh
Ex-President, Japan Solar Energy Society

Ganesh Ram Shrestha
Director, Centre for Rural Technology, Nepal

Prof. Lumin Shrestha
Centre for Rural Technology, Nepal

Prof. Erico Spinadel
President, Argentinian Wind Energy Association

IIDA Tetsunari
Executive Director, Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, Japan

Volker Thomsen
President Ret., St. Lawrence College Kingston, Canada

Dr. Ibrahim Togola
Director, Mali Folkecenter for Renewable Energy

Jakob von Uexkull
Founder, World Future Council

Izumi Ushiyama
President, Ashikaga Institute of Technology, Japan

Prof. Tanay Sidki Uyar
Vice President, World Wind Energy Association

Dr. Gu Weidong
Chief Scientist, Wind Power Project, National Basic Research Program, China

Prof. E.U. von Weizsäcker
Former President, Wuppertal Institute, Germany

Moneef R. Zou’bi
Director General, Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS)

Open Letter to the Members of IRENA

Open Letter from The International Renewable Energy Alliance

17 June 2009,

Bonn/Freiburg/London/Reykjavik/Stockholm and Launceston

To the Founding Members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)Distinguished Representatives of the Founding Members of IRENA,

The International Renewable Energy Alliance (REN Alliance) and its five member associations representing all major renewable energy technologies have been supportive of the initiative to create an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) for many years.The members of the REN Alliance have encouraged many Governments to join IRENA and have strongly welcomed the foundation of IRENA in Bonn in January this year. We are very pleased about the great success with already 100 founding IRENA members. For this success we would like to congratulate and thank all governments and involved persons,following the work of the initiating governments of Germany, Denmark and Spain.

The main reason why the REN Alliance has been so strongly supporting IRENA is the urgent need for an independent body on the international level which can further the cause of renewable energy based on the authority of Governments from all over the world. Existing international organisations have not been able to fulfil such a role and to provide sufficient leadership in this, partly because they are also occupied with other important tasks, sometimes involving interests which may rather be adverse to an accelerated deployment of renewable energy.

Soon you as the IRENA founding members will make two decisions which will be crucial for the future work and success of IRENA – the seat of administration as well as the director general.This REN Alliance sees it as basic precondition that the agency can work independently,fully and exclusively committed to renewable energies and representing broad expertise in renewable energies.


It seems of essential importance that the IRENA headquarters is situated in an environment which is favourable for renewable energy. It will be beneficial for IRENA if there is a high degree of leading expertise and concrete experience in renewable energy deployment available in the vicinity of IRENA H.Q., be it in government, business or science.Besides, we are of the opinion that the interim headquarters of IRENA should be based in a country that has championed the concept of IRENA at least over the last five years. We suspect that, with many other countries becoming involved, there may well be a call for the
seat to be rotated periodically in the future.

IRENA Director General

The Interim Director General has to be an independent personality with a clear commitment to renewable energy, including a clear track record and long-term involvement in renewable energy. It is essential that such a person has the highest level of management skills and a background conducive to the goal of IRENA: to accelerate the sustainable use of all forms of renewable energies worldwide. He/she must be able to integrate the various approaches and interests amongst the Member States as well as within the renewable energy communities. Again, the position of the Director General should be time-bound, and should reflect the international remit of the Agency.

In Summary:

We firmly believe in the need for a strong IRENA to achieve the goal of an accelerated deployment of renewable energy in all parts of the world. In this sense, we would like to encourage all IRENA Founding Members to make a decision which gives a real push for renewable energy worldwide. Industrialised as well as developing countries will benefit from this commitment being no longer dependent on resource constrained fossil fuels and/or nuclear energy resources.

Once again, we congratulate the Founding Members for their courageous step when they decided to create IRENA. The foundation of IRENA is a great breakthrough on the international level for renewable energies and IRENA has the potential to become the most important achievement reached so far. As International Renewable Energy Alliance we are ready and willing to contribute as much as we can to the total success of IRENA.

With kind regards,

International Renewable Energy Alliance
Hon. Peter Rae AO, Chairman

Arni Ragnasson, International Geothermal Association IGA, Tel: +354 588 4437; Fax:+354 588 4431; iga@samorka.is; www.iga.igg.cnr.it

Richard Taylor, International Hydropower Association IHA, Tel: +44 20 8652 5290; Fax:+44 20 8643 5600; iha@hydropower.org; www.hydropower.org

Christine Hornstein, International Solar Energy Society ISES, Tel: +49 761 45906-91;Fax: +49 761 45906-99; public.relations@ises.org; www.ises.org

Kent Nyström, World Bioenergy Association WBA, Tel: +46 706768538; Fax: +46 844170 89; info@worldbioenergy.org; www.worldbioenergy.org

Stefan Gsänger, World Wind Energy Association WWEA, Tel: +49 228 36940-80; Fax:+49 228 36940-84; secretariat@wwindea.org; www.wwindea.org