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Russia Joins IRENA

In late July 2015, Russia became the member of IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency. Environmental NGOs hope that this is going to help boost Russia’s renewable energy sector development.

The procedure for Russia’s membership approval was initiated around a year ago. On August 29, 2014, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a governmental decree on Russia’s joining IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency (http://www.irena.org/).

The proposal for an international agency dedicated towards renewable energy was made back in 1981 at the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy in Nairobi. In 2009, IRENA was founded to provide support for the use of all types of renewable energy sources. At the time of the foundation, 75 countries signed the organization’s Statute.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organization that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a center of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. IRENA promotes 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, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.

With a mandate from countries around the world, IRENA encourages governments to adopt enabling policies for renewable energy investments, provides practical tools and policy advice to accelerate renewable energy deployment, and facilitates knowledge sharing and technology transfer to provide clean, sustainable energy for the world’s growing population.

With more than 140 states and the European Union as members, and active participation by many more signatories and applicants for membership around the world, IRENA helps countries achieve their clean energy potential and promotes renewable resources and technologies as the key to a sustainable future.

Membership in IRENA makes it easier to access all kinds of information related to renewable energy sources, including technical data. Becoming a member of IRENA allows Russia to gain access to information on existing practices related to the use and implementation of renewables, to the latest research results. It will also allow Russia to take part in the development of international standards, as well as have an impact on the development of renewable energy all over the world, some experts say. Alternative energy lobbyists and environmental NGOs hope that having joined IRENA, Russia will stop being the big white spot on the renewable energy map of the world.

RSEU Climate Secretariat wrote about one of IRENA’s latest very interesting projects in the article Interactive atlas will help to assess the potential of renewable energy.

From 2013 until 2020, Russia is planning to launch around 6GW worth of new energy generating capacity based on renewable energy sources. According to an assessment by the International Energy Agency (the IEA), Russia’s technical renewable energy potential is five times larger than the country’s annual primary energy resource consumption. As for the economic potential of renewables in Russia, it is said to be able to satisfy one-third of Russian economy’s annual energy demand. In reality, though, Russian renewable energy sector is far from being as impressive, compared to most other countries. Only 1% of energy in Russia is produced with the use of renewable energy sources. By 2020, there are plans to increase this share only up to 4.5%.

The Climate Secretariat of Russian Social Ecological Union has made a Report, where has analyzed the barriers and opportunities for RE development in the regions.