Category Archives: IRENA

The dispatch centre at

Integration of RE – made simple

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“Why make it complicated when it is simple” might be the motto of – the Danish Transmission System Operator, at least when it come to explain the fundamentals regarding integration of variable renewable energy. But of course the have the experience, with 55% of the electricity consumption in December 2013 delivered by wind power.

At the IRENA assembly in Abu Dhabi, Peter Jørgensen, Vice President for International Relations, gave a short, but very clear presentation of the challenges, means and the preconditions for a successful grid-integration.

The main challenges for variable RE compared to conventional power production is how to develop the energy system to maximize the value of the generation as it come. The characteristics for these RE technologies – the variability of the renewable resources, the location of the energy production – which might be far from load centres or as household connector photovoltaic, and the cost structure with large upfront investments and almost zero marginal energy costs – stresses the “old” energy system and the “old” thinking about how to run the power system and power markets.

The Danish energy system a January night with high wind power production

The Danish energy system a January night with high wind power production

In order to solve this challenge, focus should be on grid development and flexibility measures. Peter Jørgensen underlined at the presentation the fact, that investments in transmission lines are much cheaper than investments in power generation, and strong transmission grids will be able to balance RE sources in larger areas. Furthermore competitive electricity markets are necessary to ensure optimal utilization of the transmissions grid in a flexible way.

The flexibility measures includes grid codes to ensure stability, and clear price signals reflecting the system balance to incentivize dynamic response. The SmartGrid concept should be replaced by SmartEnergy to optimize RE utilization across energy sector and support price flexibility. Last but least, new operational procedures and forecasting tools are needed to ensure efficient system balancing and security of supply.

To make this happen, a political commitment and regulatory framework is a prerequisite, together with long term grid planning and a similar coherent energy system planning to ensure the optimal use of RE in all sectors. And a new paradigm for system operation is a must, ensuring the right price mechanisms for flexibility in generation and demand, and ensuring a dynamic and efficient system balancing and security of supply

Ok, implementation of means and preconditions might not be simple but a clear picture of what is needed and why, must be the starting point. And I think that Energinet’s presentation hit the nail here!

See the presentation here.

Liu Qi at IRENAs 4. assembly session

China now active member of IRENA

China high RE-ambitions confirmed by entering the International Renewable Energy Agency

After a period as observer, China has now formally entered IRENA as member country. At the 4th session of the IRENA assembly Liu Qi, the vice director of China’s National Energy Administration and head of the Chinese delegation, recognized the work carried out of IRENA as a very important part of the global development of renewable energy. International cooperation is necessary to promote RE, and IRENA is a good platform for China’s engagement in such cooperation.

China’s active involvement in IRENA is a clear sign on the Chinese governments commitment to an ambitious development of renewable energy in China. The activities within the framework of IRENA will help in overcoming the barriers in China for reaching the RE targets. Furthermore China sees IRENA as a platform for strong international cooperation on removing trade barriers for RE globally and for strengthen the deployment of RE in the developing countries. China will actively support this development by support to capacity building and training activities to promote knowledge and state-of-the-art solutions globally.

Successful IRENA session

The fourth session of the IRENA assembly with more than 600 participants showed a consolidated organisation with strong support from the member countries and with useful products to showcase. The IRENA REMAP was presented, giving clear indications that it is possible to reach the UN targets of doubling the share of RE towards 2030 compared with 2010, and that it can be done without additional costs, especially taking into account the potential for enhanced energy efficiency. Also the IRENA cost analyses and analyses of job creation give a good platform for dissemination of trustworthy information about the real possibilities for RE in the global energy system. See more about the IRENA activities and the results from the assembly at the IRENA web site.

IRENA Africa meeting Jan 2014

Africa Clean Energy Corridor – Warming up to the IRENAs annual meeting 18 to 19 January

Africa Clean Energy Corridor – Warming up to the IRENAs annual meeting

IRENA have it’s fourth session of the Assembly in Abu Dhabi today and tomorrow. For me it is a special occasion since China formally will be member of IRENA, hopefully to the benefit for both IRENA and China. More about this in following blog posts.

Yesterday – as a warm up to the Assembly – focus is on Africa and how to establish a Africa Clean Energy Corridor – from Cairo to Cape Town. A number of ministers from Eastern and Souther Africa Power Pool countries discussed the potential benefits of a large scale regional initiative.

The background for the discussion is, that the current energy supply in the area is dominated by fossil fuels, the energy demand is rapidly growing, and so is the exchange of energy between the countries through new interconnectors. The potential for renewable energy (RE) usage is very high, but without special initiatives fossil fuel technologies will probably continue to play the major role in the energy supply in the future.

Among the main challenges for the deployment of RE are how to make such project bankable, and how to reduce investor risk. Also lack of knowledge about RE technologies in the different countries is blocking for a rapid development, and furthermore lack of transmission capacity might be a serious barrier for the efficient utilization of the huge RE potential, which are uneven distributed in the Eastern and Southern Africa.

The ministers and representatives for the participating countries pointed to the need for active policy actions and determination, as well as a common understanding between politicians about the possibilities for RE in the region. Capacity building is considered as an very important activity for enabling a more rapid deployment of RE, and also the importance of electricity connections, not only between the countries but also to areas outside of the region was emphasized as a necessary next step.

A partnership panel supported the overall picture drawn by the ministers. China as example emphasized the need to actively promote RE before fossil fuels and to pay attention to the development of the infrastructure to integrate RE.

As a conclusion of the meeting the involved countries approved a final communique, which commit the countries to work with IRENA on the following Action Agenda to promote and accelerate the development of the Africa Clean Energy Corridor:

i. Zoning and Resource Assessment: Partner with expert institutions to identify zones for the development of renewable power plants in areas of high resource potential and routes for the efficient transmission of electricity to load centres. IRENA should expand its Global Renewable Energy Atlas to help identify promising development zones.

ii. Country and Regional Planning: Work with regulatory and planning bodies and expert institutions, including at the regional level, to encourage integrated resource planning that fully considers renewable power options to optimize investments in generation and transmission infrastructure. IRENA should also support the inclusion of more renewable power in country and regional plans by providing targeted information and data, especially on the declining costs of renewable energy technology.

iii. Enabling Frameworks for Investment: Cooperate closely with international financial institutions to encourage innovative financing structures, such as loan guarantees, that reduce risk and leverage government and donor resources. IRENA should support the development of government policies to enable investments in renewables and the creation of bankable project proposals through the Project Navigator.

iv. Capacity Building: Work with regional bodies, countries, donors and research institutions to build the human and institutional capacity to plan, construct and operate power systems with a greater share of renewable generation. In this context, IRENA should facilitate the sharing of best practices and lessons learnt.

v. Public Information: Raise awareness on the Africa Clean Energy Corridor at the global, regional, and country levels to promote the benefits of the Corridor in providing secure, sustainable and affordable energy to meet rising energy demand.

The communique will be presented at the Assembly session tomorrow as the basis for the next years’ platform for cooperation between IRENA and the Eastern and Southern Africa.

Read more here