IRENA identifies innovations for cost-effective renewables

Jack Unwin 20 February 2019 (Last Updated February 20th, 2019 08:45)

An International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report offers insights into how innovations can lower renewable energy costs.

IRENA identifies innovations for cost-effective renewables
Adnan Amin presents the IRENA report to the European Commission. Credit: IRENA

An International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report offers insights into how innovations can lower renewable energy costs.

“Innovation Landscape for a Renewable-Powered Future: solutions to integrate variable renewables” was presented by outgoing IRENA director-general Adnan Amin at the European Union (EU) commission in Brussels.

It outlines 30 key innovations and 11 solutions in development by companies that could make the power system more flexible, allowing for increased, cost-effective use of renewables, including the use of blockchain, community ownership models and the internet of things.

According to IRENA, the report shows how synergies between different innovative solutions in business models, market design, enabling technologies and system operation are lowering the cost of integrating high shares of variable renewable energy (VRE) while making energy production, transmission and consumption more flexible and empowering a new generation of energy consumers.

The report states that learning from leading countries in VRE integration will help to replicate and accelerate the process elsewhere.

The EU currently leads the way with VRE, with a near 15% share in annual electricity generation.

Amin said: “Europe has shown tremendous leadership in initiating the system-wide innovations needed to support the widespread adoption of renewables and decarbonise the global economy.

“The region’s success shows us that innovation is creating an energy transformation that is technically feasible and economically attractive. Innovation is the engine powering the energy transition and the global pace of innovation is accelerating.

“IRENA’s new report will provide a clear, navigable and comprehensive guide on innovations being piloted around the world, aiming to support informed decision-making by all countries to deploy low-cost renewables and accelerate the global energy transition further.”

EU commissioner for energy and climate action Miguel Arias Cañete added: “The EU has already started the modernisation and transformation towards a climate neutral economy.

“Implementing the EU’s Clean Energy package will further boost innovation, and the EU can continue to show leadership and support the rest of the world by exporting innovative solutions in the fight against climate change. Innovation is central to our efforts, and this report from IRENA is a valuable contribution to become the world’s first major economy to go climate neutral by 2050.”