The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today to advance the global electrification of the energy sector based on renewables and energy efficiency. Signed by IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera and EPRI’s President and CEO Arshad Mansoor, the agreement provides the framework for cooperation in pursuit of the shared objectives to promote a sustainable energy transition around the world. On the sidelines of the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Environment, Climate and Energy in Naples today, La Camera met with Katie Jereza, EPRI’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs, to discuss next steps of the cooperation.
Under the agreement, IRENA and EPRI will exchange knowledge and industry specific research for example on the electrification with renewables, the digitalisation of energy, electro-mobility as well as the uptake of variable renewables (VRE) through long-term planning and sector coupling.
Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA said: “Today, renewable power technologies dominate the global market for new electricity generation capacity, as they have become the cheapest sources of electricity in many markets. As electrifying with renewables is now the most sensible economic choice, we need to ensure that renewable electricity can be integrated into power systems at mass scale maximising benefits at the lowest costs. Our collaboration with EPRI will be instrumental in advising countries on electrifying energy demand while delivering on global climate and sustainability goals, boosting economic growth, competitiveness and job creation.”
“Renewables have shifted from a promising clean energy resource to an essential component of a low-carbon energy mix,” said EPRI’s President and CEO Arshad Mansoor. “Whether you’re working to achieve bold climate goals or bringing light to a developing nation, renewables play an important role in meeting the world’s evolving energy needs. Through this agreement, EPRI and IRENA can together identify more effective ways to harness renewable power for a cleaner energy future.”
The energy transition will require an almost complete decarbonisation of the electricity sector by 2050, complemented by rapid electrification of end-use such as transport and industry.
IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook sees electricity as a main energy carrier, increasing from today’s 21% to more than 50% of total energy consumption globally by 2050. Over the same period, 90% of total power needs would be supplied by renewables, requiring an eight-fold increase in annual growth competed today. By then, two-thirds of all installed renewable capacity would come from VRE like solar PV and wind energy.
Acknowledging the importance of ‘flexible’ power systems as a key enabler for the integration of renewables and particularly VRE, IRENA and EPRI also agreed to share ideas and best practices to help the electricity sector identify issues, technology gaps, and broader needs that can be addressed through effective research and development programs for the benefit of society.
EPRI’s broad-based research to enable a cleaner energy future includes accelerating the development and demonstration of low- and zero-carbon energy technologies. Through the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative (LCRI), EPRI and the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) are jointly leading a global collaborative targeting fundamental advances in a variety of low-carbon technologies required for deep decarbonization, such as hydrogen, ammonia, synthetic fuels, and biofuels.