Last week the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) held the third International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC) in Nairobi, Kenya, where it disclosed that off-grid renewables could provide the majority of electric generation needed to achieve universal access to the economic power of electricity.
“Access to electricity is a central building block for socio-economic development. It empowers communities to increase income and productivity, gain access to healthcare and education, enhance water and food security, and improve general well-being,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Thankfully, a confluence of factors including cost declines and technology innovations, are making it more possible than ever to achieve universal electricity access through off-grid renewables.”
Currently roughly 15 percent of the world lacks access to electricity, the agency said. It added that off-grid solutions like wind and solar power can provide an estimated 60 percent of the additional generation needed to ensure everyone has access to electricity.
To get there, the conference focussed on four themes to address electrification in rural areas and developing nations. The themes were stand-alone systems to quickly expand access, technology to unlock new opportunities, developing mini-grids and the socio-economic benefits of off-grid renewable energy system deployment.
“Off-grid renewable energy technologies represent an opportunity for transformative change in the way we approach electrification,” Amin said. “IOREC offers a platform to share the work being conducted in this space, and define future work on the topic that will be vital to achieving global sustainable development goals.”
Timelines are getting shorter, too. For example, ”Kenya is committed to ensuring universal access to energy by 2020. This will be achieved through exploitation of the locally available energy sources including off-grid solutions," said Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter. That country is interested in local and international private sector players to invest in its energy deployment.
During the event IRENA released three reports to support the goals of the conference. The new reports are: Policies and Regulations for Private Sector Renewable Energy Mini-grid,
IRENA Innovation Outlook: Renewable Mini-grids and Renewable Energy Benefits: Decentralized Solutions in the Agri-food Chain.Tweet