Abu Dhabi, UAE: According to an announcement from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), key stakeholders from the off-grid renewable energy sector — including policymakers, financiers, the private sector and development institutions — will gather from September 30 to October 1, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, to push forward the global off-grid agenda. The third International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition (IOREC), organised by IRENA, in partnership with the Kenyan Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), aims to improve electricity access by scaling up off-grid renewables, said the announcement.
The announcement mentioned that experts at the last IOREC, held in Manila in 2014, underlined that off-grid renewables offer a cost-effective, clean and reliable option to expand electricity access in rural, peri-urban and island contexts. To achieve this, it added, there must be a holistic approach towards energy access – taking into account water, agriculture, health, telecommunication and education.
IOREC 2016, the announcement revealed, will focus on four overarching themes: Stand-alone systems for rapid expansion of electricity access; technology innovation to unlock new opportunities; mini-grid development to meet growing demand and socio-economic benefits of off-grid renewable energy system deployment. Participants, the announcement said, will share experiences and best practices on the design and implementation of enabling policies, tailored financing schemes, innovative business models and technology applications to boost off-grid development.
“Achieving 100 per cent electricity access by 2030 will require the pace of electricity expansion to nearly double – but this has never been more possible,” said Adnan Z Amin, Director-General of IRENA. “Dramatic cost reductions in recent years have made renewable technologies the most economic option for off-grid electrification – even cheaper than diesel-fired generation or kerosene-based conventional lighting in majority of contexts. Off-grid renewables can spur socio-economic growth while also contributing to multiple Sustainable Development Goals.”
He added that an increasing number of governments, businesses and individuals are recognising the potential of off-grid renewables as a solution to energy access issues. He elaborated: “In 2015, USD 276 million was invested in the off-grid solar sector alone, a 15-fold increase over 2012. We now must further accelerate off-grid renewable energy deployment, not just for access, but for economic prosperity and poverty eradication.”
In parallel to the conference, the Agency informed, ARE will organise an exhibition for the private sector to showcase renewable energy projects and products. It added that the registration for the event is now open and more information is available at www.iorec.org.