The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), to strengthen their existing cooperation on rural electrification and universal access to energy. The MoU was signed in the margins of the fifth International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC) by IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera and ARE Chief Executive Officer David Lecoque.
Off-grid renewable energy solutions provide an opportunity to achieve universal access to energy without undermining climate goals, making them critical to achieving a just energy transition. According to IRENA, decentralised renewables create employment opportunities in productive uses ranging from agri-food and healthcare to communications and commerce in local communities. “Building out the deployment of off-grid renewable energy in low- and medium-income countries is crucial to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and delivering positive outcomes for people and communities in rural settings,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. “This partnership brings together two organisations with complementary strengths but a singular aim to drive inclusive, equitable development through the widespread adoption of renewable energy.”
“ARE is very proud to vastly scale up its cooperation with IRENA to boost distributed renewables and the clean energy transition, underpinned by the ambitious MoU signed today. Building on ARE’s enormous growth in 2021 and IRENA’s public sector leadership, this landmark partnership demonstrates the powerful benefits of strong cooperation between key governmental and private sector actors to achieve our shared objectives,” said David Lecoque, CEO of ARE. The MoU represents an extension to an existing partnership between IRENA and ARE that has seen the two parties work closely since 2012, notably delivering five successful IOREC meetings in four countries. IOREC has quickly established itself as the preeminent global meeting place for the off-grid renewable energy community.
Steady cost reductions and technological innovation have strengthened the business case for off-grid renewables as a means to expand rural electricity access. However, accelerating the deployment of mini-grid and stand-alone solutions will depend also on stable policies and regulations, along with dedicated funds and de-risking instruments for renewables. Moving forward under the new agreement, IRENA and ARE will jointly work on de-risking investments in energy access and decentralised renewable energy and on activities aimed at increasing private sector participation.
The two parties will also exchange expertise on emerging delivery models for the deployment of decentralised renewable energy solutions and collaborate on capacity development in issues pertaining to skills development, improving resilience of decentralised renewable energy projects and renewable energy entrepreneurship support.