What is IRENA? Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, IRENA’s membership consists of 138 countries and  the European Union. IRENA is an intergovernmental organisation focusing on renewable energies. IRENA was created as an independent organisation and act independently of any U.N. body. In the long term however, integrating IRENA into the United Nations should be considered. IRENA concentrates on alternative energies in both industrialised and developing countries. The overarching goal of IRENA is a rapid transition towards the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy worldwide. In this regard, IRENA will increase the contribution of renewable energy to environmental and climate protection, economic growth, and social cohesion, including poverty alleviation and intergenerational equity.



  • History of IRENA
  • News items
History of IRENA

 The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was officially established in Bonn on 26 January 2009. Mandated by these governments worldwide, IRENA aspires to become the main driving force for promoting a rapid transition towards the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy on a global scale. Acting as the global voice for renewable energiesOn its second session in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, which took place from 29-30 June 2009, the Preparatory Commission designated Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, as the interim headquarters. Bonn will host IRENA’s centre of innovation and technology and Vienna will become the Agency’s liaison office for cooperation with other organisations active in the field of renewable energy. Moreover, the French candidate, Ms. Hélène Pelosse, was appointed to become the Interim Director-General of IRENA.

The Preparatory Commission comprises all countries that signed the IRENA Statute, and acts as the main decision-making body until the entry into force of the Statute after 25 ratifications. The current number of ratifications is at eight, with the ratification process ongoing for several Member States. During the third session of the Preparatory Commission decisions will be made on the 2010 Work Programme and Budget as well as on the interim financial and staff regulations and rules. See

Growing strength.
October 2010 – Irena was founded by 75 states in January 2009 and grew almost two-fold within 21 months. 148 countries and the European Union have signed Irena’s statutes and 42 have ratified them. Among them are 48 African, 38 European, 17 American and 10 Australian/Oceanic states. Mali, Senegal and Bangladesh were the last three countries to ratify.
Signatories: As of January 2013, 104 States and European Union are Members of the Agency and 55 States are IRENA Signatories/applicants for membership, but excluding China, which is joining early 2013 – membership information

January 2011: IRENA’s “optimal” annual budget would be between $250m and $300m in five years as the Abu Dhabi-based body does more to promote sustainable energy. Such growth would mark a 22-fold increase over the agency’s current budget of $13.5m. The United Arab Emirates lobbied successfully to become headquarters for the agency securing support from more nations than rivals Austria and Germany. The headquarters will move to Masdar City in Abu Dhabi from mid-2013. link  [The building will be the first in history to produce more energy than it consumes.]

June 2015: IRENA opens super-sustainable headquarters in Masdar City. The IRENA headquarters building is the first in the UAE to achieve a four-pearl Estidama construction rating for energy, water, and carbon efficiency. link

News items

April 2017: Iceland magma drilling project may revive giant UK power cable. Scientists will study the possibility of producing geothermal energy from magma for the first time, in a $100 million project in Iceland, which if successful could produce up to 10 times more energy than from a conventional well. Producing geothermal energy from magma would enable Iceland to export more energy and could also revive a plan to build a power cable from Iceland to Britain (delayed due Britain’s vote to leave the EU) to provide power to British homes, in what would be the world’s longest power interconnector. link     

January 2016: Rapid switch to renewable energy can put Paris climate goals within reach. The IRENA Sixth session Assembly in Abu Dhabi is the first major global gathering since Paris, and is seen as an important test of countries’ readiness to put Paris plans into action. Countries can deliver on the promises by rapidly scaling up wind and solar power to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030. Irena said those goals were within reach if countries move fast. Scaling up renewable energy by 2030 would provide about half of the emissions reductions needed to hold warming to 2C. Energy efficiency could make up the rest. link

January 2014: African Clean Energy Corridor. Nineteen countries have committed to developing the East Africa Clean Energy Corridor to help the continent leap-frog to renewable energy in the face of rising energy demand. Led by IRENA, stakeholders believe a regional approach can attract the most investment and optimize the renewable energy mix. The corridor will span eastern Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, where transmission infrastructure is being built to meet growing energy demand. link

January 2013: IRENA launches world atlas on renewable energy – website link

January 2013: IRENA launches world atlas on renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has unveiled the first world atlas on renewable energy, a resource that maps all countries’ potential. It answers such questions as: What share of a country’s energy mix can be supplied by renewable energy? Where are the resources located? What is the most cost-effective combination of technologies? What volume of investment does this represent and is there a market large enough to create a supply chain? The Atlas combines data and maps from governments, leading technical institutes and private companies worldwide. It will inform policy development and energy planning, and support investors entering renewable energy markets. Currently, it charts solar and wind resources, and will expand to other renewable sources in 2013-2014. So far, 37 countries have contributed information to the atlas. link           

January 2011: Expansion in progress. The first session of the Assembly of IRENA takes place April 2011 Abu Dhabi, when 10 more countries are likely to sign and ratify the treaty including the United States. China and Saudi Arabia are also studying the possibility of joining, while Russia and Brazil are observing IRENA’s progress.

January 2013: China to join IRENA as renewable targets increase. IRENA launches an ambitious goal to double global renewable energy capacity by 2030. The organization believes its goal is attainable, but countries will have to step up their efforts. Renewables currently consist of about 15% of the global energy mix. Annual renewable power generation will have to increase from 110 GW to 150 GW in order to realize the REMAP 2030 goal, according to IRENA. A major factor in reaching this goal is China, which announced its intent to become a full member of IRENA this week. link