ECN and IRENA map energy collaborations

IRENA’s main office is located in Abu Dhabi.
Source: I-Stock

ECN has acquired a new, important client: the International Renewable Energy Agency or IRENA. IRENA, with headquarters in Abu Dhabi, was founded in 2009 and has 94 member states, which makes it the youngest international organisation and the only one that focuses specifically on sustainable energy. It is a clear sign of the global sense of urgency to take joint action in promoting sustainable energy.

Growing community

The idea behind the establishment of IRENA is that the community of green energy users is growing rapidly. More knowledge is becoming available and increasingly more good practises are available for sharing. IRENA aims to fill knowledge gaps, to ensure that existing knowledge is accessible to all and that new synergies are realised.


ECN has mapped the existing collaborations in the field of renewable energy technology for IRENA. This was done in three ways: a questionnaire was held among the member states, a workshop was organised in which 40 initiatives from all over the world were presented and discussed, and an internet and literature study was conducted.  This inventory focused on collaborations between individual countries, and particularly between public institutions. However, much is also happening in large programmes of, for example, the World Bank and businesses.

White spots

The study has shown that many collaborations exist in this field already. Germany, a country that has a strong sustainable energy industry, initiates many collaborations with developing countries, for example. And in Latin America, a content that has a rich sustainable energy potential and fairly stable regimes, countries are already engaged in frequent, successful collaborations. However, some potential markets remain unexplored, given that renewable energy can be used everywhere. The questionnaire inquired about the reasons for collaborating. Most participants from developing countries engaged in collaborations because this gave them access to knowledge and funds. A relatively new phenomenon are the technological centres that focus on renewable energy. However, in many countries, these centres, which are essential in the rollout of new renewable technology, can be further strengthened.

Strategic basis

The report on technological collaboration is expected to be published in July. IRENA aims to use the report as a basis for its strategy. Much is already being done and IRENA wants to prevent replication of what others are doing. There appears to be a need for linkage of the parties, the promotion of capacity building and distribution of good practises. IRENA would also like to collaborate with ECN in other projects; ECN and IRENA are currently engaged in discussions.

Visit the website of IRENA.

Would you like to get more information about the collaboration with IRENA? Please contact Heleen de Coninck.