Adnan Z. Ameen addresses the Irena Council in Abu Dhabi in the presence of Upendra Tripathy, secretary at India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Almost 400 per cent more world nations have renewable energy targets now compared with 2005, a senior official of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) said here on Wednesday.

“Our report on targets shows that 164 countries around the world had adopted some form of national renewable energy target, up almost four-fold from the 43 countries we had in 2005,” Adnan Z. Ameen, director-general of Irena, said.

He was addressing the ninth meeting of the Irena Council attended by 250 participants from 85 countries.

Two more countries — the UAE and Canada — have set renewable energy targets at the sub-national level, Ameen said, quoting Irena’s new report, Renewable Energy Target Setting, launched on the sidelines of the meeting.

“The rapid growth of targets is just one more signal of the world’s ongoing shift towards renewable energy and away from fossil fuels.”

He said this is a path towards a more secure and sustainable energy future.

About 131 of the 164 countries with renewable energy targets are developing and emerging economies and the majority of these focus on the electricity sector. About 150 countries have renewable electricity targets. The number of countries setting targets for the heating/cooling sector increased from two countries in 2005 to 47 today. Similarly, renewable transport targets have more than doubled from 27 countries in 2005 to 59 today, the report said.

However, the report says that the set targets alone are not enough. They need to be accompanied by a clear strategy and backed by specific policies and measures.

Ameen said that more than 100 gigawatts of new renewables capacity have been added every year for the past three years, mostly in developing countries. This trend will expand as part of a global focus on finding immediate solutions to the climate challenge and meeting multiple objectives, including energy security, environmental sustainability and socio-economic benefits, he said.

Irena has worked with 24 countries to advance the Renewable Readiness Assessment (RRA) process, and worked with some 90 countries on a range of support and advisory functions.

Irena had an unprecedented growth in a short time with 140 members, and 31 in the process of accession. “Tomorrow, with the addition of Gabon, we will be 141. Our Permanent Representation family now includes 30 accredited representatives,” Ameen said.

Irena products have been presented in some 9,000 media news items in almost 130 countries since the beginning of this year, he said.

When Irena published that there are 7.7 million renewable energy jobs in the world, many people tweeted with their picture, saying “I am one of them.”

There was 14 per cent growth in employment in one year — an increase by 1.2 million jobs from 2013, Ameen said.