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IRENA Urges Faster Use of Renewable Energy to Meet UN Target

Countries must “substantially” expand their capacity to produce energy from solar, wind and other renewable resources to meet a global United Nations target, the International Renewable Energy Agency said.

Investment in power generation and grids and other technologies for producing heat and energy in an environmentally sustainable way should accelerate if states are to achieve the UN’s goal of doubling renewables use by 2030, the agency known as IRENA said. Nations must add an average renewables capacity of 150 gigawatts a year through 2030, in contrast to the increase in 2011 of 110 gigawatts, IRENA said today in an e-mailed statement.

Governments want to diversify their energy mix and reduce fuel imports and costs without adding to global carbon emissions, IRENA Director General Adnan Amin said in a Jan. 9 interview at the agency’s Abu Dhabi headquarters. Declining costs have made many renewables more competitive with fossil fuels, he said at his office in the United Arab Emirates capital.

A boom in the output of natural gas trapped in shale would complement growth in renewables use because both are substitutes for dirtier fuels such as coal, Amin said. Gas can supply constant power, unlike intermittent wind or solar.

Costs for some types of solar panels have fallen by as much as 60 percent in two years, Amin said. Small-scale hydropower often provides the cheapest source of energy for developing countries, according to an IRENA report this week.

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