51 countries have signed an agreement to form an international agency to support renewable energy development.
If it seems like the world is rallying around renewable energy, that’s because it is. And why not? With huge recent fluctuations in oil prices, the economy on its knees, and climate change at our doorstep, windmills and solar panels have become iconic symbols of energy independence, a new green-collar job sector, and a response to climate change. Now, an international agency is emerging to lead the charge on a global scale.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will integrate regional clean energy progress into a coordinated, global effort. It will provide political recommendations and identify funding for renewable technologies. Moreover, IRENA will seek to even the playing field for countries that have had difficulty affording investment in renewable energy. To this end, the agency will fund its budget with contributions by member-countries on a sliding scale with unindustrialized countries paying less.
“Acting as the global voice for renewable energies,” says the agency’s website, “IRENA will provide practical advice and support for both industrialised and developing countries, help them improve their regulatory frameworks and build capacity. The Agency will facilitate access to all relevant information including reliable data on the potential of renewable energy, best practices, effective financial mechanisms and state-of-the-art technological expertise.”
The agreement recently signed in Madrid signaled a successful Final Preparatory Conference, the second in a series of three rapid steps taken to establish IRENA. Earlier this year, wind energy rich Germany got the ball rolling with an invitation to 60 countries to meet at the Preparatory Conference in Berlin. The third and final step needed to establish the agency, the Founding Conference, is slated for January 26, 2009. Due to the enormity of developing renewable energy infrastructures around the world and the urgency of curbing climate change, the nascent agency plans to begin operating immediately after it’s founded.Original here