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IRENA innovation week 2023

How innovation is key to decarbonise end-use sectors

Bonn is hosting IRENA Innovation Week from 25-28 September. In advance towards the COP28, the event will again gather leaders, industry experts, academics, and policy makers to discuss cutting-edge innovations that can support and accelerate the global energy transition.

At times, a broader perspective is crucial. Imagine a world where we smartly limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees while creating a sustainable, secure, and affordable energy future. Picture a society where energy generation and use are seamlessly woven into our daily lives with new business models. What transformation could we achieve with the saved resources?

Bonn, as one of the International Organisations hubs in Europe, is hosting IRENA Innovation Week from 25-28 September. In advance towards the COP28, this event gathers leaders, industry experts, academics, and policy makers to discuss cutting-edge innovations that can support and accelerate the global energy transition.

Under the theme of “Renewable solutions to decarbonise end-use sectors,” the discussions will spotlight practical solutions for decarbonising sectors like transportation, buildings, and industry, whilst also offering access to a unique and diverse network of experts, industry leaders and decision makers from IRENA’s 169 Members.

IRENA conference members 2018 in front of Kameha Bonn.

IRENA Innovation Week is a platform for envisioning a future powered by intelligent electrification and innovation. Our goal is to catalyse global collaboration, promote sustainable solutions, and steer the shift towards a decarbonised world. Smart electrification is a cornerstone of to achieve our climate goals. IRENA’s Director-General, Francesco La Camera, asserts, “Smart electrification provides governments with a cost-effective strategy to boost economic growth, enhance energy security, and mitigate the escalating impacts of climate change. Today, numerous solutions are ripe for commercialisation, with trailblazing companies developing, testing, and deploying transformative innovations.” The potential for intelligent electrification and innovation is immense across various sectors:

Electric vehicles (EVs), for instance, are poised to help decarbonise the transportation sector and are attracting worldwide interest from policymakers. However, EVs can do more – they can stabilise the power grid during periods of low wind or sun. Their batteries require materials like nickel, cobalt, lithium, manganese, and graphite, making innovation in battery processing and recycling increasingly important.

The benefits of smart electrification are not limited to the industrialised world. Many (Small Island) Developing States face recurring natural disasters, exacerbated by climate change. Smart electrification can bolster energy access and climate resilience and cater to changing energy consumption patterns around the world. Consider that only a third of people in hot climates have cooling appliances. With global temperatures rising, the energy demand for heating and cooling is set to rise, underscoring the urgent need to overhaul and decarbonise the sector. Highly efficient, electricity-driven heat pumps will be crucial in this endeavour, particularly for space and water heating in buildings where cooling is already largely electrified.

These examples illustrate how innovation is vital for a comprehensive, intelligent, and systemic transformation of our system to achieve our climate goals. Innovation Week will examine ongoing innovation from various angles, spotlighting both the need for direct electrification – in buildings and road transport – and the challenges in hard-to-abate sectors like steel and chemical industries, aviation, and shipping. The event will also explore implications for the power system, the evolving geopolitical landscape, and the potential for the developing world.

Innovation Week will witness contributions from high-level speakers such as European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, African Union Energy Commissioner Amani Abou-Zeid, Kaleb Udui, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Palau, and others. Monique Ntumngia of the Green Girls Organisation will underscore the synergies between innovation and empowerment. Moreover, the IRENA Innovation Week benefits from extensive collaboration with a diverse range of session partners.

The insights gleaned during IRENA Innovation Week will help identify priority actions to fully harness the potential of renewable energy applications in end-use sectors. These insights will inform the Agency’s recommendations and advice to its members and the wider community. The conference will take place from 25-28 September in Bonn. To participate, please request an invitation at (opens in a new tab)