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Germany

International Renewable Energy Body Launched in Germany

As the recent gas crisis between Ukraine and Russia has shown, the world needs to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. A new eco-energy agency has been created in Germany to help nations do just that.

A delegate at the IRENA conference carrying a green tote with with the IRENA logo

Around 60 nations are expected to sign the founding document

A new organization promoting the development and use of renewable energies was launched Monday in the former German capital, Bonn.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will advise industrialized and developing nations on ways of reducing their dependency on oil, coal and gas.

Speaking at the opening event, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the potential for renewable energies is huge, and needs more help to achieve a global breakthrough.

"IRENA will be the new mouthpiece for renewable energies," he said.

Around 75 states signed the founding document, while representatives from a further 25 countries were in Bonn for the occasion.

A driving force for renewable energy

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel is confident the agency will make a difference

The United States is not signing the treaty, although the US is expected to invest more in renewable energy sources under President Barack Obama.

IRENA is intended to provide a counterbalance to the International Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency, by becoming a driving force behind renewable technologies such as sun, wind, water and geothermal energy sources.

The organization aims to facilitate the transfer of renewable technologies to developing countries rich in renewable energy resources, such as sunshine.

Environmentally friendly and lucrative

The environment ministers of Spain, Germany and Denmark: Ribera Rodriguez, Sigmar Gabriel, and Connie Hedegaard

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel opened the conference with his Spanish and Danish counterparts

Germany, one of the world's leading developers in solar energy, stands to benefit not just from the environmental do-good factor, as IRENA could lead to lucrative partnerships with developing countries.

German Deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler said the development of renewable energies would offer economic opportunities, adding that "Germany in particular is well positioned with its outstanding environmental technology."

Thailand Energy Minister Wannarat Charnukul, who is attending the opening ceremony, last week welcomed the launch of IRENA.

"We've confronted some problems with solar energy development in Thailand so we need some technology transfer from IRENA," Wannaret said.

Germany, Spain and Denmark initially campaigned for the foundation of a renewable energy organisation. The preliminary framework was drawn up in Madrid in October 2008.

The city of Bonn, which has developed into a centre for environment and sustainable development, is bidding to host IRENA's headquarters.

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