Russia set to join IRENA

Russia appears set to join the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Russian news agency RIA Novosti recently reported the country’s intention to join the organization, citing a Russian government document that said: "Accession to the International Renewable Energy Agency will give the Russian Federation a wide access to the existing practice of using and implementing renewable energy sources, results of the latest studies and will allow [the country] to participate in the elaboration of international a standards, as well as to influence the renewable energy sector¬ís development worldwide."

Speaking to pv magazine, IRENA spokesman Timothy Hurst said the Abu Dhabi-based organization had learned of the news of Russia’s decision to join the Agency but had yet to receive official notification from Russian authorities.

"IRENA encourages all U.N. member states who have yet to join the Agency to apply for membership and join our 133 members in our ongoing efforts to advance the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy," Hurst said.

He added that the organization hoped to continue to attract all countries, including "those who have selected renewable energy as a viable option of diversifying their energy mix as well as those for which renewables are not yet a major source of energy — as we believe that international cooperation and collaboration are central to our mission of advancing renewable energy worldwide."

The Russian Energy Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry are expected to handle the necessary arrangements to join IRENA.

Russia’s energy mix is overwhelmingly dominated by oil and gas, with renewables playing a miniscule, although growing, role.

The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates Russia’s current electricity generation portfolio at more than 220 GW of installed capacity, of which 68% is provided by oil, gas and coal. Russia is currently aiming for a renewable energy share of 4.5% by 2020.

In order to meet increasing electricity demand, Russia will have to add a minimum of 20 GW over the next two to four years, according to the IFC.