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IRENA and China State Grid agree to advance power transition through system enhancements

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the world's largest utility company have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the two organizations work closely to support grid enhancements, system flexibility, and sector-coupling in China and IRENA’s Clean Energy Corridor regions.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the world’s largest utility company have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the two organizations work closely to support grid enhancements, system flexibility, and sector-coupling in China and IRENA’s Clean Energy Corridor regions.

The agreement aims to advance the global energy transformation towards a net-zero energy future particularly in developing countries, in the context of achieving the Paris Agreement objectives and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The MoU was signed on April 12, 2021, by Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, and Xin Baoan, Executive Chairman of the State Grid Corporation of China.

The coming years are critical for the energy transition. To achieve a 1.5-degree world, the global energy system must align with the necessary decarbonization pathway this decade. What we do now will significantly impact our collective ability to achieve a net-zero future. In this pursuit, China is a key energy transition partner. Under this agreement, our two organizations will work closely to support the creation of an enabling environment for a future power system dominated by renewables. This partnership represents a much-welcomed common effort towards a decarbonized global energy system, said Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General.

Under the agreement, IRENA and SGCC will conduct joint activities and collaborative studies to enhance the flexible operation of power grids, decarbonization of urban energy systems, and facilitate grid development with a special focus on the application of smart grids and sector-coupling strategies.

The two organizations will also work closely at the regional and country-level to build technical capacities related to the reliable integration of renewable power in developing countries.

The installed capacity of renewables integrated into the State Grid system has reached a total of 710 GW, including 230 GW hydropower, 230 GW wind, and 220 GW solar power, all topping the world. China pledged to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. SGCC released action plans that serve the achievement of these targets including establishing a new type of renewable energy dominant power system, electrifying end-use consumption, and upgrading of the grid to the energy internet. We are dedicated to pioneering, promoting, and leading the clean energy transition. We look forward to joining hands with IRENA and taking our cooperation to the next stage, said Xin Baoan, President of the State Grid Corporation of China.

According to the MoU, the agreement will also advance the staff exchange programme between the two organizations. IRENA and SGCC will work closely across a number of key areas, including:

  • Explore technical cooperation in the context of existing global regional initiatives, including the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  • Conduct joint activities and collaborative studies to enhance the flexible operation of power grids, decarbonization of urban energy systems;
  • Advance technical co-operation in the context of IRENA’s Clean Energy Corridor initiatives in Africa and Central America to facilitate the grid development and interconnections with the aim to accommodate greater shares of renewable energy sources;
  • Co-operate at the country and regional level to strengthen technical capacities related to reliable integration of renewable power in energy systems in developing countries, including through joint training and capacity building.

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