His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE minister of foreign affairs, inaugurated the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) headquarters in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City today reinforcing the UAE’s status as a global energy leader. Housing the first intergovernmental agency in the Middle East, the headquarters is the UAE’s most sustainable office building and a physical embodiment of the organisation’s mission to advance renewable energy.
HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE minister of foreign affairs said: “The inauguration of the IRENA headquarters today in Masdar City marks an important milestone on the UAE’s successful journey to host the intergovernmental organization, which began with our bid submission seven years ago.Hosting IRENA in Abu Dhabi is a reflection of the UAE’s commitment to expanding access to sustainable, clean energy both domestically and internationally. We look forward to partnering closely with IRENA and countries around the world to support the further development of renewable energy and clean technologies.”
High-level representatives from around the world and the UAE government attended the inaugural event in Masdar City. The event highlighted the outstanding sustainability characteristics of the IRENA building, the first commercial building in the UAE to receive a four-pearl rating for design and construction from the Urban Planning Council through Estidama, the Abu Dhabi certification system for measuring energy, water and carbon efficiency.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashemi, UAE minister of state, delivered a speech welcoming IRENA to its new headquarters, saying, “In 2006, when Abu Dhabi launched the Masdar Initiative, the UAE made a bold decision to become the first country in the region to firmly commit to advancing and adopting renewable energy. This commitment provided us with the credibility to make another bold decision in 2008: to bring IRENA to our nation’s capital and Masdar City. Today, we welcome this unique global powerhouse, and vital organization to the rapidly growing renewable energy industry, to its new headquarters.”
HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE minister of state,special envoy for energy and climate change, and chairman of Masdar, said: “The UAE has firmly established itself as a committed global leader in the deployment of innovative renewable energy solutions worldwide. This commitment is reflected in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s sustainable ecosystem, which is the ideal location for IRENA to carry out their mission to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy globally. It is only fitting that this important intergovernmental organisation’s work is conducted from the most sustainable office building in the UAE.”
IRENA is one of the newest and fastest-growing intergovernmental organizations in the world, and the first to be headquartered in the Middle East. The Agency currently supports 140 member countries, with 32 more in the process of accession.. Headquartered in Masdar City, a sustainable city in the heart of a global hub for energy – Abu Dhabi – IRENA is strategically positioned to collaborate with governments worldwide to help them meet their renewable energy goals.
Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA said: “The rapid growth of IRENA is a testament to the commitment of countries around the world to advance the development of clean, safe and affordable renewable energy. The new IRENA Headquarters will enable IRENA to lead by example by operating from the most sustainable office building in the UAE. We are grateful to the UAE for working with us to help achieve our global mandate.”
His Excellency Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Permanent Representative to IRENA and Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The unanimous selection of Abu Dhabi as the headquarters of IRENA in 2009 not only challenged the view of the Middle East as a hydrocarbon-only region, but also highlighted the huge potential of renewable energy in developing countries. More than this, it firmly established the UAE as the hub for regional and international exchange on renewable energy and sustainable development.”
The opening of the IRENA headquarters contributes to Masdar City’s growing ecosystem which focuses on sustainability and integrates research, business and education. As with the other buildings found in Masdar City, the IRENA HQ building pushes the boundaries of sustainable design and green building technologies.
The new IRENA building offers a total floor area of 32,000m2 and has approximately 1,000m2 of rooftop solar photovoltaic panels supplying electricity to the building.
The building’s passive design and smart energy management systems enables it to use 42 per cent less energy than global energy-efficiency standards. It is also expected to use 50 per cent less water and 64 per cent less energy than similar commercial buildings in Abu Dhabi. Over the past decade, renewable power generating capacity has increased by 85 per cent, according to IRENA, and renewable energy remains the fastest growing energy segment.