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Cablegate: German Conference Promotes International Renewable

VZCZCXRO2096
RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHRL #0493/01 1091716
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181716Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0958
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BERLIN 000493

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS
STATE FOR OES: THOMPSON, EEB: MONOSSON, AND EUR
PLEASE PASS CEQ - CONNAUGHTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV KGHG ENRG PGOV EUN GM
SUBJECT: GERMAN CONFERENCE PROMOTES INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE
ENERGY AGENCY PROPOSAL

REF: A. BERLIN 218
B. BERLIN 407

1. (SBU) Summary: German officials say they plan to work
with "like-minded" countries to establish the International
Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) this fall, regardless of
whether major developed nations support the endeavor.
According to the German proposal, IRENA would offer policy
advice, facilitate technology and knowledge transfer, provide
capacity building and stimulate research in the field of
renewable energy. At a two-day international conference held
in Berlin April 10-11, developing nations voiced overwhelming
support for IRENA's establishment. Germany plans a
consultative process this summer and aims to launch IRENA in
November 2008. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The German MFA held a "Preparatory Conference for
the Foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency
(IRENA)" April 10-11 in Berlin. In a keynote address, MFA
State Secretary Heinrich Tiemann argued that the world needs
a new international energy network to meet increasing demand
and to limit global temperature increases. Environment
Ministry (BMU) State Secretary Matthias Machnig said it is
important to have IRENA up and running well before the UNFCCC
2009 negotiations in Copenhagen in order to send a political
signal to negotiators that the world is ready to confront
climate change. Czech Environment Minister (and Deputy Prime
Minister) Martin Bursik, Chairman of the European Association
for Renewable Energy Hermann Scheer, and World Future Council
Chair Bianca Jagger also gave keynote speeches supporting
IRENA. Fifty-three nations officially participated in this
event. The USG, Australia, Canada, Japan, and the UK sent
embassy represenatives as unofficial observers.

3. (SBU) The objective of IRENA would be to foster and
promote the large-scale adoption of renewable energy
worldwide. This would be accomplished by: improving
regulatory frameworks for renewable energy through policy
advice, improving the transfer of renewable energy technology
and disseminating skills and know-how for renewable energy.
IRENA would also provide services when requested by member
states.

4. (SBU) Countries expressing support for IRENA included:
Argentina, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt,
Estonia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Jordan,
Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan,
Poland, South Africa and Spain. Many delegates noted that
International Energy Agency membership is restricted to OECD
members and therefore does not address the needs of
developing nations. Countries arguing in favor of IRENA
stressed the need for financing, technology and "know-how."
Many argued that their experts have difficulty finding
information about renewable energy. They would like a
"one-stop shop" that will serve as a clearinghouse for
information and advice about renewable energy. Argentina,
Greece, and Pakistan highlighted the energy needs of rural
communities that are not serviced by existing electricity
grids. Mexico offered to host the official founding
conference for IRENA this fall. India said that IRENA should
be based in a developing country and offered to host the
agency, should other members agree.

5. (SBU) Unlike past climate initiatives, Germany presented
its proposal for the establishment of IRENA directly to
foreign missions in Berlin without first securing EU
consensus. This offended some EU members, a number of whom
had specific instructions not to take an official position on
IRENA at the conference. Representatives from Sweden and
Switzerland both privately expressed concerns that IRENA will
duplicate renewable energy efforts underway in other fora.
The Austrian delegate publicly said that Vienna is home to
many international organizations that deal with energy issues
and Austria is concerned that IRENA will duplicate the work
of those institutions. Norway said it would study the issue
at greater length, noting that any new agency must add real
value. Italy noted that it could not undertake any political
or financial commitments under its caretaker government.
Despite these concerns, German officials believe delegates
from these EU member states will go along with a developing
EU consensus to support IRENA, primarily because many EU
member states believe IRENA will help them meet their EU
"burden-sharing" greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals or
extend power to rural areas.

6. (SBU) IRENA's initial annual budget would be 25 million
USD per year. Germany projects the budget will gradually

BERLIN 00000493 002 OF 002


increase to 125 million USD. Under the German proposal,
capacity to pay would be assessed according to the equity
principle used by the United Nations; specifically, a
per-capita income deflator will be applied to the three year
gross national income average. In a sample fee schedule of
nations who officially participated in the conference, the EU
and China would bear most of the cost. China argued that
developed nations should contribute the financing since
developing nations provided a market and renewable energy
sources. China also argued that there should be permanent
members of the Board of Governors (an idea opposed by all
other countries) and that such members should contribute more
than other countries. China later asked whether it could
receive more from IRENA in technology transfers if it paid
higher dues. German officials said IRENA is not intended to
be a funding instrument but do expect that it will partner
with multilateral agencies -- including international
development banks -- to facilitate financing for renewable
energies.
TIMKEN JR

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