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Cablegate: The International Renewable Energy Agency

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DE RUEHC #4385/01 3591643
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241630Z DEC 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 4843
INFO RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 134385

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

REF: BERLIN 493

1. (U) Summary: According to the German government, the
German-proposed International Renewable Energy Agency
(IRENA), which will launch on January 26 - 27, 2009 in
Bonn, Germany, is intended to promote increased use of
renewable energy. While the USG strongly supports
renewable energy, the USG opposes IRENA on the grounds
that it will duplicate existing work in the renewable
energy field and the USG does not plan to attend the
launch of the organization. Additionally, IRENA's mission
and objectives remain unclear. This cable provides
guidance, for use as needed. The Department requests (see
paragraph seven) post reporting on host government
position when the occasion to discuss IRENA presents
itself. End Summary.

BACKGROUND

2. (SBU) Germany began promoting its IRENA proposal in
2004, at which time the idea was dismissed by the USG,
Japan, Canada and others. Initially, the German Federal
Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation
and Nuclear Safety was pushing for IRENA, and the German
Economic Ministry (which represents Germany at the
International Energy Agency (IEA)) was not supportive.
Germany resurrected the proposal following the G8
Summit in Heiligendamm, and decided in spring 2008 to
press ahead, regardless of support from other major
developed nations. The USG, Australia, Canada, Japan, and
the UK sent embassy representatives as unofficial
observers to an April 2008 IRENA preparation conference.
Several developing countries, including Colombia,
China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa,
expressed support for IRENA. At an IEA Governing Board
meeting December 17, the Danish representative stated that
in addition to his country and Germany, the
following European countries had agreed to join IRENA:
Spain, Poland, Romania, Austria, Iceland, and Finland.
According to the Danes, Sweden and Norway were actively
reviewing the issue.

3. (U) As we understand it, IRENA's initial annual budget
would be 25 million Euro per year. Germany projects the
budget will gradually increase to E125 million. [Note:
the International Energy Agency's annual budget is about
E25 million (approximately $36.5 million) per year, of
which about E1 million is for work on renewables.
End note.] At IEA meetings the week of December 15,
representatives of Spain, Denmark and Germany noted that
other countries might also contribute funding (perhaps to
a total E50 million) and that IRENA HQ would be in one
of the three countries.

4. (SBU) IEA Executive Director Tanaka met with German
Environment Ministry officials in the fall to review the
IEA's existing work on renewable energy. Tanaka wants to
develop an MOU with Germany so that the IEA's work and
the projected work of IRENA are not duplicative.
According to Tanaka, the Germans have indicated they
do not want IRENA to overlap with the IEA's work, which is
focused on integration of renewables into the
power grid.

5. (U) TALKING POINTS: Posts may draw upon the points
below as needed.

-- The U.S. is committed to increasing renewable energy
domestically and around the world. The USG has
demonstrated its commitment to the vast potential of
renewable energy in programs ranging from increased
renewable energy R&D to enhanced commercialization and
innovative financing mechanisms for these
technologies. This commitment was manifested in the
USG-hosted Washington International Renewable Energy
Conference (WIREC) in March, 2008.
-- A new international institution is not the optimal
means for encouraging the expanded use of renewable
energy.
-- A new international institution would duplicate
multilateral cooperation on renewable energy.
Strengthening the work of existing networks and
institutions, as appropriate, is the most efficient way
to encourage broader use of renewable energy.
-- For those developing countries seeking to expand their
use of renewable energy, there are a range of

STATE 00134385 002 OF 002


bilateral and multilateral sources for technical and
policy assistance. Rather than creating a new
international agency, existing efforts should be
strengthened.
-- Appropriate vehicles to achieve greater implementation
and integration of renewable energy
technologies into the global energy economy include
international organizations such as the International
Energy Agency (IEA), which recently increased its
engagement in renewable energy analysis, coupled with
agile public-private partnerships, such as the
German-created Renewable Energy Policy Network of the 21st
Century (REN21), the Renewable Energy and Energy
Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), and the Asia-Pacific
Partnership on Clean Development and Climate?s (APP)
Renewable Energy Task Force.
-- Since renewable energy technologies are becoming
mainstream in energy economies worldwide, now is not
the time to isolate these technologies from others with
which they compete and complement. Isolating
renewable energy with its own international agency runs
the risk of isolating these technologies and marginalizing
their fit in the variegated energy
profiles of all countries.
-- IRENA organizers are uncertain as to precisely what the
IRENA work plan would entail beyond the
generalities of promoting increased use of renewable
energy technologies through ?enhanced policy advice,
sustained capacity building and effective transfer of
technology and know-how.?
-- Developing countries that are planning to join IRENA
clearly are attracted by IRENA backers advertising
it as a way to promote technology transfer. But we have
not received a clear response as to how IRENA
would transfer technology that is for the most part
controlled by the private sector.
-- IF ASKED: The USG does not plan to participate in the
January launch of the IRENA.

(6) (U) ACTION REQUEST: The Department appreciates
post reporting on host government?s position on IRENA.
Please slug responses for EEB/ESC Danielle Monosson and
OES/EGC Griff Thompson.

(7) (U) Minimize considered.
RICE

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