The International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Grid Corporation of China on grid and energy transformation in China and in developing countries, specifically to collaborate on grid enhancements, system flexibility, and sector-coupling in China and in IRENA’s clean energy corridor regions.

The agreement’s aim is 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. 

Francesco La Camera, IRENA director-general, commented: “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 decarbonisation pathway this decade. What we do now will significantly impact our collective ability to achieve a net-zero future.”

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

Xin Baoan, president of SGCC, commented: “The installed capacity of renewables integrated to the State Grid system has reached a total of 710 GW, including 230 GW hydropower, 230 GW wind and 220 GW solar power. China has pledged to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060”.

According to the MoU, IRENA and SGCC will work closely across a number of key areas, including:

  • Technical co-operation in the context of existing global regional initiatives, including the Paris Agreement and UN Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Joint activities and collaborative studies to enhance flexible operation of power grids, decarbonisation of urban energy systems;
  • Advancing 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-operation 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.

The agreement will also advance the staff-exchange programme between the two organisations.