Minister of Energy P.Gankhuu participated in the 7th International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly, held in the United Arab Emirates, and reiterated Mongolia’s goal to source 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.
Mongolia is seen as a haven for solar power by many international analysts, as it receives 250 days of sunshine annually, yet only two to three percent of the country’s energy currently comes from renewable sources. Mongolia has relied on its vast reserve ofcoal to produce electricity. However, as global trends move toward lowering carbon emissions by switching to clean energy, Mongolia is one of 150 countries to participate in efforts to intensify the development of renewable energy.
Representatives from 150 countries gathered in Abu Dhabi to discuss the future of renewable energy at the IRENA Assembly. During this year’s assembly, Adnan Z. Amin, the Director-General of IRENA, stated an IRENA goal of seeing countries source 45 percent of all their energy from renewable sources by 2030.
The decreased cost of renewable energy was a major topic at the conference. Speakers noted that compared to 20 years ago, the cost of producing renewable energy has decreased significantly. For instance, prices for solar power technology have decreased by 60 percent, solar heating power by 45 percent, wind power by 24 percent, and the cost of wind power produced near coastlines has dropped by 36 percent.
Minister P.Gankhuu presented a keynote speech at the commencement ceremony of the assembly. He spoke about the current state of Mongolia’s renewable energy industry, the future of its development, and reported on cooperation agreements that have been signed with international organizations such as IRENA. The Minister of Energy noted how Mongolia was one of the founding members of IRENA, and that Parliament ratified incorporating the procedures of the organization in Mongolia. “We want to cooperate with IRENA and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development on introducing geothermal heat pumps and other renewable power for heating in urban areas. We are interested in learning from the experiences of other countries in this area,” Minister P.Gankhuu told the assembly’s attendees that Mongolia has been operating a 50MW wind farm since 2013, and launched a 10MW solar power plant this year.
Minister P.Gankhuu said that his ministry is working to replace coal with renewable technology in a country with extreme climate conditions.
Director-General Adnan Z. Amin thanked Mongolia for its efforts and vowed to intensify further cooperation between IRENA and Mongolia. In a separate meeting with Minister P.Gankhuu, Amin talked about the pollution levels in Ulaanbaatar. He proposed using renewable energy in order to decrease the city’s toxic levels of pollution.
Former President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson also met with Minister Gankhuu, and discussed the possibility of implementing Iceland’s technology in Mongolia. Iceland gets nearly 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
Potential investors also met with the Minister. Jean-Pascal Pham-Ba, Secretary General of the Terrawatt Initiative, a global non-profit organization based in Paris, met with Minister Gankhuu about building a solar power station in Mongolia that provides low-cost energy.