Innovation Week 2016
Innovation Week 2016

Innovation Week 2016: The Age of Renewable Power


Falling technology costs, mounting investments and renewable energy capacity additions outpacing nuclear and fossil energy are all signals that the global transition towards a renewable power sector is underway. To accelerate this growth, electricity systems worldwide must transition to frameworks that embrace new business models and promote the deployment of innovative technologies.

IRENA’s Innovation Week was a first-of-its-kind event gathering the industrial and political frontrunners to present, discuss and explore innovative solutions within this year’s theme – “The Age of Renewable Power”. The focus of discussions was on how technological innovations, operational innovation and systemic innovations in policy, regulation and business, interact and re-enforce each other contributing to power system transformation.


Plenary Sessions

Innovations do not happen in a vacuum, but rather feed into one another. Technology innovations allow for innovations in business models and operational practices, whilst ambitious and innovative policies and regulation can trigger new technical and operational innovations.

The plenary session allow a platform for innovation leaders to share their expectations on innovative solutions for the power sector transformation. The sessions are designed to provide a holistic perspective on innovation, and examine how developments in policies, business models, regulation, operations, and technologies interact and can reinforce each other.

Deepdive Sessions

The deepdive sessions are designed to allow policy makers and technical experts to discuss the latest developments on specific topics in interactive sessions. The deepdives are facilitated by technical experts through one or more partner organisations, and covers the latest developments, key players, opportunities and barriers, and expectations.

Videos and pictures

Event Recap: IRENA Innovation Week 2016

Recap video of IRENA's inaugural Innovation Week event, held 11-13 May, 2016.


time sessions  

Bonn: Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur)
Cologne: German Aerospace Center (DLR)'s Storage Labs
Aachen: E.ON Energy Research Center
Julich: Julich Solar-Institut

360 min

time sessions  

Opening speach by IRENA

  • Mr. Adnan Z. Amin
  • Director General, IRENA

Opening speach by Host Country

  • State secretory, Federal Ministry of Economics Affairs and Energy

Q & A

  • Mr. Andreas Kramer

90 min


High-Level Panel 2

More than 90% of the growth in future electricity demand will occur in non-OECD countries. In the panel discussion on “Renewables for Growth”, IRENA has invited high-level government officials to share their vision on the opportunities and challenges they foresee in deploying renewables to satisfy future demand, and which technological, operational, and systemic innovations are needed to address any problems or enable these opportunities.

90 min

Coffee break


Plenary II: Systemic Innovation
Renewable Energy Policy
Market Design
Emerging Markets
Business Models

Systemic innovation covers major institutional changes needed in the governance structures, business and finance models, and regulatory regimes that determine the day-to-day practices of utilities and technology providers operating in the electricity sector.

This plenary session will provide an overview of innovative policy solutions for both centralized and distributed power systems, the impact of renewables on existing and emerging business models, as well as expectations on how regulatory regimes will have to be changed to accommodate or allow for new practices and stakeholders to engage in the electricity sector.

90 min


Lunch break


Group Discussions I: Opportunities and Challenges
Decentralised electricity systems for islands and rural electrification
Emerging electricity systems for high demand growth
Mature electricity systems for low demand growth

This group will explore the renewable energy innovations and international cooperation in the context of mature electricity systems with low growth in electricity demand. Key aspects to be considered are the innovations related to the integration of high share of variable renewable energy into existing systems, as well as innovations to support sector-coupling between the electricity sector and the heat sector, electricity uses in transport, industrial applications, and residential and commercial buildings. Specific emphasis will be paid on the implications of new renewable power generation capacity on existing utilities with conventional power generation technologies, and how different systemic, technological and operational innovations can be used to ensure a smooth transition. Existing and future opportunities for collaboration on research, development, and demonstration projects will be examined, and how these can be matched with relevant innovation needs in other constituencies

120 min

16:30 Coffee break  
17:00 60 min  
19:00 Evening Reception: KunstMuseum Bonn
time sessions  

Plenary IV: Technological Innovation
Renewable Energy Grid Services
Smart Grids
21st Century Grid
Energy Storage
Remote Control Systems

Technologies continue to involve in terms of costs, performance, and functionality. The introduction of information- and telecommunication technologies into electricity systems add another layer of new opportunities.

This plenary discussion will cover the latest developments and future expectations for technology development in renewable power generation technologies, smart grids and energy storage, including their impacts on the future costs, reliability and security of electricity systems in centralised and distributed systems.

90 min


Coffee break


The Future Grid: Smart Mini and Microgrids
Energy Storage and Electric Vehicle
From Science to Innovation

120 min


Lunch break


The Future Grid: Electric Highways
New Market Designs

120 min

16:00 Coffee break  

Energy Systems Modelling and Planning
Advancing Frontiers of Reliability and Quality

60 min

19:00 Evening Reception
time sessions  

Control Options
"Big Data"
Consumer Engagement
Demand Response
Virtual Power Plants

The rapid growth of variable renewable power generation from solar photovoltaics and wind power is changing the traditional paradigm of linear power flows from dispatchable centralised power stations or diesel generators to the local consumers. At the same time, smart grid technologies and a more pro-active role of consumers are allowing for new ways to manage these power flows.

The plenary session will discuss the latest innovations in control options to supoprt and integrate the variable production of electricity from solar and wind resources, the new opportunities provided by smart grid technologies to manage these power flows, and the oppportunities and challenges arising from the participation of end-consumers in the electricity sector.

90 min


Coffee break


Decentralised Electricity Systems for Islands and Rural Electrification
Emerging Electricity Systems for High Demand Growth
Mature Electricity Systems for Low Demand Growth

120 min


Lunch break


Reporting back from deepdive sessions
Mission Innovation
Breakthrough Coalition

120 min

15:30 Coffee break  

Plenary VII: Reporting Back from Group Discussions
Closing Speech

  • Mr. Adnan Z. Amin
  • Director-General, IRENA

90 min

Contact Us

IRENA Innovation and Technology Center
Robert-Schuman-Platz 3
53175 Bonn