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Planet Ark World Environment News Green Energy Agency to Locate Headquarters in UAE

Date: 30-Jun-09
Country: EGYPT
Author: Aziz El-Kaissouni

CAIRO - Member states of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) voted to locate their headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt's state news agency MENA said on Monday.

MENA said the UAE, which defeated Austria and Germany, had seven ministers to lobby for the move at the conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. The meeting was attended by 129 states. It gave no further details.

In Berlin, the German government said that it was pleased that IRENA's innovation and technology center would be located in Bonn and that an office for contacts to the U.N. would also be set up in Vienna.

"I'm quite happy about this agreement," said German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel in a statement. He said the agreement to include IRENA operations in all three countries would send out "the right signal."

IRENA, which was founded in January, has 114 members and aims to promote a rapid transition toward the widespread adoption of renewable energy, according to its website.

The UAE said last week it was ready to spend $136 million by 2015 to fund IRENA if its bid to host the headquarters succeeded.

The world's third-largest oil exporter had said it wanted to place itself at the forefront of developments that may shape the future energy industry, and hosting IRENA was part of that plan.

The UAE said it plans to house IRENA in Masdar City, a project underway to build a carbon-neutral town in the desert, and said the IRENA headquarters would be ready by 2011.

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