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New IRENA Platform supports renewable energy innovation, quality and collaboration

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has launched a new online platform which will enable policy makers and other energy sector players to access the world's largest collection of global renewable energy standards and patents.

The International Standards and Patents in Renewable Energy platform, also known as INSPIRE, is the first and most complete solution of its kind, helping users search through, locate and analyse 400 international standards and more than 2 million patents for renewable energy technology.

'The INSPIRE platform provides a strategic window into the innovation and growth taking place in the renewable energy sector,' says IRENA director-general Adnan Amin. 'It consolidates vast collections of renewable energy patents and standards, which can foster collaboration between innovators, spur improvement through product comparison and benchmarking and help identify partners, matching domestic energy needs to innovative energy solutions.'

A collaboration between IRENA, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) means the INSPIRE platform has multiple functionalities. The standards section enables users to search through a database of more than 400 internationally used standards and generate reports as needed. It also explains what standards are, how they can be used and why they are important for quality assurance, investor confidence and technology trading. The patents section houses the world's most comprehensive global patent database for carbon mitigation technologies, the EPO's PATSTAT, which contains nearly 2 million patent documents.

'The INSPIRE platform demonstrates the role of the global patent system as a support for innovation in renewable energy, encouraging research and development in technologies to serve modern energy needs while addressing climate change,' comments EPO president Benôit Battistelli. 'INSPIRE also showcases the role of patent information, which provides valuable high-level information to advise policy makers on the renewable energy sector.'

The combination of resources on INSPIRE will help users analyse various aspects of renewable energy policy and innovation. It can help indicate the effectiveness of policies to promote renewable energy innovation through the analysis of trends in patent activity. Users can also perform metadata analysis of technology trends, comparing development within, or between, different technologies. For example, the number of patents filed for renewable energy technology has increased annually by more than 20% in recent years, while the average increase for other technologies is around 6%.