The International Energy Agency took part in the meeting of G7 energy ministers held under the Italian Presidency in Rome on 9-10 April. The IEA’s Executive Director, Dr Fatih Birol, joined energy ministers from the G7 nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, as well as the Energy Commissioner of the European Union – to review developments in global energy markets over the past year and what can be done collectively to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy. The topics discussed included energy security, with a focus on the role of LNG in improving market flexibility, as well as energy efficiency and technology as drivers for competiveness. The ministers acknowledged that G7 countries should play a leading role in facilitating investments in secure and sustainable energy including strengthening efforts in energy research and development.
Dr Birol delivered a keynote address at the opening dinner of the meeting, covering a range of topics including energy security and trends in oil and gas markets, renewable grid integration, and energy efficiency. He stressed that while a wave of new LNG supply, led by Australia and the US, will improve the ability of the system to react to potential demand or supply shocks, security of gas supply cannot be taken for granted. He also noted that better grids, more flexible power plants and storage and demand side response will all be needed to integrate larger shares of wind and solar into power grids in a secure and cost-effective way.
Dr Birol also highlighted the links between the energy sector and emerging digital technologies and services, which are presenting important opportunities and challenges for policy makers. He shared the IEA’s recent findings that global energy-related carbon emissions were flat for a third straight year in 2016 even as the global economy grew.G7 Ministers recognized the key role of clean energy technologies, emphasizing the importance of market-based supports, as well as the importance of research and development of innovative technologies. They acknowledged the IEA’s role in providing solid, authoritative, and solution-orientated analysis for global leaders and support informed policy-decisions making.
The Chairs’ Summary welcomed the move of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) Secretariat to the IEA’s headquarters in Paris as well as the progress report on the Second Phase of IEA’s Technology Roadmaps, focused on viable and high impact technologies. They also welcomed the progress of the IEA’s work on international energy efficiency collaboration and asked the IEA to continue to take forward this work, including on market-based instruments. In addition, other staff members of the IEA participated in an energy access side-event on Africa where Laura Cozzi, head of the IEA’s Energy Demand Outlook Division, gave a keynote presentation. The event was chaired by Paolo Frankl, head of the IEA’s Renewable Energy Division.