Left to right: Chen Linhao, Deputy Director General for International Cooperation at China’s Ministry of Science and Technology; Mechthild Wörsdörfer, Director of DG Energy for the European Commission; Jeffery Piper, Senior Expert for international energy relations, DG Energy; and Christian Zinglersen, Head of the CEM Secretariat.
Realizing the vision of distributed leadership was a key theme from the recent eighth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8) preparatory meeting that was hosted by the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. Senior level officials and other delegates from the CEM member governments spent two days discussing the agenda, priorities, and desired outcomes of CEM8, which will be hosted by the Republic of China and take place in Beijing on 7–8 June.
Co-chaired by Mechthild Wörsdörfer, Director of DG Energy for the European Commission, and Chen Linhao, Deputy Director General for International Cooperation at China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, the meeting focused on key next steps for realizing the vision for a more effective and fully multilaterlized CEM and the decisions needed by ministers at CEM8. Expanding leadership of initiatives and campaigns across the CEM member countries and utilizing support from the new CEM Secretariat based at the International Energy Agency were identified as two essential elements to making sure the CEM will play a fundamental and sustained role in facilitating the global clean energy transition.
In his opening remarks, Dominique Ristori, Director General for Energy in the European Commission, highlighted the economic opportunity from the uptake of innovative technologies but noted that we must transform knowledge and innovation into new markets.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) previewed the findings of its 2017 Tracking Clean Energy Progress report that will be published in tandem with CEM8. While noting progress in certain areas—specifically electric vehicles (EVs), and solar and wind—the IEA also noted the need for accelerated deployment in other areas, particularly sustainable urban energy systems, transport, and industry.
Recognizing the potential for the year-round work taking place through the CEM’s initiatives and campaigns to drive progress in these critical areas, much of the meeting focused on reviewing progress and identifying gaps and opportunities for more targeted efforts. Delegates finalized new campaigns to launch at CEM8, one on electric vehicles and the other on thermal power plant flexibility. The topics for public-private roundtable discussions were also finalized: energy savings through increased connectivity, optimization of policies for renewable energy and energy efficiency, EV deployment policies for the next decade, and leveraging city-scale building efficiency action. Delegates also discussed a possible new CEM initiative on sustainable city development.
Progress in standing up the new CEM Secretariat based at the International Energy Agency was also a key agenda item. Christian Zinglersen, the new Head of the Secretariat, shared his vision for a more robust Secretariat function to support the distributed leadership and work streams of the CEM.
A highlight of the meeting was the CEM8 preview from China, including plans for a high-level opening ceremony, closed-door discussions and decision-making, a public–private action summit, a technology exhibition, an innovation theater, and potential site visits and side events. Further detail was also provided for plans for the ninth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM9), with the Nordic countries—Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden—announcing they would take a regional approach to hosting CEM9 in partnership with the European Commission.
The European Commission provided an overview of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package proposed to the European Union’s Member States in November 2016, highlighting alignment with the work of the CEM and possible relevance for CEM members.
Additional information about CEM8 will be shared at cleanenergyministerial.org/CEM8 and the CEM8 website as the date nears.
The assembled participants.