International Energy Agency 50th Anniversary Achieves Breakthroughs on Civil Nuclear, Outreach to India, and Momentum Toward Global Goal on Energy Storage

PARIS, FRANCE— Energy leaders from 50 countries met in Paris, France, February 13-14, to supercharge and empower the International Energy Agency (IEA) to continue to advance global clean energy transitions. On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary Ministerial this week, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and Deputy Secretary of Energy David M. Turk joined their counterparts in the first major global gathering on climate and energy since COP28 in Dubai last December. The IEA was originally created in response to the oil crisis of the early 1970s, initiating an oil stockholding and collective relief system to mitigate supply shocks, most recently used to halt Russia’s manipulation of oil markets at the onset of its invasion of Ukraine. It has since evolved into the world’s premier source of energy data as a platform for clean energy transition to ensure energy security. 

The unanimous Ministerial Communiqué translates the global commitment to transition away from fossil fuels from the Dubai agreement into action. Led by Assistant Secretary for International Affairs Andrew Light, members agreed to work with the IEA to advance a global target on energy storage, grids, and flexibility to turn the COP goal of tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 into base-load power. The United States will advance this ambition throughout major 2024 international negotiations on energy this year including the G7 and G20, under the presidencies of Italy and Brazil. 

For the first time in its 50 year history, the Ministerial Communique includes a strong paragraph on nuclear energy as a key component of a clean, secure, reliable, and safe  energy mix for those countries that choose to use it. This milestone comes just months after a group of two dozen countries committed to achieving a global goal of tripling nuclear capacity by 2050. 

In another groundbreaking achievement to enhance the global reach and utility of the IEA, Ministers welcomed discussions and enhanced engagement with India on becoming a member of the IEA, as reflected in the Joint Statement last June between President Biden and Prime Minister Modi. Said Secretary Granholm on this momentous announcement, “In so many ways, the world’s energy future will depend on India’s energy future. The world’s oldest continuous democracy looks forward to soon welcoming the world’s largest democracy into IEA membership to advance our shared climate and energy security goals.”

Other highlights included the establishment in Singapore of the first-ever IEA Regional Cooperation Center, an intensive effort over the last two years, and critically necessary given the importance of a successful Southeast Asia clean energy transition, and as a source of alternative clean energy supply chains. 

Finally, Ministers called for continued work in meeting the objectives of the IEA’s new Critical Minerals Security Program, which continues the IEA’s long-standing international role on energy security, particular to enhance diversity of supply away from single sources. This portion of the 2024 IEA Ministerial outcome builds on the foundation Secretary Granholm put forward on critical minerals and clean energy supply chains as chair of the 2022 IEA Ministerial.  Consistent with the IEA’s energy security mission of 50 years, IEA members are moving to operationalize is new minerals security program to ensure access to supply needed to deploy clean energy at scale.

Multiple sessions in the summit highlighted the continued illegal, immoral, and indefensible Russian invasion of Ukraine, including the continued and recently enhanced attacks on Ukraine’s electricity grid and energy infrastructure which are aimed directly at harming the civilian population. Many member energy ministers pledged their support in resources and equipment for Ukraine and the Ministry of Energy under the leadership of Minister German Galuschenko.     

Diversity and inclusion underpinned all the Ministerial sessions, with discussion of numerous national and multilateral programs focused on the importance of a people-centered clean energy transition with a focus on local economic development, leaving no community behind. 

The Ministerial also featured the first-ever IEA Energy Innovation Forum which included keynote remarks from Deputy Secretary Turk and ARPA-E Director Evelyn Wang.  The Forum brought together diverse participants from across the international ecosystem of energy innovators, including 70 companies and nearly 45 founders and CEOs. In a memorable readout of the Forum to the assembled ministers and industry guests, Turk highlighted that we need to, “innovate everything urgently to scale everywhere.”

Secretary Granholm, Deputy Secretary Turk, and Assistant Secretary Light held numerous bilateral meetings, including with Belgium, Canada, Columbia, Egypt, the European Commission, Finland, Korea, Poland, Singapore, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, and Ukraine, as well as numerous private sector leaders. 

Before returning to the U.S., Secretary Granholm traveled from Paris to Iceland to launch the new U.S.-Iceland Energy and Climate Dialogue, which will include work streams on geothermal energy, carbon management, and hydrogen. In particular, Iceland and the U.S. will be working together through the U.S.-led 22 country Partnership for Transatlantic Energy and Climate Cooperation (P-TECC) to assist countries in Central and Eastern Europe to expand their capacity in geothermal energy to enhance energy independence and transition to net zero sources. 

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