The Reuters news agency trumpeted IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven's call at the United Nations climate negotiations in Lima for governments to seize advantage of lower oil prices to shift to cleaner and more efficient uses of energy. Ms. Van der Hoeven said the price drop offers leaders the chance to implement a tax on carbon emissions or cut incentives for hydrocarbon production, Reuters reported. "In fact, this is a golden opportunity," it quoted her as saying. "Policy makers can take actions unthinkable a year ago."
IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven told The Guardian that the decision by the large German utility E.On to split its operations to concentrate on clean energy, power grids and energy efficiency services was a sign of the future. “I think it is very encouraging that a big utility is changing course because when we look at the electricity pie, it is not growing,” she told the British newspaper. “Demand is not growing in the EU and if you want to stay in business you have to do something about that. I think E.ON’s decision is a very interesting move.”
IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol presented the World Energy Outlook findings to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, his 10th consecutive year appearing before the group. In an onstage discussion with Michelle Patron, senior director for energy and climate on the US National Security Council, Dr. Birol reminded the audience of policy makers, journalists and energy experts of the need to maintain, despite the recent drop in oil prices, investment in energy production to meet growing long-term demand. He also addressed oil subsidies, pointing out not only their deleterious impact on national budgets but how they encourage waste. According to the transcript published by Petroleum World, he said "from economic point of view, it is suicidal. It is the least, least economic thing that you can do in your life, such as to run your car, not by gasoline, but by Chanel."
Solar power is most viable for remote locations as Africa increases electricity generation, an IEA analyst told Reuters for an article on the growth of renewables on the continent. While the IEA estimates that hydropower can cost less than USD 75 per megawatt hour and coal as little as USD 50, it finds solar, at USD 200, to be one-third less expensive than gasoline- or diesel-powered generators. "If it is replacing or displacing oil-fired power, then it would make sense," IEA analyst Brent Wanner told the news agency, so solar is especially appropriate for parts of Africa far from the grid.
For its coverage of the November Oil Market Report, the global press service Agence France-Presse used the headline, "Oil 'price rout' not over: IEA". The news article quoted a section from the IEA monthly short-term outlook for oil markets about speculation that relatively high costs for shale oil production "might set a new equilibrium for Brent prices in the $80 to $90 range, supply/demand balances suggest that the price rout has yet to run its course". Agence France-Presse further quoted the report as saying, "Our supply and demand forecasts indicate that barring any new supply disruption, downward price pressures could build further in the first half of 2015."
The website Breaking Energy focused on an IEA report on Saudi power generation: "Increasing domestic Saudi Arabian energy demand bumping up against volumes of oil available for export is an issue Breaking Energy has followed closely, and a new report from the International Energy Agency provides some updated detail on how the kingdom is addressing its energy dilemma." That report, which appears in the pages of IEA Energy, looks at how Saudi Arabia is turning to renewables to dent the burgeoning energy demand's impact on oil and natural gas consumption for electricity generation. Further, opportunity exists to trade power regionally or even with Europe.
The Natural Resource Defense Council blog NRDC Switchboard championed two recent IEA reports on energy efficiency as providing "clear evidence of the enormous value of using energy smarter". So the blog questioned the October New York Times guest opinion article "The Problem with Energy Efficiency", which the NRDC said "wrongly argued that energy efficiency advances only encourage more global energy consumption". The blog continued: "This is puzzling because numerous studies, including the two studies the authors themselves cite (and mischaracterize) – the IEA Multiple Benefits Study discussed above and a 2014 IPCC Working Group Report ... refute their claim that energy efficiency causes large 'rebounds', or increases in consumption. ... In fact, the IEA and IPCC reports considered the 'rebound' possibility and still overwhelmingly endorsed efficiency’s ability to cut energy use and pollution without stifling the standard of living for developing areas."
The website Sci.Dev.Net interviewed IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven for the release of the report Africa Energy Outlook, which it called the most comprehensive collection of data on the energy sector in the region to date. Ms. Van der Hoeven highlighted the need to develop sub-Saharan Africa's energy resources for local use. "Two out of three dollars invested in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2000 have gone to produce energy for export," she said, but "the real shortfall is the lack of investors ready to commit their capital to domestic energy provision."
Africa "is very rich in terms of energy resources but very poor in energy supply," IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told the The Christian Science Monitor after the release of the World Energy Outlook special report Africa Energy Outlook. "The economic and social development of Africa critically hinges on fixing the energy sector." The report says USD 450 billion in supplementary investment in sub-Saharan Africa's power sector could halve power outages and bring universal electricity access in cities by 2040, the newspaper reported, which along with other reforms would bolster the region's economy by 30%.
Bloomberg cited IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven prominently in its report on the official opening of the Boundary Dam coal-fired power plant's carbon capture and storage (CCS) operation. The Canadian project is the first significant use of CCS in electricity generation. After noting that the IEA expects CCS to play a key role as the world meets increasing power demand, it quoted Ms. Van der Hoeven: “CCS is the only known technology that will enable us to continue to use fossil fuels and also de-carbonise the energy sector.”