TOKYO – Dr Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, met with Mr Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, to discuss future co-operation between Japan and the IEA, and to exchange views on major energy issues in Japan and around the world.
Dr Birol thanked Mr Seko for Japan’s support to the IEA Clean Energy Transitions Programme, which is backed by Japan and 12 other countries to leverage the IEA’s unique energy expertise across all fuels and technologies to help accelerate global clean-energy transitions, particularly in major emerging economies. Dr Birol and Mr Seko also discussed ways in which the IEA could work with Japan as they take on the Presidency of the G20 in 2019..
Following his meeting with Mr Seko, the Executive Director provided testimony to Japan Government’s Roundtable for Studying Energy Situations. The objective of the roundtable is to hear opinions from global experts and specialists on global energy trends, with a view to exploring policy options toward 2050, in a way that is consistent with meeting global warming goals and ensuring economic growth at the same time.
In his presentation, Dr Birol highlighted four main upheavals facing today’s global energy system: the rapid deployment and falling costs of clean energy technologies, the growing electrification of energy, the shift to a more services-oriented economy and a cleaner energy mix in China, and the resilience of shale gas and tight oil in the United States.
He finished by outlining a series of recommendations for Japan to speed up its own energy transition, while ensuring energy remains secure and affordable. These included the need for the growth in Wind and solar PV to be deployed in parallel with measure to improve system flexibility, including demand side response, distributed generation and storage. Along with many other energy technologies such as efficiency, Japan is already a world leader in electricity storage and has great potential to champion demand-side response.