Recognizing the growing urgency of the world’s energy and climate challenges, energy leaders from the world’s largest economies and others gathered in Seoul for the fifth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM5) to strategize next steps in their efforts to accelerate the deployment of clean and efficient energy. Hosted by Korea on 12–13 May, CEM5 got underway with opening remarks from Yoon Sang-Jick, Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, who said it was important for those present to “spur a cycle of technology development and market creation.” U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz co-chaired the meeting, and in his opening remarks he called on those present to “aim for nothing less than a worldwide clean energy revolution.
Over the two-day meeting, energy ministers and other high-level delegates highlighted progress made through the Ministerial’s collaborative initiatives and announced new and expanded actions that will enhance clean energy supply, improve energy efficiency and expand clean energy access around the world.
In an ambitious effort to reduce energy use on a global scale, the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative opened a competition to recognize the most energy-efficient lighting around the world. Grid-based lighting accounts for almost 20% of world electricity consumption. By recognizing and promoting the world’s most energy-efficient lighting, the SEAD competition will spur greater innovation among manufacturers and help buyers make informed purchasing decisions that can lower energy bills.
The Clean Energy Solutions Center and the International Renewable Energy Agency signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the Renewable Energy Policy Advice Network (REPAN). The jointly led network will leverage both organizations’ resources by coordinating a global network of experts and practitioners that helps countries design and implement renewable energy policies and programs.
The Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group announced the release of a new report, econValue – The Socio-Economic Benefits of Renewable Energy, which highlights approaches for measuring the economic value, such as jobs and tax revenues, created from the deployment of solar and wind technologies.
The United Kingdom announced a new project under the Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) Action Group to produce a guide for countries wishing to implement carbon dioxide (CO2) storage assessment methodologies. This project will be jointly funded by the UK and Korea. The Action Group also announced that it would transition its work to the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, which will also take on the role of delivering CCUS key messages to ministers during future meetings.
The 21st Century Power Partnership (21CPP) announced major new support from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) to help Mexico transform its power sector. CIFF will provide up to $3.9 million for power sector technical support that will help Mexico achieve secure, reliable and clean electricity as part of its energy reform agenda.
Mexico also announced a new voluntary industry standard for cool roofs that was developed through support from the Global Superior Energy Performance (GSEP) initiative. The standard provides a technical definition of a cool roof and procedures for testing and rating cool roof materials, providing an important early step in the development of a cool roof market in Mexico.
Additional announcements were made regarding engagement in CEM initiatives: Canada announced it will join the Electric Vehicles Initiative; Japan announced it will join the C3E Women in Clean Energy initiative; and Denmark will join the International Smart Grid Action Network.
Ministers also announced that the CEM would explore three additional work streams: the market accessibility of clean energy products, clean energy finance, and the energy-water nexus.
A unique feature of CEM5 was the Model CEM program. University students were selected to represent CEM member governments and took part in a parallel session to discuss measures to strengthen international cooperation.
CEM5 also featured an awards ceremony where winners of the three award programs active under CEM initiatives were recognized. Entergy New Orleans, Inc.’s “SmartView” Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) pilot took top honors in the inaugural ISGAN Award of Excellence for its consumer engagement and empowerment efforts. Samsung and LG were recognized as winners of SEAD Global Efficiency Medal competition for the world’s most energy-efficient computer monitors. The Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) announced winners of the inaugural Global LEAP Off-Grid Appliance Awards.
Global LEAP also organized a first-of-its-kind off-grid appliance and clean energy system “PlugFest” during CEM5. The event brought together low-voltage direct current (DC) appliance manufacturers, off-grid solar home system (SHS) companies and other energy access professionals to share best practices and to test appliance-system interoperability — a key challenge facing the off-grid clean energy access market.
Looking ahead, the Government of Mexico will host the sixth Clean Energy Ministerial in 2015.