Int’l energy agency to become ‘central bank’ for renewable energy
Merve Erdil - PARIS
REUTERS photoNew International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol has said he plans to focus on boosting renewable energy in addition to fossil fuels by turning the agency into “a kind of central bank” in renewable energy technologies, during his first interview since assuming the position.
Birol took office on Sept. 1 as the new executive director of the IEA after years as a chief economist at the agency, ushering in a new era for the global energy authority. He was the first IEA chief who was elected by the support of all 29 member countries.
“The latest developments in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, Yemen and Syria, may be signaling tougher days ahead for the energy markets. As the IEA head, there are two things I want to achieve. We have 29 members from the United States to Japan, but some of the leading energy players are not a member, such as China, India and Mexico. My first aim is to attract such countries to our agency. In this vein, I’ll make my first official visit to Beijing, not to Brussels or Washington. I want to be able to make China, India and Mexico IAE members,” he said.
Birol’s second aim was to enable the IEA to play a leading role in clean energy.
“Our agency worked seriously in the oil, natural gas and nuclear energy areas. I believe it is now time for the IEA to hold a leading position in renewable energy issues. I even want to turn the agency into a kind of central bank for renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy technologies,” he said.
On the road to achieving this goal, the agency will search for ways to integrate new energy technologies into various markets, he said.
“For instance, we have conducted some research about how to increase energy efficiency in cars across several countries… We have acquired some knowhow about which regulations are needed, which problems are faced, which practices are the best, etc. We want to transfer this to other countries… The more people use renewable energy, the lower the costs will be,” he said.