The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous agency established in 1974. The IEA carries out a comprehensive programme of energy co-operation among 28 advanced economies, each of which is obliged to hold oil stocks equivalent to 90 days of its net imports. The aims of the IEA are to:
- Secure member countries’ access to reliable and ample supplies of all forms of energy; in particular, through maintaining effective emergency response capabilities in case of oil supply disruptions.
- Promote sustainable energy policies that spur economic growth and environmental protection in a global context – particularly in terms of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
- Improve transparency of international markets through collection and analysis of energy data.
- Support global collaboration on energy technology to secure future energy supplies and mitigate their environmental impact, including through improved energy efficiency and development and deployment of low-carbon technologies.
- Find solutions to global energy challenges through engagement and dialogue with non-member countries, industry, international organisations and other stakeholders.
To attain these goals, increased co-operation between industries, businesses and government energy technology research is indispensable. The public and private sectors must work together, share burdens and resources, while at the same time multiplying results and outcomes.
The energy technology initiatives (Technology Collaboration Programmes) supported by the IEA are a flexible and effective framework for IEA member and non-member countries, businesses, industries, international organisations and non-government organisations to research breakthrough technologies, to fill existing research gaps, to build pilot plants, to carry out deployment or demonstration programmes – in short to encourage technology-related activities that support energy security, economic growth and environmental protection.
More than 6,000 specialists carry out a vast body of research through these various initiatives. To date, more than 1,300 projects have been completed. There are currently 40 Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCP) working in the areas of:
- Cross-Cutting Activities (information exchange, modelling, technology transfer)
- End-Use (buildings, electricity, industry, transport)
- Fossil Fuels (greenhouse-gas mitigation, supply, transformation)
- Fusion Power (international experiments)
- Renewable Energies and Hydrogen (technologies and deployment)
The Technology Collaboration Programme for Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (IEA-RETD) belongs to the renewable energies category above. The TCPs are at the core of a network of senior experts consisting of the Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT), four working parties and two experts groups. A key role of the CERT is to provide leadership by guiding the IAs to shape work programmes that address current energy issues productively, by regularly reviewing their accomplishments, and suggesting reinforced efforts where needed. For further information on the IEA, the CERT and the TCPs, please consult http://www.iea.org/techinitiatives/. For the TCP page corresponding to the IEA-RETD, see http://www.iea.org/techinitiatives/renewableenergy/renewablesdeployment/.