The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous agency established in 1974. The IEA carries out a comprehensive programme of energy co-operation among 29 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 Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCP) function within a framework created by the IEA. The TCP mechanism is a flexible and effective means 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. There are currently about 40 Technology Collaboration Programmes 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 TCP are at the core of a network of senior experts consisting of the Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT), four working parties and three expert groups – the IEA Energy Technology Network. More than 6,000 specialists carry out a vast body of research through these various initiatives (more than 1,400 projects to date). The CERT is supported by four expert Working Parties (end-use, fossil fuels, fusion and renewables) which oversee the activities of the TCP and evaluate their outcomes at the end of each term. The Working Parties provide leadership by guiding the TCP to shape work programmes that address current energy issues productively, by regularly reviewing their accomplishments, and suggesting reinforced efforts where needed. The Technology Collaboration Programme for Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems (SolarPACES) reports to the Working Party on Renewable Energy Technologies (REWP). Views, findings and publications of SolarPACES do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of all its individual member countries. For further information on the IEA, the CERT, Working Parties and the TCP, please consult www.iea.org/techinitiatives.