The sixth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM6) was held in Mérida, Mexico on 27–28 May 2015. Energy ministers and other heads of delegation agreed to launch an enhanced, second phase of work under the CEM, referred to as “CEM 2.0,” that will play a fundamental and sustained role in accelerating the transition to a global clean energy economy.
As part of CEM 2.0, the energy leaders announced the establishment of a new CEM Steering Committee and global efforts addressing three critical technology and policy challenges: efficient lighting, low-carbon power systems, and the availability of information about policies for low-carbon development.
To conclude CEM6, President Barack Obama announced in a video message that the United States will host CEM7 in 2016, which was followed by the announcement by China's Minister Wan Gang that China intends to host CEM8 in 2017.
Ministers and senior officials from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States attended the meeting. The CEM welcomed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a new member. Representatives from the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, and the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation were also present as official observer organizations.
CEM 2.0 and the CEM Steering Committee
A new CEM Steering Committee was created to provide year-round leadership and strategic guidance to CEM efforts and to prioritize efforts in areas of greatest potential impact. The inaugural members of the Steering Committee are China, Denmark, the European Commission, France, India, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
Ministers launched three critical efforts to drive action in the clean energy space:
The CEM Global Lighting Challenge is a global race to reach cumulative sales of 10 billion high-efficiency, high-quality, and affordable advanced lighting products as quickly as possible. With lighting accounting for 15 percent of global electricity usage, replacing the world’s existing lighting with these products could save over $100 billion in avoided electricity costs and lower annual CO2 emissions by 534 million metric tons. The challenge was launched by Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United States, and the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission. The United Nations Environment Programme also stated support, noting the Challenge will provide critical market pull and awareness-raising.
Under the CEM Power System Challenge, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission endorsed a set of principles to help guide their country’s efforts toward the clean, reliable, resilient, and affordable power systems of the future. Endorsing countries agreed to take actions such as developing national roadmaps and strategies to increase energy efficiency while also taking advantage of smart grid technologies and renewable resources such as wind and solar power.
Ministers also announced efforts to dramatically scale up the Clean Energy Solutions Center, a CEM initiative that has already provided real-time, no-cost clean energy expert policy assistance to more than 80 countries around the world. The scale-up includes increasing the number of global experts to respond to significantly more requests for assistance as well as establishing a new portal dedicated to clean energy finance. Both Australia and the United States announced additional funding support. Canada, France, India, Italy, and Indonesia announced the provision of additional experts and tools.
Mexico Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquin Coldwell welcomed ministers and delegates in the opening plenary and described steps that Mexico is taking in the clean energy space, particularly in energy efficiency. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz set the stage for the meeting by commenting that actions must match the scale of the CEM’s core objective to accelerate the global transition to a clean energy economy.
Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the IEA, presented the 2015 Tracking Clean Energy report 2015, prepared for CEM6. The presentation also referenced how metrics and objectives could support the design and implementation of policies and could be used to help track CEM progress.
Adnan Amin, Director General of IRENA, spoke about key trends in the global clean energy transformation, highlighting market mechanisms, grid integration, and energy storage as critical to the next phase of clean energy development.
Christoph Frei, Director General of the World Energy Council, presented forecasts from the Council’s two energy scenarios and the 2015 World Energy Trilemma report, citing survey results from energy leaders in more than 80 countries showing the lack of a global climate framework as one of the sector’s greatest uncertainties.
Addressing the meeting by video, Laurent Fabius, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development and President of the United Nations Paris climate change conference (COP21), stressed the importance of clean energy, which he said would be "central" to reaching a universal agreement to limit global warming.
Senior government officials and private sector representatives participated in six public-private roundtables on accelerating energy productivity, sustainable urban energy systems, achieving a social license for clean energy deployment, finance for energy access, power system transformation and utilities of the future, and public-private consortia for advanced clean energy technology research. The CEM Secretariat produced a report on the discussions and outcomes of the roundtables.
Clean Energy Finance Presentation and Panel
Michael Liebreich, Chairman of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, presented clean energy investment trends around the world, highlighting the large cost reductions for renewable technologies that have occurred over the last several years. He then chaired a panel of experts on clean energy finance. The panelists noted that new mechanisms have evolved to finance clean energy projects, although challenges with foreign currency and political risks remain in developing countries.
Ministers and delegates discussed and took decisions about several matters pertaining to CEM 2.0. In addition to creating the Steering Committee and launching the three priority initiatives, they also agreed to establish a periodic review process for CEM initiatives featuring an independent review panel.
Delegates also discussed potential topics for special emphasis at CEM7 and beyond. Suggestions included sustainable and smart cities, the Clean Energy Empowerment and Education initiative, the ISO 50001 energy management system standard, and energy productivity.
Following up on potential new work streams proposed at CEM5, Secretary Moniz reported that there was insufficient support for creating a CEM initiative on energy-water issues. Korea announced that it is delaying work on its potential market access for clean energy products initiative.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) provided coverage of the meeting. A highlights video is available.