Clean Energy Transitions Programme 2020

Annual report 2020

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About this report

Since the launch of the Clean Energy Transitions Programme (CETP) in late 2017, the IEA has significantly expanded its work to help accelerate energy transitions in major emerging economies. The CETP is playing a critical role in supporting clean energy transitions, putting sustainable development at the heart of economic recovery measures and further strengthening the IEA family.

The CETP Annual Report 2020 highlights the programme’s main activities, presenting major outcomes and areas for further work as well as planned activities for 2021. It also summarises IEA activities related to clean energy transitions at a global level, and introduces new and innovative analyses and resources produced throughout the year.
The report initially provides an overview of the CETP’s objectives, then presents highlights of activities and achievements for each priority country (Brazil, the People’s Republic of China. India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa), each priority region (Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia), and globally.

2020 was a critical year for the prospects of clean energy transitions worldwide. Since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, the IEA has led calls for governments to both achieve a sustainable, resilient recovery and address the looming climate crisis.

Throughout this challenging year, the Clean Energy Transitions Programme (CETP) played an important role in ensuring that the task of building a secure and sustainable energy future was strengthened. The programme’s activities were adapted to confront the disruption brought by the pandemic while furthering our goal of accelerating clean energy transitions when and where it matters most. Responding to calls from governments, the IEA produced detailed, cost-effective policy options to support sustainable recoveries, explored in detail the impacts of the pandemic on energy markets and systems, and set out near-term actions that could help accelerate clean energy transitions.

Relying on the independent, data-grounded approach and unique expertise of the IEA, the programme continues to be uniquely situated to provide targeted analysis and recommendations even as the crisis affects the energy sector. The IEA has done this through initiatives such as the Global Sustainable Recovery Plan and other efforts such as exploring ways to enhance private-sector investment in transmission in Southeast Asia; identifying ways to attract private power sector investment to fund sustainable recovery in Indonesia; engaging with partners to support clean energy transitions in North Africa; sustained and tailored co‑operation to support the design of the Chinese emissions trading scheme in the power sector; and working with India to identify energy efficiency stimulus measures in the country.

Crafting sustainable recovery packages with and for emerging economies presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help drive the shift towards a cleaner and more inclusive energy future. We can help create millions of jobs around the globe. We can help realise multiple climate, air pollution, health and climate resilience-related benefits.

Never has it been more important to collaborate with key emerging economies. In its three years of existence, the CETP has dramatically expanded the IEA’s work to support Brazil, the People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa – economies that collectively account for close to 45% of CO2 emissions from fuel combustion and which represent over two-thirds of emissions from developing economies. The programme has also continuously expanded its regional-level work in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia – by developing partnerships with major institutions and playing an important convening role.

In July 2020 the IEA held its first Clean Energy Transitions Summit, a major initiative to bridge the gap between climate goals and energy realities. Ministers from countries representing over 80% of the world economy gathered around a virtual table with key actors from the private sector and civil society to build an ambitious, real-world “grand coalition” committed to tackling climate change. The discussion included the ministers of the six key emerging economies targeted under the CETP and from countries in targeted regions. Several ministers at the summit thanked the IEA for its CETP assistance; others signalled their plans to increase their support for the programme; and, overall, participants welcomed the success of the IEA’s CETP in building trust and providing actionable advice to the world’s largest emerging economies on their most consequential clean energy transition challenges. On 31 March we jointly hosted with the UK government the IEA–COP26 Net Zero Summit. This summit focused on the implementation actions necessary to start converting the growing number of net-zero goals into reality (and also informed the preparation of the upcoming IEA Special Report: The World’s Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050).

We will also look forward to deepening and expanding the CETP’s impact in the decisive months and years to come. My most sincere thanks go to the United Kingdom, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Sweden, the European Commission, The Netherlands, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Finland, New Zealand and Australia for their essential support and continued involvement. Our shared ambition to turn collective aspirations into hard reality is at the heart of the programme.

Since 2015 the IEA has embarked on an ambitious transformation to become the leading voice in clean energy transitions, with the launch of the CETP being a critical milestone. The deep transformation of energy systems we need to achieve in the next decade is unprecedented in speed and scale. Achieving global net-zero emission goals would notably mean boosting investment in clean electricity by 2030 from USD 380 billion to USD 1.6 trillion by 2030.

With the CETP as a concrete illustration of our collective willingness and capacity to accelerate the pace of change toward the sustainable energy systems of the future, I remain more optimistic than ever about our prospects for success. The agency stands ready to continue supporting the IEA family under the CETP so that we deliver, together, a better energy future.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge former IEA Deputy Executive Director Dave Turk as the inspiration behind the creation of the CETP three years ago and for his tireless efforts ever since, which have made it what it is today. Dave has recently left the IEA to return to the United States to take on even bigger and brighter challenges. We will no longer be sharing adjoining offices, but our friendship will continue from afar and I am convinced his contribution to global clean energy transitions will go from strength to strength.

Executive summary

2020 CETP Highlights

  • 44% Proportion of global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion emitted by CETP priority countries
  • 36 exchanges with ministers and high-level officials
  • 127 technical exchanges in CETP  priority countries
  • 30 capacity-building events
  • 2 644 participants trained
  • 46 reports produced or enhanced

CETP progress in 2020

During its first two years of existence (2018 and 2019), the CETP created a strong foundation of engagement, relationships and partnerships with major emerging economies. This groundwork meant the programme was in a position to adapt rapidly to the disruption and opportunities brought by the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020.

In 2020 we held 30 capacity-building events across the world. Adapting to the Covid-19 crisis, our mostly online events and material helped train over 2 600 participants, ensuring the programme kept a strong expertise-sharing component at its forefront, despite travel restrictions. We also tailored our activities and analysis to the pandemic by supporting targeted appraisals, investigations and international dialogue on the Covid-19 crisis

We ensured high-level buy-in to our work through 36 discussions with government ministers and high-level officials on major energy topics, held within the framework of the CETP. We worked to provide ad hoc support through 127 technical exchanges.

The virtual nature of some of these high-level events also broadened our audience and reinforced the impact of our messages on clean energy transitions. The digital livestream of the Clean Energy Transitions Summit held in July notably attracted over 2 million viewers worldwide.

Clean Energy Transitions Summit

IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit, 9 July 2020

How we work

The CETP harnesses the IEA’s unique expertise, credibility and convening power to deepen and accelerate the implementation of clean energy transitions. The programme is designed to assist policy makers and other relevant stakeholders in their priority setting and implementation activity by combining skills: high-level strategy planning, expert-level co‑operation, technical capacity strengthening and international experience sharing. The programme is designed to translate evidence and experience of energy transitions into action by advancing co‑operation between countries and regions on data and analysis, policy design and implementation, capacity building, and technical and high-level engagement.

The CETP’s priority countries are Brazil, the People’s Republic of China (hereafter, “China”), India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa – economies that collectively accounted for 44% of CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in 2019. Our additional target regions are Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

The CETP achieved many on-the-ground successes in each of its seven work streams in 2020 – data and statistics, energy efficiency, electricity, policy advice and modelling, sectoral work, innovation, and digitalisation – by continuing to build upon its four key pillars: high-level engagement and collaboration, joint learning and knowledge exchange, enhancing knowledge and evidence for policy making, and supporting solutions-oriented multilateral engagement.

Country overview


Our activities with Brazil continued to expand; key highlights of our work included:

  • Working with the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) and the Energy Research Office (EPE) to provide continuing support on the development of regulations for the new architecture and modernisation of the power system.
  • Contributing two chapters to The Atlas of Energy Efficiency – Indicators Report jointly with EPE: one highlighting the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on energy consumption and efficiency, and another featuring an in-depth analysis of progress in Brazil and around the world on cement sector efficiency and emissions abatement.
  • Engaging with Brazil to support the development of energy technology RD&D tracking.
  • Continuing to expand efforts and interactions on innovation with major stakeholders throughout 2020, such as the ministries of energy and science and the Brazilian electricity regulator.


The IEA’s relationship with China went from strength to strength in 2020; top highlights included:

  • High-level engagement between the IEA Executive Director and Chinese officials, including Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua and Minister Huang Runqiu regarding extensive collaboration between the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) and the IEA on climate change co‑operation.
  • The 6th joint workshop with Tsinghua University to exchange expertise on efficient cooling and green buildings with a special focus on sustainable recovery and net-zero pathways.
  • Supporting the National Energy Administration (NEA) in the preparation of its 14th five-year plan on energy, providing recommended targets on a rapid decarbonising pathway.
  • Advising China on the design of its national ETS, power sector reform and long-term low-carbon policy packages.
  • Advising grid operators and market regulators on the effective design of the country’s power markets to facilitate a high renewables system.
  • Mapping China’s clean energy innovation landscape and recent trends, continuing in 2021 ahead of finalisation of the 14th five-year plan.
  • Significant methodological work and early release of Chinese energy statistics and balances in 2020 (and 2021).
Fatih Birol Chinese Officials

High-level exchanges with Chinese officials


Engagement with India under the CETP was strengthened in 2020 across all work streams; top examples include:

  • Dr Fatih Birol’s participation in an online conference with the Prime Minister of India, the Hon. Narendra Modi, and global energy leaders to discuss the outlook for the energy sector.
  • Supporting the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) to identify energy efficiency stimulus measures that could be included in an economic recovery package.
  • Publication of the India 2020 Energy Policy Review, providing insights on the rise of India in the global energy market and recommendations for strengthening its energy sector.
  • Working with NITI Aayog, the government of India’s think tank, to share expertise on national energy tariffs and prices, and provide recommendations to enhance data to inform and support policies.
  • In collaboration with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), influencing policy by sharing innovative regulatory and policy options to scale up rooftop PV in India.
  • A state-level workshop in Gujarat to inform actions for integrating solar and wind into its electricity system; developing the Gujarat power system model and a renewable energy integration roadmap.
  • Producing the third joint Clean Energy Investment Trends report with the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) to assess the challenges to attracting capital.
  • The Iron and Steel Technology Roadmap, with a particular focus on decarbonising the sector in India.
  • High-level dialogue with officials, building on the ETP Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation, and generating interest in deepening co‑operation.
IEA ED and Modi

IEA Executive Director participates in the Indian energy meeting with PM Modi


In 2020 the IEA’s work programme with Indonesia became one of our most dynamic, with Indonesia increasingly looking to the IEA as a central day-to-day partner on key policy priorities – with enormous potential to continue to expand impact in 2021. Highlights included:

  • Tailored guidance on how to develop effective renewables remuneration mechanisms that are at the centre of the upcoming Presidential Decree on Renewables, and which are critical to enhancing the clean energy investment environment in Indonesia.
  • Detailed analysis of grid integration aspects of one of the world’s largest planned floating solar projects, contributing to its ultimate approval in late-2020.
  • Launching high-profile long-term assistance on power system enhancement – including institutional, regulatory, policy and techno-economic aspects – to drive renewables integration and modernisation.
  • The preparation of an Indonesia country report under the auspices of the 2020 World Energy Investment publication on Attracting private investment to fund sustainable recoveries: The case of Indonesia's power sector.
  • Supporting the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) in the development of regulations for electric vehicles and a land-based transport roadmap.
  • Engagement with senior Indonesian officials to assist their policy making for the transition from LPG to electric cook stoves for household and small-scale use.
  • Early release of Indonesian energy statistics and balances in 2020 (and 2021).


The year was highly successful for the IEA’s engagement with Africa, including:

  • Providing training and capacity building on energy statistics and modelling to officials from the energy ministries of 10 sub-Saharan African countries. Around 100 high-level participants have taken part in the first online training activities.
  • Releasing the Clean Energy Transitions in North Africa report, which identified pathways and recommendations to accelerate clean energy transitions in five countries (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia).
  • Promoting energy efficiency in the region, helping bring together initiatives from Energy Efficient Lighting and Appliances (EELA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to drive further development of minimum energy performance standards in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Updating annual country-by-country data on energy access and access modelling for World Energy Outlook and SDG7 reports.
  • Working with governments to assess the impacts of Covid-19 on electricity and clean cooking access, and to understand emergency measures.
  • Assessing the climate vulnerability and resilience of the power sector to enhance the climate resilience of African hydropower through a climate risk and impact assessment, and by introducing potential resilience measures.
  • Examining options for the future design of South Africa’s carbon tax for the National Treasury, its role in addressing environmental externalities in liquid fuel taxation, and how it could be used to incentivise improved emissions intensity in the electricity sector.
  • Early release of South African energy statistics and balances in 2020 (and 2021).

Latin America

During 2020 our engagement with the region expanded through activities such as:

  • Expanding collaboration with the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) on data and statistics to include energy efficiency indicators and energy price data.
  • Launching the online course on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, which reached students from across the region, with 646 completing the full 40-hour course.
  • The global conference Energy Efficiency – An Ace up the Sleeve for Energy Transitions, co-organised with the Chilean Ministry of Energy, which drew more than 1 000 viewers.
  • Work with Chile on the preparation of its flexibility strategy, which will change the country’s approach to flexibility in the coming years.
  • Under the 3DEN Initiative, expanded research on the policy, regulatory and investment context needed to upgrade and mobilise Latin America’s grid infrastructure for the clean energy transition, engaging with OLADE and governments and stakeholders across the region, including in Brazil, Chile, and Colombia.

IEA–OLADE Ministerial Roundtable

Southeast Asia

Highlights of our ever-expanding work with Southeast Asia in 2020 included:

  • Strengthened relationship following ASEAN’s decision to name the IEA as a strategic partner in 2019, as emphasised by the IEA Executive Director’s speech to the 38th ASEAN Ministers of Energy Meeting.
  • Expanded analysis of cooling in support of the ASEAN–IEA Cooling Partnership and completion of a retail market survey of air conditioners and refrigerators, using crowd-sourced data in Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam.
  • Continued support as a main partner to the ASEAN Secretariat and various stakeholders (such as Heads of ASEAN Power Utilities/Authorities [HAPUA] and the ASEAN Energy Regulatory Network [AERN]) to facilitate progress on developing the recommendations IEA provided on minimum requirements for multilateral power trade.
  • Responding to a request from 2020 ASEAN Chair Viet Nam to explore ways to enhance private-sector investment in transmission regionally. Expanding and enhancing the grid is critical to clean energy transitions in Southeast Asia.
  • Assistance to the region to assess the challenges and opportunities that carbon markets present to the power sector and on integrating carbon markets into other clean energy policies in the region, particularly in Thailand.
  • Technical assistance with Thailand, and its state-owned utility EGAT, on ways to enhance the contractual and technical flexibility of the power sector, an innovative approach that is critical to the decarbonisation of electricity.
  • Early release of Thailand and Singapore data in 2020 (April), and even earlier in 2021 (February).
Looking ahead

The need for the CETP – and its prospects for further impact – has never been stronger. As the IEA further strengthens its role in leading global clean energy transitions, the CETP will enhance work to reduce investment gaps in emerging and developing economies, improve the prospects for job creation through clean energy transitions, and help ensure people-centred transitions. The IEA will further build upon its trusted relationships with major emerging economies to further promote implementation of sustainable recoveries.

The programme will also expand its influence and impact by enhancing collaboration with leading international financial institutions, economic ministries and other important partners. In March 2021 the IEA hosted – jointly with the UK government – the IEA-COP26 Net Zero Summit to take stock of the growing list of commitments to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement and focus on the implementing actions necessary to begin turning the growing number of net-zero goals into reality.