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Interview: IEA new chief expects intensified cooperation with China

(Xinhua)

16:49, September 08, 2011

PARIS, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Cooperation between the International Energy Agency and China will be intensified as China has very active energy policy beyond coal and nuclear and IEA expects to make more contribution on energy efficiency, the new executive director of the Paris-based agency told Xinhua Wednesday.

"I know relations will be intensified because China is one of the outreach countries for the IEA," Maria van der Hoeven said in her favorite red at her new office where she started mission a week ago.

"Energy security is a global issue, so we have to tackle it in a global way and it can't be done only be the 28 members of IEA, we have to keep in mind what's happening in emerging countries," she said, citing China's important role in world energy market.

Recalling her visit to China in 2009, the former Dutch economy minister said: "What strikes me is that many people don't know enough about China." Except coal energy, many people don't know China also have very active policy on wind, solar energy and on hydro, she said.

According to IEA, a report on wind roadmap project is to be launched on Oct. 20th in China. "This is very important because it shows that China is really developing an energy policy that goes beyond coal and beyond nuclear," she added, " I think these are some figures of Chinese energy policy that are not quite well-known in other countries."

To Ms. van der Hoeven, China's relying on diversified resources is what results the wind roadmap report and the cooperation with the IEA. Satisfying on present relations with China, the new IEA chief didn't see membership as a necessary element in future cooperation between the two.

"Membership is not a pre-requisite for tangible outcome; pre-requisite for tangible outcome is good working relations and is to see whether we can develop win-win situations for instance, on data transparency and market transparency, transparency of supply and demand," she said frankly.

Recognizing China's efforts in promoting energy efficiency, she urged coal-fire power plants in China to adopt the new technologies and policy makers to make energy references like setting up price leverages to guide investment, consumption and innovation.

Noting the difficulties facing emerging countries in balancing developing and environment protection, she underlined the access to energy for all. "Of course I know in some other countries, the energy efficiency is not something to be pride of," she admitted referring to the high energy consumption per capital in the United States.

The IEA planned to release a report about energy access for all in Oslo on October 10th.

IEA said it sees China has a unique policy-making process that involves deep study of how other countries have approached challenges similar to those it faces and the quality and influence of IEA statistics and analysis are also recognized and accepted by China.

Ms. van der Hoeven has scheduled her first visit to China as the IEA chief in November to present the 2011 version of its annually World Energy Outlook. "I have faith in China's energy policy," she said.

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