About

The Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation, launched during IRENA’s 8th Meeting of the Assembly in January 2018, works to achieve a better understanding of the geopolitical implications of a large-scale shift to renewable energy. With the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals driving profound change in the global energy system, the Commission will analyse how higher shares of renewable energy and increased energy efficiency will impact relations between states and thus reshape global energy diplomacy.

Commission objectives

 

Review and analyse

the degree to which a renewables-led energy transformation may change national and global politics.

Develop a knowledge framework

around the geopolitical challenges and opportunities associated with energy transformation through rigorous research and analysis.

Prepare a report

detailing the findings of the Commission’s work and drawing conclusions for further debate and developments.

Develop an action framework

that suggests how countries can thrive in the new energy economy in line with the Paris Climate Agreement objectives and the SDGs.
 

COMMISSIONERS

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (Commission Chair, Iceland)

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was the President of Iceland for twenty years, 1996-2016; elected five times in nationwide elections. He now serves as the Chairman of the Arctic Circle, which he founded in 2013 with various Arctic partners.

Prior to becoming President, Mr. Grímsson served as Minister of Finance, Member of Parliament, and was the first Professor of Political Science at the University of Iceland. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he was the President of Parliamentarians for Global Action, an international organization of legislators.

Mr. Grímsson has been an active participant in the global climate dialogue for decades, and during his Presidency he initiated and promoted clean energy projects across a number of continents including Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the United States and the Americas – often using Icelandic achievements and technologies as a model. He has also worked closely with Abu Dhabi in its clean energy programme and serves as Chairman of the Jury of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, one of the most distinguished energy prizes in the world. Mr. Grímsson serves on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Energy for All, created by the United Nations and the World Bank. In addition to devoting his post-presidential efforts to the three areas of climate, the Arctic and clean energy, Mr. Grímsson is also involved in international cooperation on the oceans and the evolution of sustainable use of marine resources.

He has received many international awards, including the Nehru Award for International Understanding, presented by the President of India; and has lectured at universities in many countries.

 

 
 

Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Sulaiman (Saudi Arabia)

Khalid M. Al-Sulaiman was Vice President for Renewable Energy at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A. CARE) in Saudi Arabia.

He served there until March 2014. Mr. Sulaiman was formerly Deputy Minister for Industry at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, where he led the development of the National Industrial Strategy 2020.

He currently serves as Executive Chairman of the Board of Saudi Tech Engineering, Saudi Labs, and is a Board member of ACWA Holding and Malaz Capital. Mr. Sulaiman has also held several leading positions at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) since 1985.

 

 
 

Adnan Z. Amin (Kenya)

Adnan Z. Amin is the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), currently serving his second term.

In 2011, he was elected as IRENA’s first Director-General and during his tenure, IRENA has achieved near universal membership and grown to become the global authority on renewable energy.

The Agency today provides the world community with a strong, international co-operation framework to accelerate the energy transformation.

Prior to joining IRENA, Mr. Amin served as Head of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) Secretariat, and led the Secretariat for the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence. He also served as the Director of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) New York Office. Mr. Amin has more than 25 years of experience in renewable energy, sustainable development and environmental policy. He is a development economist from Kenya.

 

 
 

Anatoly Chubais (Russia)

Anatoly Chubais was Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister under the first Russian government led by Y.G. Gaidar, where he set up and ran the state property privatization programme.

Under a Boris Yeltsin administration, Mr. Chubais took the position of Chief of Staff of the President and held posts as Deputy Prime Minister for economic and financial policies, First Deputy Prime Minister and Russian Finance Minister.

He represented Russia in international financial organizations, including the IMF and World Bank and was a member of the Russian Security Council. Euromoney Magazine named him the world’s best Finance Minister in 1997.

Between 1998 and 2008, Mr. Chubais was the Chairman of the Board at the RAO UES of Russia. He brought the industry out of the insolvency crisis, ensuring steady supply of electric power and reforming the electric power supply chain by dividing the system into the monopoly and competitive sectors. In 2008, the President appointed Mr Chubais the CEO of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.

 

 
 

Christiana Figueres (Costa Rica)

Christiana Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on global climate change, who served as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) between 2010 and 2016.

During her tenure, Ms Figueres is credited with having spearheaded negotiations that lead to the delivery of the unprecedented Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

She also directed the successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014, culminating in the historic Paris Agreement of 2015.

Ms Figueres is currently the convener of Mission 2020, a global initiative that seeks to ensure the world bends the curve on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 in order to protect the most vulnerable from the worst impacts of climate change and usher in an era of stability and prosperity.

She initiated her life of public service as Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Bonn, Germany in 1982. Moving to the USA, she was Director of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) and in 1995 founded the non-profit Center for Sustainable Development of the Americas (CSDA) which she directed for eight years. Ms. Figueres holds a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the London School of Economics, and a certificate in Organizational Development from Georgetown University.

 

 
 

Joschka Fischer (Germany)

Joschka Fischer served as Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany from 1998 to 2005. He led the German Green Party in its first participation in government at the state and federal levels.

From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Fischer held a professorship at the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Mr. Fischer is a founding partner of Joschka Fischer and Company, a strategy and government affairs consultancy based in Berlin, Germany.

 

 
 

Maria van der Hoeven (The Netherlands)

Maria van der Hoeven served as Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) between 2011 - 2016. She also served on the Advisory Board for the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative between 2013 and 2015.

Prior to that, Ms. van der Hoeven served as Minister of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands from 2001 to 2007, and as Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy from 2007 to 2010.

Ms. van der Hoeven has been a Board Member of the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado, and senior Fellow of the Clingendael International Energy Programmeme since 2016 and became a member of the Board of Directors of Total (France) and a member of the Supervisory Board of Innogy (Germany) in the same year. More recently, she has been Vice Chairman of the high-level Panel of the European Decarbonisation Pathways Initiative, established by the European Commission.

 

 
 

Pascal Lamy (France)

Pascal Lamy served two terms as Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) between 2005 and 2013. A member of the French Socialist party, Mr. Lamy was Chief of Staff to the President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, from 1985-1994.

Mr. Lamy was CEO of Credit Lyonnais as CEO until 1999, before returning to Brussels as European Trade Commissioner until 2004.
Mr. Lamy was appointed President of the French Committee of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) in 2016, and Chair of the European Group of Experts in charge of evaluating the impact of EU research funding.

Currently Mr. Lamy divides his activities between serving as President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute, the presidency of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics, as well as various missions related to international affairs. He is also a member of several foundations and academic institutions.

 

 
 

Carlos Lopes (Guinea-Bissau)

Carlos Lopes is a development economist, author, educator and civil servant who served as the eighth Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa from September 2012 to October 2016.

Mr. Lopes is also a Professor at the Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice at the University of Cape Town, and Visiting Professor at Sciences Po, Paris. He has been a visiting Fellow of the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, and belongs to the Boards of several institutions, including the Geneva Institute of Graduate Studies. Mr. Lopes has occupied leadership positions across the United Nations system, including Policy Director for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, head of UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy, head of UNITAR, the UN System Staff College and Executive Director of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

He is a member of the African Union reform team led by President Paul Kagame, as well as the Global Commission for Economy and Climate and the Global Commission for the Future of Work.

 

 
 

Mari Elka Pangestu (Indonesia)

Professor Pangestu served as Indonesia’s Minister of Trade from 2004 to 2011, and as Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy from 2011 until October 2014.

She is a Senior Fellow at Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, Professor of International Economics at the University of Indonesia and on the Board of Trustees, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Jakarta.

She currently serves on a number of boards such as the Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN); Member of the High Level Commission on Carbon Prices; Member of the Global Future Council on Trade and Investment, World Economic Forum; International Advisory Board of McLarty Associates, Washington DC; Board Member of International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC; and Board Member of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Paris. She is also President Commissioner of Bank BTPN in Indonesia; and President of the United in Diversity (UID) Foundation, Jakarta.

 

 
 

Andris Piebalgs (Latvia)

Andris Piebalgs is an experienced Latvian politician and diplomat, who has occupied key positions on both national and European levels.

He was Latvia’s Minister of Finance and of Education and served as Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament.

In 1997, he became the Latvian Ambassador to the EU and served as European Commissioner for Energy from 2004 to 2010, and as a European Commissioner for Development from 2010 to 2014. Currently, he is a Senior Fellow at the Florence School of Regulation and the Chairman of the Board of Appeal of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.

 

 
 

Lapo Pistelli (Italy)

Lapo Pistelli has served as ENI’s Executive Vice President of International Affairs since April 2017. He served as member of the Italian Parliament from 1996 to 2015, and was a member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2008.

From 2013 to 2015, Mr. Pistelli served as Deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, after which he entered ENI as Senior Vice President for Strategic Analyis for Business Development Support. He is a member of the Board of the European Council on Foreign Relations, of the Instituto Affari Internazionali, of the Editorial Board of Oil, and the Scientific Committee of EastWest.

 

 
 

Teresa Ribera (Spain)

Teresa Ribera was Secretary of State for Climate Change of Spain from 2008 to 2011, responsible for environment and climate policies, as well as the national meteorological agency.

Previously she was Director-General for Climate from 2004 to 2008 and held positions in the Ministries of Public Works, Transportation and Environment.

Currently, Ms. Ribera is the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDRI). She also chairs the Advisory Board of the Momentum for Change UNFCC initiative, and in January 2017 was appointed by the Swedish Government as a member of the Board of the Stockholm Environment Institute.

 

 
 

Bill Richardson (United States)

Bill Richardson has more than thirty years of government experience including serving as the Representative of New Mexico in the 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. Congress between 1982-1996; the US Ambassador to the United Nations, and Secretary of Energy between 1997 and 2000.

Mr. Richardson served two terms as Governor of New Mexico and was Special Envoy to the Organisation of American States (OAS). In 2010, he launched the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, a foundation focusing on conflict resolution, prisoner release and environmental protection. He is currently a member of the International Board of Tecnicas Reunidas, a Spanish energy firm.

He is also a board member of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty, a member of the NCAA Hall of Fame, board member of World Resources Institute, Freedom House and Refugees International.

 

 
 

Izabella Teixeira (Brazil)

Izabella Mônica Vieira Teixeira was Brazil´s Minister of the Environment between 2010 – 2016, and prior to that served as Deputy Minister of the Environment between 2008 and 2010.

Ms. Teixeira currently works as private consultant in environmental and climate change issues.

In 2015, Ms. Teixeira was Head of the Brazilian Delegation on negotiations of the Paris Agreement of the UN Convention on Climate Change. For her outstanding career, in 2013 Minister Izabella Teixeira received the United Nations Environment Programme “Champions of the Earth” award for Policy Leadership.

She was head of the Brazilian Delegation in the Cancun, Durban, Doha and Warsaw Conferences of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and of the Brazil-South Africa-India-China (BASIC) Group. She was also a key leader of the 2012 UN´s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. After Rio+20 she was again appointed by the UN´s Secretary-General as a member of the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Ms. Teixeira is a specialist in Environmental Management, Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Licensing. She holds a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the University of Brasília, and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Energy Planning from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

 

 
 

Eirik Waerness (Norway)

Eirik Waerness is Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Statoil, responsible for all macroeconomic and market analyses in the group, as well as for mid- and downstream strategy.

He has broad experience in government, academia, and private sector companies. From 2010 to 2013, he served as member of the Executive Board of the Central Bank of Norway, and from 2016-2018, he served as a non-executive member of the Board of the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority. He is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Energy, and served in different positions in the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, Total E&P Norway, and Pyry Management Consulting.

 

 
 

Lei Zhang (China)

Lei Zhang is the Chief Executive and Founder of Envision Energy. He has led Envision to become a world leading energy technology company.

With the vision to create the "Android" of energy system, he pioneered the concept of energy IOT platform and has successfully created the world’s largest Energy IoT platform - EnOS™. Over 100GW of energy assets are managed through EnOS™ globally including wind turbines, solar panels, EV and charging networks, energy storage, microgrids, smart buildings and intelligent IOT devices. To accelerate energy digital transformation, Envision formed an Energy IoT and Smart City Technology Alliance with Microsoft, Accenture and ARM in 2017.

Lei was named as one of the "Top 10 Sino-U.S. Innovators of the Year" by Forbes Magazine and he was elected as the “Top Business Leader in China” by China Business Network media in 2016. He is a commissioner of Global Energy Transitions Commission (ETC). 

 

 
 

Representatives of the supporting countries


Peter Fischer (Germany)

Peter Fischer is Deputy Director-General for Energy and Climate Policy and Export Control at the German Federal Foreign office. His portfolio covers global energy and climate policy, as well as export control.

Mr Fischer is a career diplomat. His professional path has focused on economic and global issues, having worked at the Foreign Office in Berlin, the Office of the German President and at German missions in Washington D.C., Tel Aviv, London, Shanghai and Singapore.

He holds Master’s degrees in History / Political Science from the Free University of Berlin and Georgetown university.

 

 
 

Hans Olav Ibrekk (Norway)

Hans Olav Ibrekk is Policy Director for Energy and Climate, at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Ibrekk previously worked at the Norwegian Agency of Development Cooperation (Norad), the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), as well as in the Secretariat for the International Conference on Water and the Environment.

He has been a member of the Board of the Adaptation Fund since 2007, as well as the Board of the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). Mr. Ibrekk has been a member of the Executive Committee and the Administrative Board of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, and served as a member on the Water and Sanitation Task Force of the Millennium Project. He is also a member of the Board of the Green Climate Fund.

 

 
 

Fatima Al-Foora Al Shamsi (UAE)

Fatima Al-Foora Al Shamsi is the Assistant Undersecretary for Electricity and Future Energy in the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy and a member of the UAE Board of Climate change & Environment.

She successfully led the team developing the UAE energy strategy 2050 and she is currently leading the UAE water security strategy.

She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Emirate Authority for Standardization & Metrology (ESMA), Head of the Emirates National Grid planning and operation committee and member of board of Nawah. She is also leading the power sector techno economic study in UAE, which includes the development of energy/power market, and all activity related to energy security & future of energy, energy and water productivity & DSM, electricity& energy market, and regulations & supervision of power sector in the Ministry of Energy.

Fatima Al-Foora Al Shamsi has rich background ranging from electrical engineering, renewables, business development and project management to different managerial roles. She graduated from the United Arab Emirates University with an honors degree of BS in electronics engineering and holds an honors degree MBA in Financial Management.

 

 
 
 

Support

The Commission is supported by IRENA and the Expert Panel who provide knowledge inputs to inform the Commission’s work.


Expert Panel

IRENA Support Team

 

Timeline

 
Time line
 
 
 
 

CONTACT

Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation is supported by the International Renewable Energy Agency

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Please contact us at:
geopolitics@irena.org

IRENA Headquarters
Masdar City
PO Box 236
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
www.irena.org