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IEA Executive Director Warns “The Age of Cheap Energy is Over”

21 April 2011: In an address at the Bridge Forum Dialogue in Luxembourg on 13 April 2011, Nobuo Tanaka, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director, underscored that “the age of cheap energy is over.”

Tanaka said that curbing rising energy prices will require diversifying energy sources away from fossil fuels, significant investments and further development and deployment of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency, and advanced vehicles. He questioned whether profits from these new sources will “go to an ever smaller circle of producers, or will it be directed back into the domestic economies of the consumers, with the added benefits of increased environmental sustainability?”

Tanaka stressed that carbon reduction commitments and peak oil production will pressure countries to find new sources of energy, and warned that slowing the development of nuclear power generation would have significant implications on energy prices. He also stated that due to its sheer size, if China follows through on commitments on gas, renewables, nuclear power, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency, the entire global energy economy will benefit by improving learning rates. [IEA Press Release]