Mexico has become the first Latin American member of the International Energy Agency.

The country became the IEA’s 30th member at the weekend, when Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s Energy Secretary, said: “With this final step, Mexico enters the most important energy forum in the world. We will take our part in setting the world’s energy policies, receive experienced advisory in best international practices, and participate in emergency response exercises.”

IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol called it “an historic day”.

He said that “with more than 120 million inhabitants, an important oil producer, and a weighty voice in global energy, the ambitious and successful energy reforms of recent years have put Mexico firmly on the global energy policy map.” 

Mexico is the world’s 15th-largest economy and 12th-largest oil producer, and has some of the world’s best renewable energy resources.

Meanwhile, the IEA has praised the “impressive” efforts that Australia has made to “ensure energy security and move ahead with market reform”.

Birol said: “Australia can develop its vast renewable resources and remain a cornerstone of global energy markets as a leading supplier of coal, uranium and liquefied natural gas, securing the energy for growing Asian markets.”

Presenting an IEA report into the Australia energy sector in Canberra, he added: “A comprehensive national energy and climate strategy is needed for Australia to have a cleaner and more secure energy future. The National Energy Guarantee is a promising opportunity for Australia to integrate climate and energy policy.”

The report says Australia should rely on long-term policy and energy market responses to strengthen energy security, foster competition, and make the power sector more resilient.  

In line with global trends, Australia’s energy system is undergoing a profound transformation, putting its energy markets under pressure. Concerns about affordable and secure energy supplies have grown in recent years, following several power outages, a tightening gas market in the east coast and rising energy prices.

Besides assessing progress since the IEA review of 2012, the Australian government requested the IEA to focus on how Australia can use global best practices in transitioning to a lower-carbon energy system. This question points to safeguarding electricity supply when ageing coal capacity retires, increased variable renewable energy comes on line and natural gas markets are tight.

Along with the US, Australia is leading the next wave of growth in liquefied natural gas. As a major exporter of coal, Australia is also a strong supporter of carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies. The report commends Australia’s efforts which can be critical globally to meeting long-term climate goals.

The IEA’s review points out that the sustainable development of new gas resources is critical for natural gas to play a growing role in the energy transition, “satisfying a growing domestic gas demand in power generation and industry and to honour export contracts at the same time”.

The report calls on Australia to continue efforts to improve transparency of gas pricing, boost market integration and facilitate access to transportation capacity.

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