CEM Initiatives

Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) Initiatives are the primary mechanism for implementing coordinated international activities under the Power System Challenge. The primary CEM initiatives supporting the Challenge and their contributing activities are summarized below.

The 21st Century Power Partnership (Power Partnership) serves as a platform for public-private collaboration to advance integrated solutions for the large-scale deployment of renewable energy in combination with energy efficiency and grid modernization. It supports a broad range of research, knowledge sharing, and capacity building activities to accelerate the diffusion of high-impact policy and regulatory strategies.

Contribution to the Challenge:

  • Thought Leadership: The Power Partnership regularly publishes and disseminates multi-institutional reports that address emerging topics in power system transformation. In 2015, the initiative published two reports that contributed to the creation of the Power System Challenge: Power Systems of the Future and Status Report on Power System Transformation. The latest report released in May 2016, Clean Restructuring: Design Elements for Low Carbon Wholesale Markets and Beyond, discusses market design and infrastructure issues for restructuring a vertically integrated market in a way that is friendly toward clean energy integration.
  • Electricity Sector Planning Studies: The Power Partnership and its operating agent—facilitate in-depth technical cooperation among partner countries, in particular India, Mexico and South Africa. Through a new partnership with the World Bank and U.S. Agency for International Development, the Power Partnership has launched a national evaluation of the impacts to grid operations of India’s 175 GW renewable energy target. The Power Partnership has also launched an analysis of the transformation of Mexico’s Baja California Sur peninsula, and continues to work to identify other high impact analytical needs in member countries.
  • Fellowships To speed up the transfer of tools and methods in power system planning and operations, the Power Partnership has launched a fellowship program to support mid-career staff exchanges. By fall 2016, four fellowship exchanges will have occurred and the partnership is actively working to identify more opportunities for exchanges among energy ministries, system operators, utilities, and regulatory agencies in CEM countries.

For more information on activities of the Power Partnership, read the latest newsletter, fact sheet, or visit 21stCenturyPower.org.

Membership info:


Three coordinated main bodies support the Power Partnership: the Power Partnership Steering Group (PPSG), the Public-Private Leadership Forum (PPLF), and the operating agent. The PPSG develops and guides the Power Partnership program of work. PPSG members include the governments of Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, the United States and representatives of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. The PPLF coordinates activities with private sector stakeholders and provides input to the annual program of work. As the operating agent, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) lead the Power Partnership and serve as the liaison to the CEM Secretariat.


At the 21st Century Power Partnership, our work focuses on four key areas of activity to support national and regional initiatives in power sector transformation.



Supporting Country-Level Policy and Regulatory Implementation

The Power Partnership facilitates technical assistance and peer learning to support national and subnational activities by working with existing country and development assistance programs. We are already at work in India and Mexico. The foundational capabilities and resources described will be applied to assist policy makers in establishing and achieving aggressive power sector transformation roadmaps.

Work at the subnational level is carried out with the awareness of national government initiative participants. Participants are expected to identify opportunities to apply the knowledge, tools, and expert capacity in support of practical policy and/or regulatory planning and implementation. Identifying such opportunities may arise out of existing bilateral relationships between Power Partnership participants, interest on the part of utilities or regulators, or engagement with subnational government entities. Learn more about our country-level work and our current activities.

Developing and Sharing Knowledge

The Power Partnership coordinates targeted knowledge exchange efforts across Clean Energy Ministerial initiatives. Depending on scope, the Partnership may review, research, or develop case studies of the following practical electricity sector issues:

  • Market elements that facilitate integration of new generation and demand-response resources
  • Methodologies for guiding integration planning
  • Whole-energy-sector transformation strategies, best practices, and lessons learned in a conventional grid environment
  • Demand-response resource assessment and integration methodologies
  • Best practices in incorporating consumer behavior into electricity supply and demand scenarios
  • Opportunities and challenges among evolving utility business models
  • Best practices in data collection, validation, and management for renewable energy and demand response resource assessments and grid sensor data.

Strengthening and Disseminating Tools
As a result of the knowledge exchanges and research activities, the Power Partnership will identify needs for new tools (or for enhancements to existing tools) for electricity sector analysis, planning, and management. In conjunction with private-sector partners, the Power Partnership may develop models, tools, and resources such as the following:

Modeling Tools

  • Modeling focused on capacity-constrained grids to support integrated generation and transmission expansion planning under varying assumptions
  • Production-cost modeling methods incorporating demand response characteristics
  • Integrated collection, validation, and management protocols for grid sensors, renewable energy resources, and demand response data
  • Enhanced resources for forecasting, demand response, and variable renewable control tools
  • Improvements to existing integrated assessment models
  • Cost-benefit analysis tools to support prioritization of investments and policy formulation

Policy and Technical Resources

  • Power market design legislation
  • Energy efficiency (e.g. mandatory minimum energy performance) legislation
  • Smart grid regulatory proceedings
  • Grid interconnection plans
  • Advanced RE, demand, and net load forecasting best practices
  • Best practice environmental and land-use laws

Building Capacity

Transforming the power sector to clean and efficient systems requires expert capacity. A key area of activity includes convening multi-stakeholder knowledge exchanges, such as site visits, personnel secondments, moderated Web forums, and information databases. The following exchanges can be tailored to support each of the Power Partnership’s objectives:

  • Grid operator exchanges to examine and share information about national and subnational case studies of crosscutting electricity sector transformation (incorporating variable renewables, grid modernization, and efficiency)
  • Multi-stakeholder regulatory exchanges to examine case studies of regulatory frameworks developed in response to challenging, crosscutting issues, including integrated regulatory frameworks for key utility sector issues and frameworks to collectively address important consumer issues
  • Financial sector exchanges involving policy makers to examine and share information about critical success factors for promoting investment and innovation in grid modernization, efficiency, and clean energy generation

The Clean Energy Solutions Center (Solutions Center) provides no-cost, on-demand resources for governments, advisors, and analysts in CEM and non-CEM developing countries.

Contribution to the Challenge:

Ask an Expert Service

The Solutions Center connects governments with policy experts who can provide reliable and unbiased advice and information. Over 50 world-class experts are now on call to provide timely consultative support in issues such as clean energy policy and finance instruments, regulations and standards, ebinar trainings on clean energy policy and finance topics. Additionally it has worked Leonardo Energy to develop e-learning trainings and the Inter-American Development Bank and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to deliver an on-site energy efficiency assessment and audit training.

Increased Resources

Governments such as Australia, Canada, Mexico, and Sweden have responded to the call for additional financial and in-kind resources to support the Solutions Center. This has enabled the Solutions Center to launch a new Clean Energy Finance Web Portal and increase its outreach to subnational governments.

For more information on the Solutions Center, visit cleanenergysolutions.org.


Financial and in-kind support for the Clean Energy Solutions Center is provided by the governments of Australia, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Sweden and the United States.

Ask an Expert Service
Our Ask an Expert service provides no-cost clean energy policy assistance through a global network of over 50 experts for government agency representatives and the technical institutes assisting them. To date, this service has supported more than 250 requests for assistance from over 90 countries. The Ask an Expert service makes it easy to request targeted, first-rate expert assistance and receive in-depth answers and support for your policy questions.
Web-Based Training and Peer Learning
Our high-attendance webinars are designed in collaboration with global partner institutions, and engage diverse global audiences in interactive discussions on important clean energy policy topics covering energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy access and transport issues. We also offer e-learning courses, podcasts and videos.
Policy Briefs
Our Clean Energy Policy Briefs are intended to inform legislators, decision makers, analysts working for government agencies and utility executives on current good practices, lessons learned and success stories.
Resource Library
The Solutions Center features an extensive collection of almost 3,000 clean energy resources, including reports on best-practice policies, data and analysis tools for the benefit of policymakers. As part of thisresource library, the Solutions Center collaborates with Bloomberg New Energy Finance to provide bi-annual newsletters summarizing global clean energy investment trends.
Clean Energy Analysis
The Clean Energy Solutions Center helps inform global energy dialogue with original research and analysis. Recently, we worked with Australia’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics to release theAsia-Pacific Renewable Energy Assessment. The Solutions Center has also issued reports on the next generation of renewable electricity policies, the integration of renewable energy in electric power markets, and policies to spur energy access.
Unique Policy Resources
The Solutions Center provides current and relevant information on clean energy policies. These resources include emerging policy reports, enhanced policy data, and analysis tools such as the Indian Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy Database (IREEED)—an online database of India’s renewable energy and energy efficiency policies, regulations, and incentive programs.

The Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) is a policy dialogue dedicated to accelerating the worldwide introduction and adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.

EVI seeks to facilitate the global deployment of 20 million EVs, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles, and enable progress toward this goal by:

  • Encouraging the development of national deployment goals, as well as best practices and policies to achieve those goals;
  • Directly informing high levels of decision making in key national and subnational governments on best practices in EV deployment policy and program implementation;
  • Conducting robust empirical analysis to guide best practice EV policy designs
  • Synthesizing and sharing global experiences on EV research activities and deployment
  • Building and disseminating state-of-the-art analytical tools that support EV deployment within and across countries
  • Engaging EV stakeholders through technical consultations and peer-to-peer dialogues

Contribution to the Challenge:

Political Leadership

With representation that spans the world’s largest economies, the biggest cities, and a majority of the world’s automotive manufacturing capability, EVI countries are implementing a leading global vision for EV deployment. At COP21, EVI drafted and endorsed the Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility to affirm its role in leading by example and providing best-in-class research, tools, and policy support. EVI is also in the process of re-tooling the initiative, forming new research partnerships, and committing more financial resources to execute an expanded program of work.

Data Collection

The 2016 Global EV Outlook, released at CEM7 and developed by the International Energy Agency and EVI member countries, provides an authoritative source of information on the electric vehicle market and support policies in major economies.

Policy Assistance

EVI researchers are developing and applying sophisticated analytical techniques to evaluate the impact of electric vehicles on the power grid and to quantitatively assess the effectiveness of EV consumer incentives in leading markets. This year, EVI has launched a partnership with the Government of India to support pilot projects and infrastructure planning in key urban areas.

For more information on EVI, visit cleanenergyministerial.org/Our-Work/Initiatives/Electric-Vehicles.

The CEM Electric Vehicles Initiative involves the governments of Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.




The EVI initiative develops and executes an annual Program of Work consisting of tasks organized under the following categories:


  • Knowledge Development and Sharing
    • The development of collaborative analytical reports and publications concerning electric vehicle deployment (e.g. comparative analysis on EV policy efficacy, research on EV-grid interactions).
    • Synthesis of global insights and experiences on EV deployment and international research activities
    • Dissemination of key insights to decision makers through activities such as coordinated outreach and communication, webinars, fact sheets, conferences and workshops
  • Models, Tools, and Evaluation Methodologies
    • Identification and promotion of tools and methods that support EV deployment analysis in key urban, regional, or national networks
  • Training and Peer-to-Peer Technical Consultation
    • Technical assistance to encourage and facilitate EV deployment among CEM members. This may include consultations with key stakeholders; peer reviews of policy, regulatory and technical materials; audits of planning tools and methodologies; co-management of policy studies and program implementation; use of testing facilities; authorship of technical reports tailored to specific jurisdictions; and in-country workshops, trainings, and seminars.


The International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN) brings together experts from more than two dozen countries to advance the development of smarter, cleaner electricity grids around the world. Through sharing information, best practices, and competence specifically on electricity networks, ISGAN helps to highlight emerging policy and technology solutions, enable replication of proven ideas, and support greater national ambition for modernizing power systems.

Contribution to the Challenge:

Sharing Global Insights

Through workshops, webinars, case books, technical papers, policy briefs, and other publications, ISGAN captures and shares practitioner experience to advance uptake of good emerging practices on smart grids. Over its 2015–2016 program of work, ISGAN has produced and distributed more than a dozen knowledge products and led or co-led at least a half-dozen significant knowledge-sharing events.

Advancing Smart Grid Testing

ISGAN coordinates a network of testing and research facilities that undertake joint technical activities to advance testing methods, enhance laboratory and test bed performance, and promote state-of-the-art approaches. Efforts include joint evaluation of test protocols for advanced photovoltaic and energy storage system inverter functions.

  • SIRFN Draft Test Protocols for Advanced Battery Energy Storage System Interoperability Functions
    In June 2016, ISGAN will publish a new technical report that captures the experience of four world-class facilities in Europe, Asia, and North America in developing a harmonized evaluation and certification protocol for advanced energy storage functions.

Recognizing Excellence

ISGAN showcases global leadership and innovation through its annual Award of Excellence. In 2016, ISGAN recognizes projects that exemplify excellence in use of Smart Grids for Reliable Electricity Service.

For more information on ISGAN, visit iea-isgan.org.

Membership info:


ISGAN is the short name for the International Energy Agency (IEA) Implementing Agreement for a Co-operative Programme on Smart Grids (ISGAN). ISGAN facilitates dynamic knowledge sharing, technical assistance, and project coordination, where appropriate. ISGAN participants report periodically on progress and projects to the Ministers of the Clean Energy Ministerial, in addition to satisfying all IEA Implementing Agreement reporting requirements. Membership in ISGAN is voluntary, and currently includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.


ISGAN activities focus, first and foremost, on those aspects of Smart Grid where governments have regulatory authority, expertise, convening power, or other leverage. To this end, ISGAN partners work together in five principal areas: policy, standards and regulation; finance and business models; technology and systems development; user and consumer engagement; and workforce skills and knowledge. Acknowledging that network operators, manufacturing industries, business companies, research centers, academia, consumers, etc. are important stakeholders of the electricity system and likely have much to contribute to the development of ISGAN activities, they will also be engaged as appropriate. Some ISGAN activities cut across multiple areas; others focus on a single area. Preliminary descriptions of these topic areas are below.

  • Policy, Standards and Regulation
    Effective policies and efficient regulation are critical to the development and deployment of Smart Grid technologies, practices and systems. Sharing information on policies and regulations developed by a country and associated lessons learned; harmonizing specific policies regarding developing and implementing smart grid inter-operability standards; and developing toolkits for policymakers for policy implementation at the national, sub-national and local levels may accelerate overall progress on smart grids.
  • Finance and Business Models.
    Implementing Smart Grid technologies will likely require new business models and financing mechanisms beyond simple rate recovery. Thus, an objective is to share information and experiences on novel government and private-sector models to support deployment of smart grid systems.
  • Technology and Systems Development.
    Cooperative research, development and demonstration of pre-competitive Smart Grid technologies using consistent methodologies and testing protocols will advance the state-of-the-art of the industry and allow for more rapid deployment of Smart Grids. Activities may include cataloguing existing RD&D efforts and coordinating laboratory or test bed networks.
  • User and Consumer Engagement.
    The full benefits offered by smart grids will be achievable only with the involvement of stakeholders along the full spectrum of the electricity system, from power generation through power transmission and distribution, and ultimately to end-use by consumers. This area involves understanding how best to engage these many stakeholders to educate them on the purpose, benefits, and use of smart grids.
  • Workforce Skills and Knowledge.
    Implementation of new Smart Grid technologies and approaches to energy and information will require training not only of utility and power industry personnel directly involved with electricity production, transmission, and distribution, but also regulatory staff, information technology and cyber security specialists, and others who will need deep understanding of this complex and potentially transformational suite of technologies, practices, and systems.

The Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group promotes the accelerated global deployment of solar and wind energy technologies and, through its research, seeks to allay the incremental costs of providing wind and solar energy to all regions of the world.

Contribution to the Challenge:

2015 Report: Renewable Energy Auctions: A Guide to Design

The number of countries relying on auctions has increased from just six in 2005 to more than 60 by early 2015. This report, led by the International Renewable Energy Agency, presents lessons learned and best practices on how governments can design and implement auctions cost-efficiently while ensuring that projects awarded come online in a timely manner. The guide presents the main trade-offs involved in auction design decisions and suggests ways to find the right balance for each jurisdiction.

2016 Report: Securing the Value of Wind and Solar Power

The study, carried out by the International Energy Agency’s Renewable Energy Division, analyzes different approaches for system and market integration of variable renewable energies. The project also illustrates capacity building in emerging economies via extensive case studies and includes strategy recommendations on crafting policies that maximize the value of wind and solar power for the power system.

2016 Report: The Power to Change: Cost Reduction Potential of Solar and Wind Technologies

This analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency provides data on costs and performance for solar photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, and onshore and offshore wind power generation technologies as well as forecasts to 2025 on the drivers of future cost reduction potential. It provides stakeholders in government and the energy industry with an evidence base regarding the future competitiveness of these technologies and a resource to use when considering policies to support them.

For more information on the Multilateral Solar and Wind Working, visit: http://cleanenergyministerial.org/Our-Work/Initiatives/Solar-and-Wind

Member governments of the Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group include Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain and the United States.


The Working Group’s current focus is on two projects; the first project, carried out by the IEA’s Renewable Energy Division, analyses different approaches for system and market integration of variable renewable energies. It also entails a capacity building component in emerging economies. The second project, carried out by IRENA, analyses various design options of the auction scheme and focuses on presenting lessons learnt and best practices on how governments can design and implement auctions in the most cost efficient way while ensuring that projects awarded come online in a timely manner.