International Energy Agency Executive Director: The American Energy Innovation Act is "Excellent"

March 5, 2020

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC – Today, Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), tesitfiied before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee about the prospects for global energy markets, with a special focus on the United States. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Committee, questioned Dr. Birol on the raw minerals that serve as vital inputs for the manufacturing and utilization of electric vehicles.

“The Chinese, under the Belt and Road Initiative, have taken steps to lock up most of the critical minerals that it takes to manufacture electric vehicles. Can you explain to me what your concerns would be? Our concern is what we see: basically a lot of the raw materials come from very poor countries, [they’re] taking advantage of a lot of people, and kind of enslaving a lot of people to produce these materials. There has to be some conscious sourcing going on somewhere. How do we control this,” Ranking Member Manchin asked.

“It’s a valid concern, Senator. I can tell you that for years and years, we have been talking about energy security, oil security, and geopolitical tensions. Now, in addition, we are seeing for electric cars, the critical materials are of crucial importance. As it was the case in the oil markets for many years, the critical materials are concentrated on a very few number of countries. So therefore, when we talk about electric vehicles, we shouldn’t forget where the materials are coming from. It is not diversified, where these critical materials come from, but concentrated. It is important to keep an eye on that,” Dr. Birol said.

Dr. Birol also praised Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Manchin’s bipartisan American Energy Innovation Act and commented on the importance of carbon capture technologies.

“I cannot agree with you [Sen. Manchin] more. Among all these technologies, carbon capture utilization and storage is extremely important. CCUS can be a very good solution [to reducing emissions]. Your bill, it is an excellent one,” Dr. Birol said.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.