Energy industry has as many opportunities as challenges

Posted on 15 October 2013

Thanks in part to the emergence of new business models and services, the energy industry as many opportunities as challenges, Fulvio Conti, CEO & General Manager of Italy’s Enel, told the World Energy Congress on 15 October.

“The world doesn’t look round anymore. It doesn’t look flat, either,” he said. Rather, it’s a triangle or square with an axis that represents a changing global industry: North American shale gas and oil, the growth of renewable energies, the need for energy efficiency, and coal and other fossil fuels. “Innovation is becoming the real factor of the future development of our industry,” he said.

Conti took a holistic approach, finding “elements of truth” in the World Energy Congress’s two global energy scenarios through 2050, known as the “Jazz” and “Symphony” Scenarios. “Jazz” has a focus on energy equity with priority given to achieving individual access and affordability of energy through economic growth. “Symphony” has a focus on achieving environmental sustainability through internationally coordinated policies and practices.

Urging the diversification of energy sources, Conti said, “We should maintain a much broader portfolio of technologies based on a simple fact: that we still don’t know which will be the one winning, which one the world will be using.” “There will not be a single moment that will answer all of our prayers,” he added. “Instead, we will need to rely on a very valid mix of options to ensure that today, as well as tomorrow, the lights are on and that people can move from one place to another lightly and affordably.” Conti warned, however, against excessive and arbitrary government interventions in the industry, urging clear and reasonable regulations.

Liu Zhenya, Chairman of the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the country’s biggest power supplier called for a “third industrial revolution” based on pillars of modern networks and information technology (IT), new energies, distributed generation, and strong and smart grids. He said there was a need for an emphasis on green energy and regional integration to solve the challenges of global supply, reliability, efficiency, and the environment. “The world’s energy is heading towards an efficient, clean, low carbon future,” he noted, adding that wind and solar will become some of its primary sources.

East Asia accounts for 28% of the world’s primary energy consumption, he said. Due to growing demand, he looked at the benefits of a hypothetical ultra-high voltage (UHV) electricity super-grid between Asia and Europe, and one in East Asia, to help deliver clean energy around the world. China has invested $3.5 billion in the world’s longest UHV power line, part of an effort to alleviate the costs of power transmission and to deliver large quantities of power across long distances.

 

This news story is based on the session ‘Special Addresses’ at 2013 World Energy Congress.