Looking ahead to the WEC North America Region Energy Forum

Posted on 24 April 2014

The WEC’s 2014 North America Region Energy Forum will take place this June in Calgary. Graham Campbell from Energy Council of Canada, the WEC national committee who’s organising the event, tells us what’s in store for participants.


What is the idea behind the event?

The North America Region Energy Forum is a unique opportunity to bring together energy leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada in an event focused on energy issues of interest to the three countries.  The traditional practice is to have one of the three countries host the meeting in turn and the Energy Council of Canada is proud to be the host in 2014.

The three countries share many energy issues in common closely related to fulfilling the WEC trilemma goals of energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability.  This event is an excellent opportunity to hear updates through expert presentations and learn about the latest developments in the three countries. Discussion will include how each country is making progress on the issues and what lies ahead.

This event happens at a particularly opportune time in Canada.  The energy resource sector has always been an important driver of the Canadian economy but there are issues which require attention.  We must carefully attend tor:

  • diversification of energy commodity markets;
  • achievement of mutually acceptable partnerships between Canada’s aboriginal communities, project developers, and governments;
  • leveraging promising export markets for new energy technologies developed in Canada;
  • managing the interaction between energy developments and the local and regional environment; and,
  • promoting Canada’s world-scale expertise in export financing, energy management and regulatory practices, and construction of mega-project and large-scale energy infrastructure.

Presentations and discussion will take place on many of these Canadian issues just prior to the North America Region Forum during the 2014 Canadian Energy Summit on June 24 and June 25.


What will be the event highlights?

We are very pleased that the North America Region Energy Forum is being organised jointly with the United States Energy Association and the WEC-Mexico executive.  We greatly appreciate the insights and support provided by Pablo Mulás del Pozo representing WEC-Mexico and Barry Worthington representing the United States Energy Association.

We are planning to start the Forum with an evening reception and dinner on June 25 featuring prominent leaders from the three countries in an ’energy conversation’.  There are many issues of mutual interest which will be discussed during this session. Among these are the policy reform discussions underway in Mexico. These discussions could open up broader international access to Mexico’s oil and gas and electricity sectors.

The program for the Forum on June 26 starts with an opening address by Marie-José Nadeau, Chair of the World Energy Council.

In the opening session, the transformations which have taken place in the North American energy sector, past, present and future, will be profiled. For example, within North America there has been significant progress in the electricity sector’s new generation technologies and grid management techniques. The question remains of whether market practices and mechanisms, such as arrangements for appropriately sharing the costs associated with grid back-up and electricity storage, have kept pace with the technological developments.  Are we ready with up-to-date regulations and comprehensive pricing mechanisms?

In the afternoon, two parallel sessions, one on oil and gas and one on electricity, will provide an opportunity for closer dialogue on the latest developments in these sectors and on the planned reforms underway in Mexico.

A major focal point for obtaining public support for major energy projects is obtaining the ‘social licence’ to operate.  The final session of the Forum will explore questions from the perspective of companies, communities and governments around how social licence is earned, maintained, and restored if it is lost.


Why should WEC members outside the North American region attend?

We look forward to extending a warm welcome to WEC members from Mexico and the United States as well as WEC members from across the globe.  All three countries are interested in global trade diversification opportunities resulting from the move to continental energy self-sufficiency.

Each of the Forum topics will be of interest to many of the WEC members in North America and also to the global WEC membership.  Many of the issues identified by global energy leaders in the 2014 World Energy Issues Monitor will be addressed during the Forum.  For example, global leaders identified high impact, high uncertainty issues such as innovative regulation, renewable energy technologies, electric storage, and regional grids.  In the same survey, North American energy leaders identified unconventional oil and gas, electricity storage, smart grids, CC(U)S and nuclear energy in the same category.

The Forum will offer excellent networking opportunities during the dinner and reception on June 25 and the closing reception on June 26.  Dinner participants will hear energy leaders informally talk about how key energy issues might affect their jurisdictions.


What is the vision for the Energy Council of Canada’s role as part of the WEC global network?

I am pleased to have the opportunity to play a leadership role in achieving the Energy Council of Canada’s vision – to forge a better understanding of energy issues in order to optimally shape the energy sector for the benefit of all Canadians. Building on this vision, our theme for 2014 is working together on energy.  I hope that this theme conveys our commitment to work with our members and North American partners to define and address the issues.  Then, we make use of the convening power of the Energy Council of Canada to bring people together to grow understanding and find ways to shape the energy sector in the future.

In addition to the Forum, the Energy Council of Canada is hosting a series of events across the country.  These include three Regional Member Forums, to delve into regional energy issues, and four Breakfast Roundtables in major cities in Canada.  Highlighting the annual recognition of energy leaders in Canada will be the gala event at which the 2014 award to the Canadian Energy Person of the Year will be presented.

We are looking forward to meeting with our Canadian members and energy colleagues and also to welcoming our international counterparts from Mexico, the United States and across the globe during the Summit and Forum in June.

Registration information can be found at www.energy.ca.
A warm Canadian welcome awaits all participants.

 

Graham Campbell is President of the Energy Council of Canada (ECC) and Secretary of the ECC’s role as a WEC national committee.