World Energy Leaders’ Dialogue held in Abu Dhabi

Posted on 28 January 2014

The World Energy Council held its inaugural World Energy Leaders’ Dialogue (WELD) in Abu Dhabi last week (21 January).

Opening the event, His Excellency Suhail Al Mazourei, UAE energy minister, commented on how renewable energy is becoming a viable solution even for countries rich in fossil fuels. In his address, he explained that in the UAE, which has prioritised nuclear, renewables, and gas, renewable energy is set to grow as it competes with LNG imports. As most GCC states (except Qatar) do not have enough gas to support the demand in electricity growth, he believed that the renewables industry has the potential to benchmark itself with nuclear and natural gas.

Marie-José Nadeau, WEC Chair and event co-host, recognised the UAE achievements in diversifying its energy mix despite being a fossil-fuel rich country by incorporating renewables as a strategic resource.

The WELD gathered senior decision-makers from government, business, and multi-lateral organisations. Notable speakers include Abdul Hussein Ali Mirza, Bahrain electricity minister; Carlos Pascual, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, USA; and Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the IEA.

Several issues of critical concern to the Middle East dominated the agenda, including the water-energy nexus, the impact of the boom in unconventionals in the Middle East, and the future of energy subsidies.

The event was organised alongside the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), an annual conference promoting the growth of new and renewable forms of energy.

Marie-José Nadeau spoke at a WFES keynote panel on the day before. Other panellists included Maria van der Hoeven.

Mrs Nadeau also held talks with Mary Robinson, former president of the Republic of Ireland and head of the Mary Robinson Foundation to discuss how to advance social justice in the energy sector.

Mrs Nadeau and Secretary General Christoph Frei also held bilateral meetings in Abu Dhabi with a number of senior decision-makers. These included H.E. Suhail Al Mazourei, UAE energy minister; Amylkar Acosta, Colombian minister of energy and mining; and Kandeh Yumkella, Special Representative for the UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) and Chair of UN-Energy.

Stuart Neil, Senior Director of External Affairs, represented the WEC at the SE4ALL Global Tracking Framework meeting, where project partners discussed the next phase of the initiative for this year, and at the launch of the World Bank’s Thirsty Water initiative.

Building on the past two years’ work of SE4ALL in raising energy in the development agenda, the UN has declared 2014 as the start of the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All where the UN will continue to underscore the importance of energy in sustainable development.

  • Kandeh Yumkella, in a column on energy poverty published in Gulf News, has recognised the WEC’s World Energy Congress and trilemma work. Read the piece here.
  • The next World Energy Leaders’ Dialogue will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa during the Africa Energy Indaba next month (18–20 February 2014).