World Energy Council issues 10-point action plan for sustainable future

Report lays out collective path for governments, industry, and finance

World Energy Congress, Daegu, Korea, 15 October 2013: The World Energy Council (WEC) today issued a 10-point action plan for how governments, industry, and key decision-makers should refocus their efforts and resources to achieve real progress in resolving the energy trilemma.

The report, “World Energy Trilemma: Time to get real – the agenda for change”, was launched as the world’s energy leaders gather in South Korea for the World Energy Congress. It provides a detailed guide to creating a global policy framework that addresses the energy trilemma: energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability.

The report is the culmination of the findings of a two-year World Energy Council study, “World Energy Trilemma”, conducted with Oliver Wyman, the management consulting firm. Recommendations from the past two years of study were the result of interviews with over 100 energy leaders in 41 countries, including chief executives, ministers, and heads of development banks.

Joan MacNaughton, Executive Chair of the WEC’s World Energy Trilemma studies, said:

“Governments face a daunting challenge to deliver secure, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy services. How well they meet it has a fundamental bearing on the social and economic prospects of their countries. Over the last two years our World Energy Trilemma study has identified what governments and energy leaders believe is needed to balance the energy trilemma.

“These leaders say they are ready to act now, but acknowledge that they need more guidance and support. Our analysis provides the basis for countries to assess their political and institutional risk, and our new ‘Agenda for Change’ report describes how they can mitigate such risk and unlock the investment to deliver the required energy infrastructure. This subject will be the core of discussions between government and business leaders at the World Energy Congress’.

The WEC’s 10-point Agenda for Change action plan includes:

  • Action 1: Connect the energy trilemma to the broader national agenda
  • Action 2: Provide leadership to build consensus – nationally and globally
  • Action 3: Improve policymaker dialogue
  • Action 4: Increase engagement with the financial community
  • Action 5: Minimise policy and regulatory risk and ensure optimal risk allocation
  • Action 6: Adopt market-based approaches to carbon pricing to drive investments
  • Action 7: Design transparent, flexible and dynamic pricing frameworks
  • Action 8: Drive (green) trade liberalisation
  • Action 9: Meet the need for more research, development & demonstration (RD&D)
  • Action 10: Encourage joint pre-commercial industry initiatives, including early large-scale demonstration and deployment.

According to the report, addressing strong demand growth, widening access to the 1.2 billion people currently not served by energy grids, and balancing the upgrade of ageing infrastructure with environmentally progressive systems requires investment and coordination on an unprecedented scale. However, the impact of shale gas discoveries in more than 40 countries, cost breakthroughs in certain renewable technologies, and increasing the efficiency of transport, construction and household energy use could enable communities to live and work within a widely more sustainable energy landscape.

The report calls for better consultation and coordination between policymakers, industry, consumers and developers to create a sustainable energy framework that has the support of all stakeholders.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), commented at the launch of the report at the World Energy Congress:

“The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly sounded the alarm that greenhouse gas emissions will cause tremendous and irreversible harm to the economies of the world if not quickly curbed. The good news is that the money, technology and policy tools to shift the current emissions trajectory and steer humanity out of the danger zone are available. The Trilemma report demonstrates that a sustainable energy future is possible if all of these tools are deployed quickly and at scale. It also shows a strong willingness to act by the energy sector. I recommend that governments look closely at the report and act on its conclusions, which will strengthen the outcome of the 2015 global climate agreement and raise immediate ambition to curb greenhouse gases.”

Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, said:

“We stand on the verge of a genuinely more sustainable energy future. Technology is developing at an unparalleled pace and could unlock new opportunities to meet the needs of consumers and businesses. But daunting challenges remain. Our Agenda for Change provides new hope for the world’s energy leaders to redouble their collective efforts to put the policies and plans in place that will create a global sustainable energy framework.”

John Drzik, CEO of Oliver Wyman, project partner to the WEC on the Trilemma studies, said:

“Economic growth requires sustainable energy, and sustainable energy requires sustainable policy. Our study with the World Energy Council shows that many countries have made huge strides, but all need to do more. Business and political leaders need to work together to shape long-term energy policies which reduce risk and create a more favourable environment for energy investment.”

The publication of today’s report follows the launch last month of the WEC study, “World Energy Trilemma: Time to get real – the case for sustainable energy investment”, and its 2013 Energy Sustainability Index.

Further information on the World Energy Trilemma studies, together with the Agenda for Change and the Energy Sustainability Index, can be downloaded on: www.worldenergy.org/publications