WEC's Bi-Monthly Commentary on Energy,1 June 2008
CYPRUS IS NEWEST WEC MEMBER
The ballots are in, and Cyprus has been approved as WEC's newest member, bringing our total membership back to 93. We look forward to welcoming Cyprus to WEC at the EA in Mexico City.
OIL REFINING TASK FORCE MOVES AHEAD
A study on oil refining was approved as part of the Studies Programme in the 2008-2010 Business Plan, and a Task Force has been appointed to carry out this work, which will now be folded into the Assessment Study. Alessandro Careri of Eni (Italy) serves as chair of the Oil Refining Task Force.
The first meeting of the Task Force took place on 7 June in Rome. The group reviewed the Terms of Reference and discussed how the oil refining work will fit into the Assessment Study. The group also discussed its priorities and agreed to begin its work by preparing a "vision" of future demand to 2020 based on a review of relevant studies, particularly WEC's Scenarios study. The vision document will have a high level focus to help set the stage and provide background and a global context for the oil refining work. The inputs into the vision document are to be submitted by the end of June, and the next meeting of the Task Force will take place shortly thereafter to agree on the focal issues and the final outline of the Task Force report, which is scheduled to be completed in February 2009.
NEW REGIONAL CENTRE OF EXCELLEN OPENS IN CAIRO
A new Regional Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RE&EE) was inaugurated in Cairo, Egypt, on 25 June. The Centre is the result of an initiative by WEC's German and Egyptian Member Committees, with further support from the German and Egyptian governments, the Danish government and the European Commission.
H.E. Dr. Hassan Younes, Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy opened the new Centre. Among others present were the Ministers of Environmental Affairs and Higher Education and Scientific Research, the ambassadors of Germany, Denmark and the EU to Egypt, distinguished experts from Egypt, the Arab region and the EU and Dr. Emad El-Sharkawi, Chair of the Egyptian National Committee/WEC.
The Centre is hosted by the Ministry of Electricity and Energy and will work on enhancing the exploitation of the abundant renewable energy resources in the region, RE&EE policies, public-private partnerships (PPP) and R&D technology policies and programmes. The Centre's initial plan of action focuses on an economic evaluation of decentralized small-scale and grid-connected large-scale RE systems compared with conventional electricity generation; standardisation of regulations for EE and their applications; technology transfer and local manufacturing of RE&EE components; identification of promising resource areas for manufacturing, focusing on wind turbine components; benchmarking of regional solar water heater promotion programmes against programmes in Spain and Greece; and a comparative analysis of public private partnerships for RE&EE. The Centre will also act as an information clearinghouse on RE&EE.
WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM AFRICA SUMMIT 2008
The World Economic Forum on Africa took place in Cape Town, South Africa, from 4-6 June. The theme of the meeting was "Capitalising on Opportunity". WEC was represented by Dr. Latsoucabé Fall, Africa Regional Manager. More than 800 high-level decision-makers and policymakers attended the Forum, which focused on how to tackle the daunting challenges Africa faces in the areas of food, water, healthcare, education, energy, climate change and politics. The event also considered the magnitude of the gap between these challenges and the immense opportunities which Africa offers.
Forum attendees concluded that solutions must be creative to scale up social and economic growth. In this context, five current African government leaders have stated that capitalising on opportunity will "require strong partnerships among government, business and civil society" and "strong African cooperation and engagement with the world". This outlook is very much in line with WEC's Scenarios study recommendations, particularly the "Lion Scenario" which requires new forms of government with more engagement as well as strong international and regional cooperation and integration.
The private sector is poised to play a growing role in partnership with governments, multilateral agencies and civil society organisations, to facilitate wealth creation and sustainable growth. Strong leadership is not only a necessary prerequisite to good governance in all sectors of society, but is also the ultimate force capable of turning adversity into opportunities.
On 3 June, just prior to the Forum, a workshop was held on the Energy Poverty Action initiative, which commits WEC, WEF and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to work together to deliver business expertise and best practices to reduce energy poverty by developing innovative, scalable, replicable energy projects in rural areas. The workshop focused on action to date, including the Lesotho electrification project, which should come on line by the end of 2009, and on the work being done to facilitate access to required funding for EPA to develop rural electrification projects in Africa and elsewhere. This work, begun in May, is scheduled for completion for the WEF Summit in Davos in January 2009.
The workshop was also the occasion for Dr. Fall to present an update on WEC's Niger Energification Project following his recent mission to Niamey, Niger (see following report).
WEC AND NIGER ENERGIFICATION PROJECT
Dr. Fall visited Niger from 19-23 May to discuss the WEC Niger Energification Project with the Niger MC and the Niger authorities and to seek their support for the project. The visit also focused on ways in which the Niger Committee could strengthen itself and attract new members.
Latsoucabé reports that Niger is one of the world's poorest countries, with very low prospects for providing energy to rural areas. The 12 million inhabitants have a per capita GDP of $184 US a year. Energy use is 36 kg of oil equivalent per capita annually, compared to about 384 Koe/capita for all of Africa and 11,250 Koe/capita for the world. Electricity consumption is 35 kWh/capita, while the average for Africa is 538 kWh /capita and for the world, 2,423 kWh/capita. About 83% of Niger's population lives in rural areas, where electricity use is less than 1%. About 90% of households use traditional biomass, mainly fuel wood. The use of other energy sources, such as LPG, kerosene, solar and electricity for cooking, is marginal (less than 1%).
Lack of access to energy is a major impediment to human and economic development and poverty eradication, resulting in little or no access to basic services, such as education, health, water and sanitation, which exacerbates poverty and handicaps sustainable development. It is therefore essential to improve access to commercial energy in Niger's rural areas. To help address this, WEC is championing an energification project in Niger in conjunction with the WEF Energy Poverty Action initiative.
While in Niger, Latsoucabé met with a number of Niger energy companies and organisations to discuss WEC's work, focusing on our Scenarios study and its applicability to the energy issues Niger faces. He also visited the Minister of Mines and Energy, who commended WEC's work and expressed support for the Energification Project.
On 22 May, Latsoucabé visited Kouré, the potential site for the Energification Project. Kouré is 55 km from Niamey, with good access by road. The population is 2,924, and some basic services and industry are in place. The village is not electrified, but some PV solar installations exist for key services, such as the health centre. The main challenge for the village is the intensive use of fuel wood biomass for household cooking and the progressive scarcity of wood, with massive deforestation. Affordable lighting devices producing LED lighting have recently been introduced at very low cost and are beginning to penetrate the rural market; these can play an important role in helping poor households gain access to cleaner, better performing lighting. Kerosene and fuel wood for lighting are thus disappearing from rural areas.
As a result of Latsoucabé's visit, the Niger Energification Project will proceed; a concept paper will be completed shortly, then work will focus on attracting the relevant stakeholders, developing the letter of interest and consolidating support from the Ministry. Additional sites besides Kouré will be identified, a full funding proposal will be developed, financing will be sought and the project will be implemented.
WEC-FT ENERGY LEADERS SUMMIT
A reminder that WEC is co-sponsoring, with the Financial Times, the first annual Energy Leaders Summit on 16-17 September at the Cumberland Hotel in London. The theme for the Summit is "Investment Opportunities in Clean Energy Businesses". Confirmed speakers include WEC Chair Pierre Gadonneix; Antonio Brufau, Chair and CEO of Repsol YPF; H.E Geir H. Haarde, Prime Minister of Iceland; Angel Gurria, Secretary General, OECD; Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Energy; Tulsi Tanti, Chairman and Managing Director, Suzlon Group Limited; and Dr. Hassan Younes, Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy. WEC members are entitled to a 40% discount off the registration fee. For further information, visit
http://www.ftconferences.com/energy2008/home.asp or contact Theresa Hedberg at the London office.
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The World Energy Council in partnership with Oliver Wyman (global consulting firm) has over the past year worked on its third Assessment of country energy and climate policy aiming to identify key areas for policy improvements and to understand how successful policies can be transferred from one country to another. more >