WEC's Bi-Monthly Commentary on Energy Issues, 15 July 2008
WEC PHOTO COMPETITION
On the 28th July, WEC will launch the WEC Photo Competition 2008 via the WEC website. Open to all amateur photographers, we will accept submissions of high quality digital images with the theme "Energy for a Better World". This initiative is meant as an outreach tool for WEC and WEC Member Committees to develop visibility and encourage interest in WECs vision of the sustainable development of energy. The competition will remain open until 3rd October, at which time we will invite the Member Committees to vote on their favourite images within their WEC region. The competition will be administered entirely via the WEC website, with the overall winner and regional runners-up selected before the Mexico Executive Assembly in November.
Entries meeting the competitions rules and theme will be stored in the WEC Photo Archive, to be used in future WEC publications and websites. Please review the information available via SecretaryNet, including suggestions on how to promote the competition in your country, and pass on the news of this new initiative:
If you have any questions about the competition, or require assistance accessing further details; email Paul Benfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the WEC London Office.
WEC ROMANIA HOSTS SUCCESSFUL FOREN 2008
WEC-Romania organised its 9th Regional Energy Forum, FOREN 2008, from 15-19 June in Neptun-Olimp on the Black Sea. This event is held every two years and attracts energy professionals from throughout the region and the world. This year's Foren drew over 1,000 delegates, with 65 foreign participants from 20 countries. The theme of the 2008 Foren, "Regional Energy Policy: Working Together, Next Steps" underlined the importance of regional cooperation in finding solutions to the most urgent issues confronting the energy industry today.
The Patron of Foren 2008 was HE Traian Basescu, President of Romania, and a number of representatives from the Romanian government attended the event. Also present to represent WEC were Vice Chair for Europe Johannes Teyssen, Director of Regional Programmes Yoshiaki Imaizumi, Regional Manager for Europe Slav Slavov and Studies Committee Chair C.P. Jain.
An Opening Ceremony, Romanian Energy Day, a Ministerial Forum, two Keynote Addresses and four Round Tables were features of Foren, along with five Discussion Sessions focusing on Energy Policies and Energy Generation; Electricity Markets; Electricity Transportation and Distribution Grids; Oil and Gas; and Coal. A total of 400 papers were submitted, of which 175 were presented in the discussion sessions and 125 in the poster sessions. Also taking place during Foren was EXPO FOREN 2008, which featured 65 stands and 46 exhibiting companies. A press conference was organized at Foren's conclusion, with local and national radio and TV stations, newspapers and magazines participating.
The conclusions and recommendations of Foren will be published and sent to Romanian officials. For further information on Foren and its outcomes, please visit the Romanian Member Committee's website: http://www.cnr-cme.ro/. Congratulations to the RNC-WEC on another successful Foren.
WEC PARTICIPATES IN OFID WORKSHOP
A workshop on energy poverty in Africa was held in Abuja, Nigeria, on 9-10 June. The theme of the workshop was "National and Regional Development Strategies for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development in Africa". The event was organised by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). OFID was established in January 1976 to reinforce financial cooperation between OPEC member countries and developing countries; sustainable development is part of the OFID mandate, with a special focus on energy supply, pricing and income.
Nigerian President Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua opened the event, along with the Minister of Finance. Also present were the Ministers of State for Finance, Power and Petroleum and representatives from OPEC and OFID. WEC was represented at the workshop by WEC Vice Chair for Africa Professor Abubakar Sambo, who sent us this report.
In his opening speech, the President reiterated the energy challenges facing African countries, which include environmental problems, biofuels and the food crisis, heavy dependence on biomass and extremely low access to modern energy services, particularly electricity. He then called on OPEC to develop practical programmes for reducing poverty in African countries.
In his keynote address, the Secretary General of OPEC stated that lack of modern energy services is contributing to poor education, lack of potable drinking water and poor health as well as to the high maternal and infant mortality rate in Africa. He said energy poverty was a vicious circle which is being exacerbated by the rising price of oil. He further stated that OPEC is investing $150 billion annually in the production of oil to meet the average annual projected growth of 1.5%.
The Minister of State (Petroleum) pointed out that reform measures to address the energy problems of Nigeria have been put in place, while the Minister of State (Power) said that lack of electricity is impeding implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Vision 2020 agenda of the government but that the government will continue to partner with the private sector to develop the electricity supply in Nigeria, most notably by rehabilitating existing facilities, completing the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) and providing adequate gas to power stations by 2011.
Some of the main conclusions of the workshop were:
" National governments should establish relevant policies and institutional frameworks and translate these into implementation strategies and budgetary support. They should also improve the policy environment of the private sector to foster stronger links with public sector decision-makers and make a conscious political commitment to widen national energy access, particularly for peri-urban and rural communities.
" National governments should implement relevant capacity-building programmes for SME support institutions and should restructure SME support institutions by recruiting appropriate experts to their boards and by providing logistical support to enable them to build the capacities of SMEs and offer the needed technical and expert support.
" There is a need to develop functional energy markets, particularly in rural areas, through explicit national policy incentives and procedures which stimulate energy equipment development. In addition, energy services should be packaged with income generating possibilities, as this improves financial viability.
" Government organisations mandated to manage various electrification and other energy-related funds should explore innovative interventions to reduce the costs of renewables and energy efficient technologies, such as by increasing investments in product and market development.
" To address the lack of understanding of the financial systems and processes, energy ministries should work closely with the private sector to furnish local banks, particularly commercial banks, with evidence-based data on costs and benefits of investments in clean energy technologies.
" To reduce high capital cost and investor risk, national governments should institute investment incentives, such as capital grants or third party finance arrangements where the governments assume risks or provide low interest loans.
EA AGENDA DISTRIBUTED
The official meeting notice for the Mexico City Executive Assembly, along with the draft agenda, schedule of meetings, reply form and list of proposed nominations to the Officers Council, were posted and emailed to all Member Committees on 9 July. The documents will also be posted on the website, www.worldenergy.org, in the private, members-only section.
The final printed agenda and annexes will be distributed on 8 September. Some of the main items on the agenda will be approval of the revised 2008-2010 Business Plan and budget and the 2009 budget, selection of the site for the 2013 World Energy Congress, and a 90-minute Symposium on the new Assessment Study.
If you have not yet registered for the EA, I urge you to do so soon by visiting: www.wec2008mexico.com.
If you have questions about the EA, please contact Emily Melton (email@example.com) 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 >