WEC's Bi-Monthly Commentary on Energy Issues, 15 April 2009
Greetings to WEC Members
It was my great pleasure to arrive at WEC on 1 April and begin my tenure as WEC Secretary General. My first two weeks have been energising, informative and exciting as I learn more about WEC and its work. I have met with all WEC London staff and am now working on a plan to get out and meet our members.
It is a challenging and interesting time for those of us involved in energy - COP-15, the impact of the global financial crisis, the energy policies of the new US administration, shifting energy demand, the continuing need to address energy security, supply side matters, investment in energy and energy poverty are just a few of the issues we face.
One of the key facets I want to explore is developing the WEC value proposition for our members. Especially now, we need to be sure that WEC is offering its members real value for their subscription fees. I look forward to exploring some of these ideas with you as I get out and about meeting the Member Committees as well as at the Reykjavik EA.
If you have comments, ideas or suggestions which you would like to share with me, or if there are particular opportunities - such as an annual meeting of your Member Committee or your country's annual energy event - where my presence might be helpful, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will do my best to try to accommodate your request.
I look forward with great enthusiasm to working with and for WEC and its global network of members, and I am excited about meeting you and getting involved in the important work that WEC is doing.
Africa Regional Events in Abuja, Nigeria
The Nigerian National Committee of the World Energy Council (NNC-WEC) hosted two WEC events in Abuja from 6-8 April. The first was a workshop entitled "Cleaner Fossil Fuel Technologies in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities". The second was an Africa regional meeting.
The workshop, which was organised by the WEC Cleaner Fossil Fuel Systems Committee, with support from the Nigerian National Committee of WEC and in collaboration with the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and other stakeholders, took place on 6-7 April. More than 200 delegates from Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal) and other countries (Canada, Germany, UK, US and Venezuela). Nearly 20 young African Future Energy Leaders also attended the event.
The Nigerian Minister of Environment, John Odeh, chaired the opening ceremony, while Professor Abubakar Sambo, Chair of the WEC Nigerian Member Committee and WEC Vice Chair for Africa, presented the welcome address. Elena Nekhaev, WEC Director of Programmes, and Dr. Latsoucabé Fall, WEC Regional Manager for Africa, presented a joint address on behalf of the WEC Cleaner Fossil Fuels Systems Committee and its chair, Barbara McKee.
The objective of the workshop was to provide an opportunity for energy, environment and other experts, as well as policymakers, to discuss the strategic role of cleaner fossil fuels systems, exchange information and promote deployment of cleaner and more efficient technologies that will reduce GHG emissions, preserve the environment and enhance energy security for socio-economic development in Africa.
The Africa regional meeting took place on 8 April. It was chaired by Professor Abubakar Sambo and attracted 53 participants. Topics discussed included progress on the Africa Regional Action Plan and the WEC-WEF Partnership on Energy Poverty Action, including the Niger "Energification Project". The meeting also focused on the current status of the WEC study on "Assessment of Energy Policy and Practices" and the Vulnerabilities work which is being carried out in conjunction with the Assessment.
A presentation was also given on the Montreal 2010 World Energy Congress.
Our thanks to Professor Sambo and NNC-WEC for the excellent organisation of these events and for their warm hospitality. All presentations and conclusions from these meetings will be posted on the WEC website in the near future.
Asia Regional Meeting Held in Daegu, Korea
Asia's first Regional Meeting of 2009 concluded on a high note following two full days (8-9 April) of fruitful meetings and meaningful activities for representatives of the region's Member Committees. The Regional Meeting, held in Daegu, Korea, kicked off with members participating in the Opening Ceremony of the International Green Energy EXPO. Now in its 6th year, the EXPO is Korea's premier event for renewable energy. In 2009, over 42,000 visitors came to the EXPO (882 from overseas) and 285 companies participated (111 from overseas), with 702 booths (26 from overseas) representing a 40% increase overall from 2008. As Daegu will be the site of WEC 2013, hosting this event every year for the next four years will provide an excellent run-up to the WEC Congress exhibition
Following the Opening Ceremony and lunch, a press conference was held featuring Stéphane Bertrand, Executive Director of Montreal 2010, and Bum-il Kim, Mayor of Daegu. Mr. Bertrand gave a briefing on the Montreal Congress, emphasizing the importance of Asia's -- and especially Korea's -- participation in Montreal 2010 to help build enthusiasm for the 2013 Congress. Mr. Bertrand's also held a press conference in Seoul on 7 April, and both events drew an enormous amount of media attention.
The regional meeting itself covered a variety of topics relevant to the region, including the planned ceremony marking the completion of the first phase of the GEEP project in June, WEC-ABAC's joint Symposium in August in Hanoi and an Energy Poverty Initiative presented by WEC India. After the regional meeting, Hajime Murata (WEC Japan) presented the WEC Assessment of Energy Policy and Practices study.
The next day started off with an intensive three-hour seminar entitled "Prospects for Korea's Green Nuclear Energy Industry"; after this session, attendees went on a technical tour to POSCO Steel and POSCO Power, where they saw Korea's largest fuel city factory.
Under the able leadership of Regional Vice Chair David Kim, and thanks to the organizational skills of regional manager Chong Moo Lee, the two days of events and press conferences ran smoothly. The events also proved an excellent first step to begin the process of creating a close partnership between Montreal 2010 and Daegu 2013 to ensure the greatest success for both events.
Slavov at Albanian and UNECE Conferences
Europe Regional Manager Slav Slavov recently took part in the "Crans-Montana Forum" in Albania. There were a number of high-level participants at the event, including a significant delegation from the Government of Albania, which was headed by Prime Minister Sali Ram Berisha.
One of the topics covered at the conference was security of supplies to Europe and in particular to Southeast Europe, and in that session, Slav Slavov gave a 20 minute presentation on the recent gas crisis in Europe, focusing on the outcomes of the joint discussions which WEC Europe members had with the European Commission, specifically, Energy Commissonier Andris Piebalgs and other representatives from his office, in February. A lively discussion followed Slav's presentation.
Slav also met with H.E. Genc Ruli, Albanian Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy and the Chair of the new WEC Albanian Member Committee, and Milo Kuneshka, Chairman, National Agency of Natural Resources, who serves as WEC Albania Secretary. Slav reports that things seem to be going well with the new Member Committee, and they are looking forward to ongoing cooperation and involvement with WEC. The Albanian MC will be formally welcomed into the WEC family at the Reykjavik Executive Assembly.
On 30 March, Slav participated in the UNECE annual session in Geneva. The Slovak Minister of Economy, Mr. Jahnatek, was an official guest of the UN and spoke about the gas crisis in the region. He stated that "solidarity between the European countries is of utmost importance, and protectionism should not be tolerated". Some delegates were sceptical about this statement but acknowledged that it is an area of in the light of the gas crisis.
As many of you may recall, the EnergyFax newsletter was initiated ten years ago by WEC Secretary General Gerald Doucet as a way of communicating with WEC members. I understand that many members feel this is a useful communication tool, but before I decide whether to continue EnergyFax, I would like to hear from you. Specifically, I would like to know if you believe it is a useful tool and would like it to continue in its current format and frequency, if there is some other format, method or timing that you feel might be more effective, or if there is another way I can communicate more effectively with you. I welcome your comments and advice and look forward to hearing from you on email@example.com
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