In order to assess the global energy agenda and its evolution we annually conduct an issues survey with WEC Chairs. Our member committee Chairs have quantified the impact, uncertainty and urgency of about 30 issues, covering macroeconomic risks, geopolitics, business environment as well as energy vision in a high-level "helicopter perspective". The responses have been translated into issue maps with the three assessed dimensions as its axes.
How to read the issue map: Issues with high uncertainty and high impact (in the upper right corner - "critical uncertainties") include these, which will most benefit from multi-stakeholder dialogue and scenario analysis. The issues on the high-impact/low uncertainty side are these where immediate action finds easy consensus (bottom right - "need for action"). The low impact/low uncertainty issues include issues of perceived lesser importance but also "weak signals", which may be issues that are still badly understood. Further, the urgency of an issue is proportional to the size of its bubble. Finally, the four different categories of issues - macroeconomic risks, geopolitics, business environment and energy vision - are represented in four different colours.
How to interpret the results: In comparison to last year's survey macroeconomic risks related to the financial / economic crisis have lost their dominance as key concerns of WEC Chairs. The climate framework was already high in 2009 and in 2010 has become the dominant issue in the high-impact/high-uncertainty space. On the regional issues side, it is the growth of BRICS and regional dynamics in the Middle East that rank top. On the vision front, it is renewable energies and efficiency, which dominate the agenda. In comparison to last year, the trio of smart grid, storage or electric vehicles have made a jump upwards in terms of their perceived importance and uncertainty. Notably, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is still "taxed" with the highest uncertainty, which means that there is much more convincing work needed if the world shall be serious about CCS. Unconventional resources are also among the top perceived uncertainties. Innovative regulation and large scale projects are perceived to be of higher uncertainty and impact compared to underinvestment after the financial / economic crisis.
Other notable issues:
- energy-water nexus - a rapidly growing concern
- sustainable cities - a key driver for future energy consumption
Done on an annual basis, the issues survey will show the evolution of the perceived importance of the assessed issues and enable us to define global and regional priorities for our work: to facilitate dialogue and build consensus around critical uncertainties and contribute to the implementation of issues that need action.
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 >