First update from Christoph Frei for 2018

Posted on 23 April 2018

Dear Valued Members,

As it has been a little time since my end of year update to you, I thought it would be useful to capture some of our activities of the past months.

I have just returned from the Berlin Energy Week where we met with a vibrant community of energy innovators and start-ups who were taking part in the 2018 Start-up Energy Transition (SET) Award. Thank you to all the member committees who helped spread the word about the Awards within your communities, there really was a great response with over 400 applicants and some excellent projects and businesses representing all the corners of the energy world. It was great to see and hear about the work being done across the energy spectrum from companies like @Ionomr to @ForCity_Co.

I was also pleased to see the United Arab Emirates sign up as a country partner to the SET-100 initiative with our strategic  partner dena, the German Energy Agency. This is a partnership that will strengthen our Innovation theme at the 24th World Energy Congress  in Abu Dhabi next year. It will create the opportunity for many of the businesses involved in the SET Awards to be showcased at the Congress and will highlight the amazing achievements, opportunities and potential areas for disruption in the energy sector.

During March we were delighted to welcome four inspirational women Solar Engineers from Chile to our offices for an afternoon of insightful conversation. Susanna Garcia, Isabel Caripan, Silvia Huarachi and Sunilda Flores, also known as Solar Mamas, recently completed a gruelling and rewarding 6 months solar engineering training organised by the Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan, India. On their way back to Chile, they flew in to London to tell us about their remarkable experience and how they see their new skills of bringing electricity benefiting their communities. It’s great for us to be able to support an initiative that has such a clear and lasting impact in line with our mission of sustainable energy for the benefit of all.

In February, at the Annual Africa Energy Indaba, the World Energy Council’s annual African regional meeting, a members’ scenarios workshop and the  Indaba Energy Leaders Summit showcased inspiring stories and offered critical insights on the African energy experience. They highlighted business models for rural energy access that successfully combine innovative approaches to data, finance and renewables.  The meeting also demonstrated that African countries have not only big hopes and enthusiasm for the energy future, but also the potential for energy transition leapfrog developments and successful regional energy integration.

As part of our new strategy, we have also evolved our approach to expert involvement in the Council’s Insights Work Programme , extending opportunities for members to nominate new relevant experts to join and contribute to the new content agenda. We are extending the deadline for the call the call for experts to 8 May 2018. We have high hopes for the work of these Working Groups, so look forward to your nominations.

I was excited by the recent appointment of new members to our Future Energy Leaders’ Board. I am keen that the FEL Board’s priorities remain focused on pursuing the FEL-100 mission and executing its core strategies of fostering a valued community of exceptional young energy professionals from around the world. I look forward to working with Nuno Silva, Chair and the rest of the FEL Board.

The first months of 2018 have seen a number of new appointments to the Secretariat in London which will help us embed our new strategy and ensure the ongoing relevance of work of the Council to energy decision-makers globally. Barry Kermisch has joined as Senior Director of Digital and Platforms and will lead our approach to how we engage with all our stakeholders through digital and traditional platforms. He brings a wealth of experience from EY, Royal Mail and the Institute of Civil Engineers. We also welcome to the Digital and Platforms team: Francisco Galtieri, Senior Manager, Platforms and Academy and Jorge Romeo, Manager, Content and Marketing. In the Insights team we welcome Marzia Zafar,  Director, Innovation and Issues Monitor, Talita Covre, Manager, Transition Insights and in the Operations team: Mercy Adebayo, IT Manager and Ashleigh Dunn, Assistant to the CEO and COO. I am delighted to have a diverse team of people bringing new skills and commitment to our mission of the organisation and to working with you.

The next few months are looking busy too, as we continue to deliver a work programme of content and events that shape the energy futures debate and ensure that today’s energy leaders are well-informed when making important decisions that will lead to a sustainable global energy future.

First, we have our Member meetings in May coming up on 15 and 16 May 2018. I am looking forward to catching up with you all and sharing how we are getting on with the implementation of the Council’s new strategy. It will be a good chance for you all to meet with the new members of the team and we have what will hopefully prove an interesting workshop on the Innovation Uncertainties of a Robust Energy Transition.

In June the Council is excited to host its first World Energy Leaders’ Summit for 2018 along with the Latin American Regional Forum in Carlos san Bariloche, Argentina. The event, Grand Energy Transition – The Latin American Context, will convene global energy leaders, hosted by H.E Juan Jose Aranguren, Minister of Energy of Argentina, who will address participants with a keynote opening speech. In a series of high-level dialogues, participants will address topics and trends critical to the energy sector such as ‘Regional pathways to a new and better energy future in the face of the Grand Transition’ and ‘Preparing for disruptive technologies and innovative business models’.

Slightly later than normal this year, during May we will be launching the latest data from our Issues Monitor. At the same time, in conjunction with our Partner ARUP, we plan to bring you a new online tool for visualising the data that underpins the Issues Monitor. I am personally very excited about this development of the Issues Monitor, which is one of the key research programmes of the Council and I believe this will help us to inform and facilitate further debate on the issues that are important to the global energy system.

Thinking further ahead we currently have the calls open for applications to host the World Energy Week in 2020 and the World Energy Congress in 2022. I am looking forward to seeing who has applied and how we can shape further events that bring you relevant information and debate. We also look forward to receiving your application for the five open officer positions. All relevant documents are available on the Member Services dropbox.

Until we next meet, I wish you all the best for the coming months.

Christoph