Energy Leaders, innovators and CEOs drive dialogue at World Energy Week

Posted on 31 October 2018

Innovation, new technologies, resilience, geopolitics, blockchain technology, green finance, integration and sustainability of energy systems, were just a few of the critical topics discussed during the Council’s 2018 World Energy Week in Milan.

Hosted by the Council’s Italian member committee, between 8 and 11 October, with support from the city of Milan, the week-long programme offered a wide range of events and networking opportunities for the global energy community. The event included high-level, exclusive sessions that convened more than 800 Ministers, CEOs, energy leaders and experts, who explored the challenges driving the energy transition.

Christoph Frei, Secretary General, World Energy Council, commented: “The week  provided a great opportunity to explore and discuss key features of the new energy realities and their implications on the energy sector. New business models, supported by rapidly evolving technology opportunities and innovative policies are redefining the way we produce and use energy in all parts of the world. Over the coming years, this grand energy transition will impact the economic foundation of both energy companies and entire sectors with knock-on effects on regional equilibria and the wider global economy.”

Key take-aways from sessions held during the Energy Transition Summit and World Energy Leaders’ Summit included:

  • 47% of the participants who attended the Energy Transition Summit on day 4 identified Technology innovation as the most dynamic development to impact the energy transition

  • Innovation is key, but not exclusively about new technologies or start-ups

  • Infrastructure insecurity is raising the stakes on resiliency

  • Energy systems are absorbing the rapid rise of renewables, but markets need to adapt to avoid energy shocks

  • All forms of storage are likely to be increasingly important with new technologies such as grid batteries look promising for grid scale

  • Financing is increasing, but there are still big global investment gaps

  • There is unfinished business on energy poverty and the need to rethink access

  • A dynamic approach to energy systems resilience is possible if firms, cities and governments cooperate and share best practices

  • Global cooperation, regional integration, political will and a global carbon price can enable better targeting of reductions to better address the climate challenge

The event also hosted the Italian Energy Day, where the global challenge of sustainable mobility was the underlying theme. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economic Development, Davide Crippa, speaking at the opening of the Italian Energy Day, confirmed the Government’s commitment to create a stable regulatory framework that anticipates changes and challenges posed by new technologies and guide private capital towards investments in sustainable solutions such as renewable sources, smart grids, recharging and refuelling infrastructures for sustainable mobility.

The greater need to utilise liquid natural gas, particularly in the transport sector, was also highlighted.

Marco Margheri, Chairman of the Council’s Italian member committee, commented: “We are experiencing an extraordinary growth in the development of electrical technologies and each of us is beginning to see electric cars around the city. We cannot wait to engage other transport sectors, we think heavy road transport is equally as important in Italy. Maritime transport is also crucial for the environmental quality of our seas. The technology that already offers us a viable solution today is liquefied natural gas. It  will mean replacing our oil engines with engines that can use gas that emits less and above all, has less impact on local pollution.”

The Council’s major governance meetings also took place, culminating in the full Executive Assembly Plenary where members agreed on the strategic direction of the organisation.

Speaking at the Executive Assembly Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy, Russia, gave an overview of what to expect at the 25th World Energy Congress in St Petersburg in 2022:

“The Russian government, member committee and energy companies all view the World Energy Council as an important platform to discuss the energy transition. It brings  energy stakeholders together for a long time to talk about energy technology and markets. The focus of the congress in St Petersburg will be the role of energy and technology in the future such as forecast innovation and data.”

During the Executive Assembly Dr Matar Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of Energy, UAE; announced to attendees that the official programme of the Congress is at an advanced stage of development thanks to the early engagement the UAE organising committee has sought to create with key stakeholders. Younghoon David Kim, the Chairman of the World Energy Council, HE Sheikh Nawaf Al Khalifa, Director-General of the Electricity and Water Authority in the Kingdom of Bahrain and Chairman of GCCIA, and Dr Matar, also launched the registration system for the Congress.

The Lebanon member gave a presentation after confirming Beirut as the official location to host World Energy Week 2020.

Other highlights of the week included the Future Energy Leaders’ Summit,  launch of the Council’s 2018 World Energy Trilemma Index; presentation of the 2018 World Energy Insights Blockchain Brief;  and launch of the 2019 Start-Up Energy Transition Award inviting young, innovative companies around the world to apply and present their business ideas for climate change in the energy transition.

World Energy Week is the Council’s annual general gathering of global energy leaders to promote the sustainable supply and use of energy for the greatest benefit of all.