Global energy leaders drive debate on critical issues at Demex 2017

Posted on 12 September 2017

Key energy players convened at the World Energy Leaders’ Summit as the Dialogues for the Future of Energy Mexico 2017 (DEMEX), organised by Mexico’s Ministry of Energy (SENER).

High-level speakers drawing from nearly 100 Ministers and CEOs from across the world including Rainer Baake, Germany’s State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, Li Yong, Director General, UNIDO, and Enrique Hidalgo, President of ExxonMobil Exploration, Mexico, gathered to discuss critical issues facing the energy system.

Decentralised approaches to balancing the energy trilemma, innovative business models to drive and enable change, as well as energy system resilience and energy sector reform, are critical issues affecting the energy sector set to drive lively debate at the Summit.

Christoph Frei, Secretary General, World Energy Council, said: “The energy sector is facing many new realities in the way we produce and consume energy. The unprecedented speed of change in technologies, risks and policy environment provides both challenges and opportunities for countries and energy companies. Dialogue on implications among policy and private sector leaders in an informal neutral setting is critical at this time of great uncertainty and grand energy transition. We are delighted to be working with the Mexican Government in hosting this important summit.”

Leonardo Beltrán Rodríguez, Deputy Secretary for Planning and Energy Transition of Mexico, added: “The global energy landscape has an enormous dynamism, that’s why collaboration, new alliances, and innovative approaches will be needed for the future of energy. DEMEX provides a unique opportunity for key players to discuss, analyse and reflect on the trends and scenarios of energy, and share experiences in their efforts to move towards Energy Transition. Given that SENER and the World Energy Council have the ability to convene the world energy community, the participation of the World Energy Leaders’ Summit at DEMEX facilitated dialogue about challenges of the sector in a global context.”

North American Forum Annual Regional Forum

The World Energy Council will also hosted its North American Annual Regional Forum during Demex, which brought together the leadership of the World Energy Council’s Canadian, Mexican and United States member committees to discuss relations between the three countries energy systems and explore climate change policies and medium and long-term energy scenarios for North America. It  also discussed energy trade within North America at a time when US, Canadian and Mexican negotiators are zeroing in on ways to enshrine the Mexican’s administration’s sweeping energy reforms into a modernised North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Forum’s North American perspective yielded interesting insights. Starting from the status quo, energy is already a key North American benefit: providing 470 million consumers with energy commodities and energy services, and $141 billion in energy trade. The United States and Canada are connected by some 35 major electricity transmission lines and 70 oil and gas pipelines, many of which enable two-way flows.

Four aspects of energy in North America were discussed under the conference theme Regional Collaboration on Climate, Clean Energies and Environmental Issues. The scenarios presented in the session on Medium and Long-Term Energy Scenarios for North America, which principally focused on reducing GHG emissions, showed strong similarities: continued reliance on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future, albeit with a declining share; replacing coal-fired generation with wind and solar; and,widespread electrification of energy end-uses primarily focused on transportation, but also in industry and buildings.

Empowering energy

Within the margins of the World Energy Leaders’ Summit, the Council also ran an empowering energy workshop on scaling up rural energy access through innovation.

The Latin and Caribbean region (LAC)  has a huge potential for renewable energy development, to deliver off-grid access to electricity to remote communities.

However, the implementation as well as the impact of these solutions on the area where they are developed can face challenges such as low financial access or community rights and involvement.

Access to reliable and sustainable energy is a pillar of prosperity and development for every economy. In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), 5% of the population does not have access to grid electricity. Most of these people live in rural areas and depend on fire wood, kerosene, diesel, candles, and other basic forms of energy which are not considered safe, reliable or sustainable, and are usually more expensive than grid electricity.

The workshop explored and discussed how rural entrepreneurs need access to capital and an enabling environment that allows them to bring ground-breaking technologies to market:

  • What are successful examples bringing renewable energy to rural areas? What are the required conditions to ensure success of the implementation of off-grid solutions and how can barriers be overcome?
  • What are enabling policies to guarantee a balance between energy equity, energy security and environmental sustainability and further accelerate the momentum of off-grid electrification?

Ricardo Fuentes, Chief Executive, Oxfam Mexico, who spoke at the event said: ” I was delighted to  participate in the workshop. The most important opportunity was to be able to see women from marginal communities stand out and take the technical and social control to provide electricity for themselves and their communities/neighbours. This, in addition, was based on a bottom-up approach as much as an international solidarity scheme.”