Interview: Mark Robson from Oliver Wyman on the 2013 World Energy Trilemma

Posted on 31 July 2013

The 2013 World Energy Trilemma report will be released in advance of the World Energy Congress. Mark Robson from project partner Oliver Wyman talks about the study and what we shall see in this year’s report.

What is unique about the World Energy Trilemma report?

Mark RobsonIt’s the only report that we’re aware of that addresses energy policy on such a broad level and speaks to a broad group of stakeholders including government, industry and finance. The report focuses on how countries are meeting the “energy trilemma,” the trade-offs between energy security, energy equity (access and affordability), and environmental sensitivity.

What is Oliver Wyman’s role in this study?

We are the WEC’s sole project partner in researching and developing the World Energy Trilemma and the associated annual Energy Sustainability Index that ranks countries on meeting energy sustainability. In that role, our project team works closely with the WEC throughout the year to prepare and write the report, calculate the Index, support the communication of the findings, and develop strategy for the next year’s report.

How can the Trilemma study and the associated Index be of value to decision-makers?

The report offers two areas of value. First, the Index offers a data-based foundation for top-level dialogue on the trade-offs around energy decisions that have a huge impact on economies and the environment. Second, the report provides real examples of how other countries are tackling similar sustainability challenges. This gives policymakers insightful benchmarks and leading practices to consider.

What is the focus of the 2013 report?

CaptureThe 2012 and the upcoming 2013 report are structured to support and improve the dialogue between the energy industry and policymakers.

The 2012 report captured what the energy industry needs from polices and policymakers to increase investments and innovation. Based on interviews with over 40 CEOs and executives of leading energy companies, the report highlighted that the industry is bullish on its capacity to meet sustainable energy demands so long as policymakers can establish enabling regulatory frameworks.

The 2013 report focuses on policymaker messages to the energy industry. We’ve interviewed close to 50 ministers, regulators and senior executives at development banks and international governmental organisations to capture their insights on the role that industry can play in pushing through sustainable energy.

The 2012 and 2013 report findings will be the platform for a number of sessions at the upcoming World Energy Congress. Given the mix of policymakers and energy industry leaders at the event, we believe the report will have real impact and support substantive discussions.

What are some of the challenges in developing the Index?

The key challenge is data! We need regularly produced, reliable data for all of the 93 WEC member countries. This year the Index also includes about 30 more countries for which data is available. The Index is currently based on 60 data sets which are used to develop 22 indicators that measure a country’s progress toward solving the trilemma.

You played a key role, with the study’s Executive Chair Joan MacNaughton, at the 2012 trilemma report’s launch at COP-18 in Doha.  What did you take away from the event?

Our participation at COP-18 highlighted the importance of a dialogue between industry and policymakers in addressing the energy trilemma and the value of the 2012 and 2013 studies. As a number of policymakers noted in our interviews this year, feedback and knowledge sharing is critical to ensure effective policy and regulations.

How did attendance at COP-18 influence your approach to the 2013 report?

It reinforced the need to open up the dialogue with international organisations and development banks. We interviewed a number of international development banks as part of this year’s report in addition to capturing input from the UNFCCC and IEA.


Mark Robson manages Oliver Wyman’s contribution to the WEC’s annual World Energy Trilemma report. He is a Partner on the Global Risk & Trading team. Oliver Wyman has been supporting the trilemma work since 2008 when it became a Patron of the WEC.

The 2013 World Energy Trilemma report will be published in September. The combined analysis of the 2012 and 2013 studies will be discussed at the World Energy Congress and at COP-19 climate conference later this year.

Read the 2012 report here: