Trilemma champion steps down after five years at the helm

Posted on 24 January 2017

After five years at the helm, one of the energy sector’s influential female leaders is stepping down as Chair of the World Energy Council’s Trilemma Study group.
During her time as Chair, Joan MacNaughton oversaw the publication of five annual World Energy Trilemma reports, of which this year’s was presented to global energy ministers at the Clean Energy Ministerial in San Francisco.

Delivering policies which simultaneously address energy security, universal access to affordable energy services, and environmentally sensitive production and use of energy is one of the most formidable challenges facing government and industry. The ‘energy trilemma’ provides a clear framework to deliver the energy transformation and make sustainable energy systems a reality.

The World Energy Trilemma report looks at how efficiently member countries’ policies are managing the energy trilemma: how to deliver energy securely, to mitigate the environmental impact of energy production and use, and to ensure energy is available to all and at an affordable price.

Both the quantitative assessment of country performance in the Energy Trilemma Index and the analysis of energy and climate policies can help policymakers address the trilemma to the best effect, drawing on the opinions of both industry and government members which is a unique feature of the World Energy Council.

Christoph Frei, Secretary General, World Energy Council, said: “Joan has played a critical role in developing and establishing the World Energy Trilemma in collaboration with project partner Oliver Wyman and with Council members. Under Joan’s leadership The Council’s Trilemma work has evolved into a widely recognised and powerful benchmarking process for national energy policies in 150 countries, providing impartial and objective data, and focusing the dialogue among business leaders and policymakers on what it takes to deliver robust policies in a world of dynamic change.

“On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank Joan for all her hard work chairing the Trilemma. I am also delighted to welcome the incoming Chair, Phillip Lowe, who from previous roles including as Director General of Energy and of Competition at the European Commission and after serving as Vice Chair for the Trilemma for three years, brings extensive experience as well as fresh inspiration and new ambition to the project.”

Having a uniquely broad experience in the energy sector, Joan MacNaughton, is an influential figure in the energy policy debate and is also an active player in the Women in Energy Network. She is a member of C3E, the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment initiative, which is advancing women’s leadership in clean energy and helping to harness all talent in driving the clean energy revolution forward. Launched as a network of national-level actions, C3E is advancing women’s leadership in clean energy globally through an International C3E Ambassador Corps and the online community forum

She is also on the Sustainability Energy For All’s Finance Committee, which empowers leaders to broker partnerships and unlock finance to achieve universal access to sustainable energy, as a contribution to a cleaner and prosperous world for all. In 2012 she was Vice Chair of the UN High Level Panel on the Clean Development Mechanism.

From 2007 to 2011, she led Alstom’s policy department and spearheaded the company’s clean power advocacy, and until the end of 2012 was Alstom’s Global Adviser on Sustainable Policies.

Ms MacNaughton goes on to become chair of the Climate Group which works with leaders to create a net-zero emissions world, while still remaining as an Honorary Chair of the Council.

Joan MacNaughton, hands over her position to another key energy player, Sir Phillip Lowe, former Director General of the European Commission’s Energy Director General.

Following a period in manufacturing industry, Sir Phillip joined the European Commission in 1973, and held a range of senior posts as Chef de Cabinet and Director in the fields of regional development, agriculture, transport and administration, before becoming Director-General of the Development DG in 1997. From September 2002 he was Director-General of the Competition DG until he became Director-General of the Energy DG in February 2010.

He retired from the European Commission from 1st January 2014. He is a non-executive director of the UK Competition and Markets Authority. He is Chair of the Florence University Institute Competition Workshop and a Member of the Advisory Board of the School of Management, University of Bath. Philip Lowe was knighted KCMG in the 2014 HM Birthday Honours List.