Closing 2020: A message from Dr Angela Wilkinson, Secretary General and CEO

21st December 2020


Closing 2020: A message from Dr Angela Wilkinson, Secretary General and CEO

Dear Members, Partners, Future Energy Leaders, Colleagues and Friends,

Last year, my end-of year-message started with the words “it has been a year of significant changes - the energy sector and the World Energy Council are entering a new era.” As the newly appointed sixth Secretary General and CEO of our 97-year old world energy community organisation, I was looking forward to the next 100 years. I still am!

It has been a remarkable year of broad and unpredictable changes. Even in the midst of continued uncertainty, it is important to take a moment to recognise and reflect on the amazing achievements of THE world energy community – our community - over the past 12 months. I am sincerely grateful for all your contributions and support in pulling together as we all work through the global health emergency and navigate ‘lock-down’ challenges.

We have collectively renewed our sense of purpose – translating our new shared vision of Humanising Energy into a meaningful agenda of action which is reinvigorating our community-wide interactions.

We have co-produced new insights through the year – on clean hydrogen, flexible storage, the future of transmission. Our agile, community-wide exchanges on the uneven impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, outlooks and impacts of recovery planning enabled us to launch the world’s first World Energy Transition Radar, which tracks real-time signals from across the world to assess the impacts of recovery actions on the speed and direction of global energy transition.

We accelerated our ‘go digital’ plans. Our impressive digital-only productions of the annual Executive Assembly and coproduction of World Energy Week LIVE, have engaged more members across nearly 90 countries and helped our community to reach wider stakeholders. We believe we have extended our core capabilities to convene and curate good quality dialogue on local-, regional- and global energy leadership agendas into the highly competitive digital events arena.

Your stories on Humanising Energy have enabled us to refresh our well-respected, globally inclusive ‘voice’ and as, as a result, the World Energy Council gained more regional media coverage, as well been featured in high-quality global media, such as The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. Our increasing relevance is also evident in our role in developing the new social energy agenda (“empowerment”) which was launched by the Clean Energy Ministerial.

Whatever next, and we expect tough times ahead, I am reassured by your expressions of support and continued commitment that we can and will emerge as an even stronger and more vital world energy community.

Please take a moment to celebrate our successes as we prepare to shape a better energy future for people and planet in the new post-crisis context and next normal. 

2021 will bring a different world, not just another year.

Our impartiality, forward looking stance and ‘whole system’ approach are unique and remain valuable in supporting our member organisations and wider energy stakeholders to emerge from crisis.

We can and will play a key role in enabling stronger, connected energy societies to flourish through new energy developments and better management of the complex process of transition.

As THE world energy community, we can continue to reach out to actively engage new energy users, service providers and energy transition leaders across and beyond the industry. We will strive to promote a new ‘join-the-dots’ agenda which aims to secure more energy and climate neutrality to meet new and shifting demand in a new post-crisis context of affordability and social justice.

Financial sustainability will remain a challenge throughout 2021. We continue to operate as a ‘cash and in kind’ contributions community. We will ensure that every penny received by the Secretariat is carefully spent on advancing our common agenda. And in order increase impact and influence, we will continue to work on new growth opportunities with our Member Committees and Patrons and look to further expand the membership base and diversify income through new revenue streams.

In 2021, we will link our pragmatic Humanising Energy agenda to the ‘race to zero’ agendas of the COP26 meeting in the UK, the new Biden administration and the growing number of nations, blue-chip corporations, cities and local communities. At the same time, we can help to highlight how developing nations are making major advancements in eradicating energy poverty and draw greater attention to global challenges in accelerating quality energy access. 
We have identified three ‘how to’ priorities which we use to guide our community programmes and discussions over the next year:

  • Affordable pace: Achieve a more human pace in the race to zero
  • Progress resilience: Recognise diversity to achieve recovery
  • Engage people power: Reset energy market design for customer centricity 

May I take this opportunity to wish you, your family, and your colleagues a healthy and happy holiday period and a peaceful start to 2021.

With energy for achieving greater impact,
Dr Angela Wilkinson
Secretary General and CEO

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