Dr Angela Wilkinson addresses FOREN, Central & Eastern Europe’s largest energy forum

12th June 2022


FOREN: Central & Eastern Europe's largest energy forum

Dr Angela Wilkinson, our Secretary General & CEO, addressed FOREN, Central & Eastern Europe's largest energy forum hosted by World Energy Council Romania

(Dr Wilkinson's keynote address runs from 12:55 to 24:05)

Dr Wilkinson's full speech from FOREN is available below

I’d like to thank Prof. Dr. Yulian Yanku, President of the Romania Member Committee of the World Energy Council, for the honour of helping to set the scene for today’s important dialogue and for hosting and organising this event.

I would also like to thank his Excellency Mr Virgil Popescu, Minister of Energy and Chair, World Energy Council, Romania, for his patronage.

It’s time to talk about energy and in a new way. Before I present our global perspective, I would also like to pay tribute to our Romanian members, partners, and future energy leaders. 

FOREN has grown from strength to strength over recent years due to the growing interest and overwhelming support of Romanian energy interests and regional stakeholders.

FOREN has become known as a premier European energy gathering - thanks to your hard work. 

FOREN has adopted a another super theme this year - Energy Transitions Need Regional Cooperation. Yes, they do - and more so than ever!

The world energy community is committed to ‘humanising energy’ in action!

I wish I could be with you in person by the Black Sea but I am just back from the Dead Sea (in Jordan) where a regional energy hub partnership has been formed by Germany, Saudi, Jordan and others. Their shared ambition is to supply and trade green hydrogen across the MENA-EU neighbourhood. And its clear that all parties are committed to making this happen soon and at scale.

A lot has changed since we last met two years ago, so let me start by stating three things that have remained the same.

First. Energy is still front-page news across the world.

Second. Humanising energy is still the best way to enable societies to thrive and flourish through global energy transition: we can and must accelerate decarbonisation without destabilising societies.  

Third. The energy trilemma is back. And whilst we – the World Energy Council community - would argue it never went away, we recognise and are working hard to develop more flexible framework, which can be used to guide and track progress in energy transitions at regional-, national- and city-level.

Let me better explain as I set the scene for today’s important dialogue by looking at what is changed in the last two years.

A significant moment in energy – and for world energy community

Three once-in-a-lifetime crises (COVID-19, climate change, conflict in Europe) – have triggered the world’s first demand-driven energy shock.

The urgency to accelerate decarbonisation now involves a rethinking of energy security and affordability.

Last November, everyone wanted to be a net zero hero. Now we are all grappling with a new context of energy security and affordability.

The new energy security situation is vastly different to the 1970s oil embargo and supply crisis.

This is a consumer driven crisis and the demand-driven adjustments that are going to come out of this are going to be very significant. 

A year ago, our World Energy Pulse on Covid crisis highlight that recovery actions included improving the resilience of people and supply chains.

World Energy Pulse 2022

Our most recent World Energy Pulse is the first global survey of energy leaders’ attitudes and trends since the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine.

It shows that perspectives on energy security, affordability and decarbonisation have dramatically shifted since the start of the year and that tensions between these elements are growing.  

It's not just energy customers who are experiencing the pain of higher energy bills. The implications for access to clean and affordable energy is driving a new energy justice agenda in all world regions.

85% of responses indicate that governments must intervene in new and better ways address affordability and access or risk destabilising their societies.

Governments need help to better manage energy prices, system costs and affordability.

I hope today you will engage in courageous and honest conversations about how to reconnect the price of supply with value-in-use.

Affordability at the national level is now about soft landings and avoiding recessionary tendencies. At the individual level, affordability reflects willingness and ability to pay for reliable supply and flexible storage.

We all share the responsibility to ensure energy transition does not cost the earth and that future generations are left picking up the bill or become overloaded with debt.

Lessons from our 100 years in Energy

Global energy transition was never going to be as quick, cheap, or easy as some have promised.

In closing the implementation gaps between global ambition and action, what we have learned as THE world energy community over the last 100 years is more relevant now than ever.

  1.  Energy is a system – behind every button, switch and fuel pump is a myriad of connections and interactions.
  2. Energy transition is a process, not a destination. And it can’t be delivered all in one go.
  3. Energy system diversity, is increasing in the broadest sense – no one size solution fits all.
  4. The future of energy is imagined and cocreated.
  5. Energy technology transition goes hand in hand with societal disruption and transformation. As the relationships between energy technologies and society change, so do our relationships with each other.
  6. And lastly, energy systems and energy transition management cannot be reduced to a single metric or number.

So let us talk about the energy trilemma!

World Energy Trilemma 2021

As we all know “what gets measured gets managed.”

Our World Energy Trilemma Index, now in its 15th year, uses an integrated and objective framework to track and benchmark national energy transition performance in terms of energy security, affordability and equity and environmental sustainability. 

It is only by addressing all three dimensions that societies will be able to thrive and flourish through well-managed energy transitions.

The existing framework enables us to produce an annual global ranking, track national policy performance, and provide new insights about big movers – improvers and laggards.

For example, Romania has a rank of 21 out of 120 countries in the 2021 Index. It achieves a bronze medal - 3rd place as an energy security top performer.

Tracking Romania’s performance over 20 years, it is neither a biggest mover nor a laggard in any dimension. There is room for improvement!

Which energy trilemma solutions are the best way for Romania and this region to address energy needs, climate activism and sustainable development in parallel? Our partnership with BBCStoryworks is a great way to share your stories of success with 50 million people worldwide.

Managing the connected challenges of energy transition at all levels of society is always important and has never been more challenging.

Humanising energy is about involving people and communities in understanding their role and mobilising people-centric energy trilemma solutions which progress clean and just energy transitions in all regions.

Our ambition is to develop a flexible Trilemma framework that is user-friendly and encourages me, you and we to get involved and increase the net positive impact.

We want to equip everyone with trilemma superpowers so they can be a net zero hero.

My new hashtag #energy-trilemma-titan! What’s yours?

Let me share a little secret: our energy trilemma framework is more than a useful triangle!

The existing framework includes a score for national context and quality of governance.

Please use your trilemma superpowers to help us promote the energy trilemma ‘pyramid’ and humanising energy solutions at COP-27 in Egypt!

Humanising Energy

Responding to these multiple energy crisis and global supply shock will reset the energy leadership agenda.

The increasing emphasis by governments on empowering people and closing implementation gaps is is already central to our humanising energy agenda and building energy trilemma solutions and superpowers.

As we work to secure the next 100 years in useful energy, our Centenary Conversations, Celebrations and Campaign, will strengthen our community network to achieve transformational outcomes.

We aim to move-the-dial on global energy transitions and transformations. 

We believe it’s not enough to measure reductions in carbon, we need to build human capabilities. We can enable  societal transformation to pull energy technology transition forward if develop energy trilemma superpowers and solutions at all levels of society.

  • We aim to help 1 billion people become energy trilemma superheroes by 2030.
  • We are piloting and scaling community and city-led energy transitions sprints.
  • We are helping to diversify the workforce and develop the new skills required for performing and transforming in a new energy future.

These are remarkable and challenging times for us all.

I am truly honoured by the privilege of leading the World Energy Council at this significant moment in energy.

We will continue to listen, learn, and lead in mobilising more people and diverse communities to be energy trilemma titans and net zero heroes. Join us in extending and using these superpowers to all parts of society in all world regions.

Let me close by encouraging you all to talk about energy trilemma solutions as you explore regional cooperation.

Lets combine our humanising energy superpowers to secure useful energy for 10 billion better lives on a healthy and peaceful planet.

Thank you.

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