Dr Angela Wilkinson Addresses the 11th Clean Energy Ministerial

22nd September 2020

News ArticleGlobalEventsImpact CommunitiesCovid-19

Dr Angela Wilkinson Addresses the 11th Clean Energy Ministerial

The World Energy Council Secretary General and CEO, Dr Angela Wilkinson, addressed Ministers of the world's largest and leading governments at the 11th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM11) on 22 September 2020. CEM11 brings together governments, companies and international experts to achieve one mission - accelerate clean energy transitions. Her remarks as prepared for delivery are as follows:

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I am honoured to address you on behalf of the World Energy Council. We have operated for nearly 100 years as the open to all, practical and intensely impartial worldwide Energy community.

Your Excellencies, you won’t hear us talk about what “you should do”; we leave that to others. We exert our energies on ‘how to’ build and transform whole energy systems for the benefit of whole-of-society.  We are the “how to do it” community.

Some of you, including our kind Saudi ministerial host, Chair one of our World Energy Council Member Committees. Thank you.

Whilst we are perhaps best known for the World Energy Congress, held every 3 years, our worldwide community operates 365 days a year.

Today I’d like to share what we are learning from the combined strength of our local chapters in nearly 100 countries about the global health emergency from a World Energy perspective.  

The Covid-19 crisis is a brutal shock on an already stressed world energy system. Resilience has been tested. Recovery will not be easy. Any hope of transformation will involve massive financial capital reallocation in a new context of affordability and social justice. Billions of lives and trillions of dollars are at stake.

The big question facing us all is: how can we emerge faster from crisis as stronger, connected energy societies? 

No crisis happens in a vacuum. A big picture perspective is the essential place to start.

We have entered a new era of energy transition - Energy for people, planet and prosperity.

Last October, at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, we highlighted new elements of this era: Connected challenges, which now include energy-cyber nexus; Customer-centricity, as value creation, is moving toward the end-user; Collaborative innovation imperative, which makes use of all technologies but is not technology centric.

To reflect these developments, we have added a fourth “D” – Disruption - to the three existing global drivers of Decarbonisation, Decentralisation and Digitalisation that we have been tracking for over a decade. Disruption anticipates the new demand side dynamics that are now driving choices about supply mix.

We left Congress with a new vision of Humanising Energy because the future of energy is going to be more demanding, literally!

Our new vision of Humanising Energy has rapidly come of age in this crisis. Covid reminds us that policy agendas, like human ambitions, are intertwined. In Energy’s case, it connects all agendas.

Today’s single-issue Energy fashion, and there have been many, is the so called “race to zero”. However, Energy does not lend itself to single-issue thinking and our societies need us to join the dots.

Over a decade ago we created the World Energy Trilemma Index to encourage countries to learn from each other about balancing energy security, affordability and equity, and environmental sustainability. 

We will publish our latest edition at World Energy Week LIVE next month and it includes new insights relating to the Top 10 Performers and Top-10 Improvers.

Covid has also taught us that individual behaviours can shift quickly and have lasting global outcomes. We have identified three key uncertainties - about trust, ambition and control of the virus – which are driving differences in actions of countries and companies.

We have developed post-crisis scenarios to 2024. And I am delighted to announce with you, Ministers, today’s launch of the world’s first World Energy Transition Radar.

The World Energy Transition Radar tracks real time signals from across the world and shows how recovery and transformation plans are starting to impact the speed and direction of global energy transition.

The current global snapshot highlights the growing weight of signals showing a human-centric recovery is taking centre stage. And clean energy vectors are gaining momentum.

Geographical comparison reveals very different perspectives. Each of you are on this map and we could have a long and interesting conversation about what the differences mean!

I look forward to supporting your discussions on “how to” inform investment options at this critical moment, when we introduce these new tools to you at World Energy Week LIVE! Please accept our invitation for the World Energy Leaders’ Summit on October 8th.

Let me be clear, we are working to inspire a next era of improvements in quality of life for all. We have to help societies understand that new models of human and economic development – digital, circular, clean, and just – will require more energy. I repeat more – more affordable and clean energy at least in the medium term.

Your excellencies, we must avoid an agenda that is pushed by elites and paid for by society, and especially the most vulnerable. Let's use our combined convening powers to open safe spaces for courageous conversations about ‘how to’ manage the full costs to societies.

What’s next?

Minister Novak from Russia will soon be telling us all more about the theme of World Energy Congress 2022, and for those listening there have been a few clues in my comments today.

I look forward to seeing many of you at World Energy Week in early October and at the World Energy Congress in St Petersburg in 2022.

We firmly believe it takes a whole energy community to build and transform an entire energy system.

On behalf of all of us in the World Energy Council, thank you.

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