Remarks to World Energy Week LIVE 2020 from Dr Angela Wilkinson, Secretary General and the CEO of the World Energy Council, on the launch of the 25th World Energy Congress theme 'Energy for Humanity'.
Editor's note: Since the publishing of this piece, it has been determined that it is not feasible for the 2022 World Energy Congress to be held in Russia. Additional information will be published to the Council's website as it becomes available.
Today, Minister Novak and I have launched the 25th World Energy Congress theme – Energy for Humanity. The Congress will be hosted by Russia in St Petersburg from 24-27 October 2022. The theme is important because it sets the global Energy agenda and gives new emphasis to the leadership discourse as we head to St Petersburg.
This theme – Energy for Humanity - reminds us of our leadership responsibility to meet the needs of billions of people and connected energy societies. It resonates with our World Energy Council Vision 2025 to Humanise Energy.
We often forget that energy is essentially a story about humanity. Human development has always been linked to energy transition; from fire, through fossil and fusion, and onto more energetic futures, imagined but not yet delivered. The evolution of energy has powered human development and social progress for millennia.
Energy is more than a sector, it is the ultimate connector of hopes and fears, of peoples and geographies.
The 25th World Energy Congress in St Petersburg, will mark the 100th anniversary of our worldwide energy community. For nearly a century we have worked to inspire, inform and impact actions that secure the benefits of more and modern energy for all.
During the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi last October, we discussed how the world has entered a new era of energy transition.
When we formed in 1923 - just after a global flu pandemic and just before the Great Depression, our pragmatic focus was on energy for peace.
In the midst of the ongoing global health emergency, we remain pragmatic in delivering energy transition for people, planet and prosperity. The ways in which energy is being used, traded, transported and produced are changing faster than ever before. Value creation - where the real power to change lies - is continuing to move closer to the end user, the digitally empowered customer.
A new leadership mindset has emerged - a shift from supply-side thinking to demand driven solutions. This means customers - or end users - are increasingly setting the agenda. We've seen the same in digital technology where our personal, very individual, needs are driving the shape and nature of the smart device that we keep with us all the time.
Our World Energy Council vision to Humanise Energy has rapidly come of age in this crisis and, once again, our world energy community has pulled together. The events of this World Energy Week have shown us how technology can help pull our whole community together in quality exchange and forge new connections and collaborations.
Looking ahead, new models of human and economic development – digital, circular, clean and just – will require more energy as humanity strives for climate neutrality and greater ambitions. To really secure the future of the human race, we will need the open and balanced approach to managing energy transition which is the hallmark of the World Energy Council.
For a century we have been fully independent and impartial and as Secretary General I have no intention or desire to change this successful World Energy Council tradition.
The COVID-19 crisis has had a brutal impact on our industry. Recovery is not easy and it will only be possible with vibrant and integrated response. As a collaborative and innovative community, we can convene and catalyse the co-operation between energy and all sectors of society to deliver more reliable and affordable energy and less carbon.
In St Petersburg in 2022, we will reconvene quite simply as world energy community. We will reflect on our actions to humanise energy and our role in helping societies emerge stronger and together from this crisis. We will have honest, down to earth conversations about our role in building and transforming energy systems across the world.
At the St Petersburg World Energy Congress in 2022 we will reaffirm our ongoing responsibility to inspire, inform and impact the quality of life for everyone and generations to come. Let me quote Minister Novak from a press release about the theme launch: “The underlying theme selected for the World Energy Congress unites the global energy sector and all its stakeholders bringing us closer, instilling confidence in finding appropriate solutions and a long-term balance”.
The journey to St Petersburg will create pathways which meet the challenges of more energy and climate neutrality in a new context of affordability and social justice. We can leverage our core principles of neutrality, independence and pragmatism to move beyond regional agendas and work with realistic hope in the face of fear of the unknown coupled with disruption.
I am certain that our community-wide capacity for meaningful discussions in the spirit of mutual respect and understanding will contribute real progress that we can celebrate together as we mark the 100th anniversary of the world energy community.
The St Petersburg World Energy Congress in 2022 on the theme of Energy for Humanity is the one event none of us should miss.
The remarks from Dr Wilkinson followed a one-on-one interview with HE Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy for the Russian Federation. That session can be viewed below.