Inaugural Speech by New Council Chair

26th September 2019

News Article24th CongressEvents

New Council Chair, Jean-Marie Dauger, gives inaugural speech during 24th World Energy Congress closing ceremony

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Colleagues and Friends,

On behalf of the World Energy Council, its Board and its members, I would like to thank all those who contributed to making this 24th edition of the World Energy Congress a unique and truly formidable experience:

The President and Government of the United Arab Emirates, the Ministry of Energy and Industry, the Congress Organising Committee, and all those who were involved directly or indirectly in making this event a great success.

Under the theme “Energy for Prosperity” energy ministers, CEOs, high-level energy experts, financiers, innovators and future energy leaders came together to discuss transformational energy transition pathways. Pathways, that offer new business opportunities while enriching the lives of all people on the planet and enabling all societies to flourish.

Over the last 20 years, most countries have seen some form of overall improvement in performance in managing the so-called ‘energy trilemma’ of energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability. But huge gaps remain.

As we set to leave this wonderful country, allow me to say a few words of reflection about the Congress.

The first point I would like to make is that power is shifting along the energy value chain to data-empowered consumers, including energy prosumers.

Innovation in energy transition is increasingly being driven from adjacent sectors, especially transport.

A more connected and environmentally aware global population, the new spirit of entrepreneurialism, and the rise of disruptive digitalisation are driving changes in the way we produce, trade, and consume energy at an unprecedented pace.

To achieve the targets set, we must further increase the pace of change. At the same time, we must remember that our targets may not be in line with the capacity of people to change their behaviour in order to avoid creating inequality.

The second point I would like to make is that avoiding climate crisis remains challenging.

Not all energy needs and uses can be electrified. Heat, power, gas and liquid fuels will be needed for decades to come. Deeper decarbonisation strategies are required to reach hard-to-electrify sectors of the economy.

There is no ‘one-size’ fits all solution. There is no room for complacency or for prejudice against one source of energy over another.

We need to adopt a healthy mix of technologies, if we want to mitigate the impact of climate change and secure affordable and deeper decarbonisation.

And lastly, we need to recognize that fragmented leadership poses one of the biggest challenges to finding solutions in an effective way and reaching our targets.

The geopolitics of oil and gas may gradually soften, but risks are broadening to include technology and data.

If we are to achieve an environmentally timely, affordable, and equitable transition and enable better policy choices, meet the Paris agreement and achieve basic access for all, collaborative innovation and cross-sector leadership are essential.

And despite the new spirit of entrepreneurialism in energy, we should not overlook the role of incumbent innovators.

In this new world of fragmented leadership, the role of the World Energy Council is more important than ever.

As a neutral platform for dialogue and collaboration, as a place to openly share ideas, experiences and discuss solutions, we bring together governments, private and public corporations, energy consumers and energy producers, multilateral agencies and academics.

We all sit together at the same table, united by a joint understanding of the challenges, a common vision and the goal to deliver sustainable prosperity for the benefit of all people. And while we still have a long way to go, I am confident, that we can overcome these challenges together.

I would like to thank Christoph Frei who served as the World Energy Council’s Secretary General for a decade, with enthusiasm, inspiration and creativity.

As from 1st of November, Angela Wilkinson, the first woman to take on the management of our organisation in its almost 100-year history, will take charge of the management of the World Energy Council.We look forward to working with you Angela as we continue this important journey of promoting sustainable energy for the benefit of all people.

As I close, I would like to thank Younghoon David Kim, who steps down as Chair of the World Energy Council today for his long contribution to the Council until today.

Ladies and gentlemen:
The World Energy Congress 2019 has been a great success.

Once again, I want to thank our hosts, and all those who have worked night and day to make this happen and who have made us feel so welcome.

I want to thank you for taking part in the dialogue and discussions over the past for days and I look forward to meeting you all again in St. Petersburg in 2022.

Thank you very much.

Jeam-Marie Dauger
Chair, World Energy Council

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