FEL-100 initiatives

In addition to contributing to World Energy Council’s flagship study groups, the FEL develop their own series of ongoing initiatives:

The Future Energy Leaders’ Issues Monitor – What keeps future leaders awake at night?

An essential tool assessing the uncertainty, urgency and impact of critical issues in the future energy landscape, the Future Energy Leaders’ Issues Monitor provides a unique comparative insight into the outlook of current and future leaders within the energy sector.

What keeps Future Energy Leaders awake at night in 2017?

On October 13th, 2016 a group of young, talented and ambitious energy sector professionals declared their vision for the future of global energy, outlining their priorities and agenda items at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul. It is remarkable in that the context of the declaration was set by two crucial issues of the energy domain: one, an enduring legacy issue of price volatility, particularly of crude oil, and the other, representative of inevitable structural shift in the energy world, the growing relevance of renewable energy in mainstream discussions on energy. This next generation of Future Energy Leaders (FELs), equipped with knowledge and talents, is ready to rise up to the energy challenges and lead the transition by creating sustainable solutions that would shape the future energy landscape.

Compare the FEL-100 map with other maps available in the data section.

How to read the Issues Monitor

  • Issues with high uncertainty and high impact (“critical uncertainties” – in the upper right corner) include these, which will most benefit from multi-stakeholder dialogue and scenario analysis.
  • The issues on the high-impact/low uncertainty side are these where immediate action finds easy consensus (“need for action” – bottom right).
  • The low impact/low uncertainty ones include issues of perceived lesser importance but also “weak signals” (bottom left), which may be issues that are still badly understood.
  • The urgency of an issue is proportional to the size of its bubble.

Analysis

Commodity prices have maintained their position as the monitor’s most critical uncertainty, mirrored in the global monitor as well. Over the past two and a half years, energy headlines across the world were largely dominated by the prolonged slump in crude oil prices – a net effect of the surge in world liquids production led by US shale oil and the weakening demand in China, the primary contributor to energy demand growth over the past decade, as it restructured its economic growth objectives. This was further compounded by the slowdown or the relative lack of pace in recovery in the major advanced economies in the world such as Japan and the Eurozone. Once the price slide set, it was then sustained by the late-2014 OPEC decision to change its group strategy from one of price support to one of market protection with no caps in individual member supplies.Although this has changed in recent times with a the late-2016 understanding between OPEC and non-OPEC producers on curtailing output, marking another change in priorities, the current price recovery is still far from sustainable as most of the underlying fundamentals have not undergone any major change.

Energy efficiency slightly reduces its uncertainty and gains more impact higher than that of the global monitor in comparison with the previous year, leading the action priorities in the FELs issues monitor. This is reflective of the FELs’ viewpoint that energy efficiency is, indeed, the ‘fifth’ fuel (behind oil, gas, coal and renewables) and is among the most essential elements when it comes to framing a sustainable energy framework for the future with its emphasis on waste reduction, mitigation of the environmental costs of energy production as well as consumption., cost savings and process optimization. By placing greater importance to energy efficiency, the FELs issues monitor also caters to the need for ensuring greater availability of energy for wider access and more energy independence. Furthermore, in importing countries like China and India where demand outweighs indigenous supply by a huge margin, energy efficiency can potentially become a critical mandate for sovereign policy making as well.

Renewable Energy and energy subsidies retain their previous year’s position among action priorities in this edition of FELs’ issues monitor as well as in the global monitor. Renewables, especially solar and wind, have become cost-competitive with fossil fuels in recent years. To accomplish climate targets and to build sustainable energy systems, FELs’ emphasis on according a greater importance to the development of renewables within the energy mix is a clear statement of priorities to policy makers worldwide and forces them to reassess other important issues like fossil fuel subsidies and continued investments in capital-intensive fossil fuel projects.

In this current issues monitor,electricity prices slightly reduces its uncertainty and gains more impact, forming one of the action priorities, resembling its position in the global monitor. The continuous decrease in renewable energy-based power generation costs across the globe can be assumed to have contributed to the decrease in uncertainty while strengthening the case for greater efficiencies in the legacy systems and incorporation of more non-fossil fuel based generation into the grid.

On the contrary, regional integration has declined its impact and escalated its uncertainty, thus moving from being one of the action priorities to one of the critical uncertainties to the FEL community, similar to the global monitor. FELs understand the importance of this issue to boost the exchange of energy at a regional level in order to ensure secure flow of energy and economic growth.  FELs believe that such integration ought to be facilitated and there is need for measures to be set and mechanisms to be realized. This is of special significance in light of recent developments in the global political and economic landscape marked by the rise of nationalistic tendencies in sovereign policymaking and diplomacy, skepticism towards free trade deals and regional trade partnerships and rise of a protectionist domestic market in exchange of a connected global marketplace. Brexit, election of Donald Trump as US President and strong emergence of right-wing politics in Western Europe are some of the examples that are a pointer to this trend.

Market design continues to be one of the critical uncertainties in the FELs agendas with a lesser impact than the prior year but with a higher impact than the global monitor. In the FEL’s vision, to embrace new frontiers, FELs urge the need to adopt new business models by means of modern technology and innovation, implementation of right policies and greater collaboration/engagement with customers.

In the FELs issues monitor, electrical storage takes over the place of geopolitical issues (US policy, China and India). Electrical storage is perceived as an issue with higher uncertainty and an increased impact to be placed as a critical uncertainty. FEL community believes that in order to realize the full potential of intermittency of renewables, effective energy storage systems must be developed.

Talent is an issue of focus for FELs in 2017 as they believe it has a great impact. The FELs vision places emphasis on its significance by inviting organizations and companies to provide an opportunity to enthusiastic, young energy professionals to engage and innovate.

Climate framework moves from its position of critical uncertainty in the global monitor to almost an action priority in the FELs issues monitor as the community believes that climate change is an undeniable fact and urgent actions and commitments are required to address its adverse impacts. The signing of the Global Climate Change agreement at COP 21 in Paris in December 2015 and its subsequent ratification and coming into force in 2016 is ample proof of the global consensus on the need for effective and concerted action/collaboration towards managing climate change.

Other issues that have experienced a movement towards a lower impact are coal and nuclear. It is evident today that coal is being gradually replaced by natural gas in many power plants in various parts of the world due to its indisputable adverse impacts on atmospheric air quality and contribution to global warming.  Nuclear, despite the fact that it does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, evokes high level of environmental concerns due to perceived safety issues and lack of adequate public awareness which affects the support it garners in the wider community.

What keeps Future Energy Leaders awake at night in 2016?

Future Energy Leaders (FEL) have created their own World Energy Issues Monitor 2016.

The World Energy Issues Monitor provides an annual assessment of the issues impacting the global and regional energy sector based on the views of the Council’s energy leadership community. The maps identify the key uncertainties while highlighting the areas where action is most required to enable the sustainable supply and use of energy.

Compare the FEL-100 map with other maps available in the data section.

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How to read the Issues Monitor

  • Issues with high uncertainty and high impact (“critical uncertainties” – in the upper right corner) include these, which will most benefit from multi-stakeholder dialogue and scenario analysis.
  • The issues on the high-impact/low uncertainty side are these where immediate action finds easy consensus (“need for action” – bottom right).
  • The low impact/low uncertainty ones include issues of perceived lesser importance but also “weak signals” (bottom left), which may be issues that are still badly understood.
  • The urgency of an issue is proportional to the size of its bubble.

Analysis

The Future Energy Leaders’ (FEL) issues monitor reflects the influence of both global and local events which have been spotlighted in the international energy agenda. It may explain the great similarities with the global monitor. The position of commodity prices is a clear example of this resemblance. It has experienced an important growth in all the three dimensions this year: impact, uncertainty and urgency, becoming the monitor’s top critical uncertainty. The oil price falling is one of the main drivers for this movement, triggered by a weak demand in many countries due to a lower economic growth and a higher development of energy efficiency measures, coupled with surging non-OPEC countries production. Additionally, it may reveal the oversupply and low price of coal as well as the enhancement of conventional energy resources in the electricity mix. Renewable energies and energy efficiency remain as top need for action priorities in the FEL’s agenda, as well as in the Global monitor. FEL’s urge current energy leaders to reinforce the international commitment to move towards a low-carbon energy model and to boost energy efficiency as a key element to enhance growth, sustainability and decrease each country’s energy dependence rate. Energy subsidies has moved towards a higher impact area over the last period, echoing the FEL’s concern about phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies in order to support the implementation of more sustainable measures and the development of renewable energies. Market design and electric storage are still top priorities in this edition with a high uncertainty degree for the FEL Community. It might reflect the attention of the young professionals to innovative policies and further technology development which enable a higher renewable energy share. There is a cluster of energy geopolitics and regional issues placed as critical uncertainties that reveal the FEL’s concern for including them in the energy leader’s agenda. China/India has increased its uncertainty and decreased on impact. The recent slowdown in China’s energy consumption or the Indian government’s announcement about increasing coal production and gradually decreasing its imports on this resource might help to understand this movement. Nevertheless, the huge energy consumption of both countries is definitely leading future forecasts and it will play an important role on commodity prices. US Policy is also perceived as a critical uncertainty. The potential lift to the U.S. ban on exporting crude oil or the strengthening of the USD and its influence on changes in oil prices may be evidences of this viewpoint.

Regional Interconnection has emphasised its impact’s perception over the period, aligned with its position on the world’s monitor. International cooperation is understood to be absolutely required to ensure the security of supply under precarious conditions and to serve as the basis of a solid regional energy market.

Climate framework maintains a prominent position in terms of impact, similar to the World‘s awareness, having reduced the uncertainty’s perception regarding last year’s monitor. The COP21 was expected to be a crucial milestone in order to search for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol as a universal and legally binding climate agreement. A solution to the current global warming and the emission of greenhouse gases must be on the top of the list of current leader’s agenda.

Other issues that have experienced a larger movement towards a higher impact area over the last period have been corruption and talent. Regarding this last one, its position on the FEL map reflects the international attention over the energy sector to attract and retain both young and senior talent in order to fulfil the requirements of the energy trilemma.

In the weak signals area, the FEL’s monitor shows several coincidences with the world one. Biofuels and land use are both placed in this zone. FELs understand that low oil prices decrease biofuels competitiveness, for example on the transportation sector, and it also has a certain nexus with land use in terms of agricultural services.

What keeps Future Energy Leaders awake at night in 2015?

Future Energy Leaders (FEL) have created their own World Energy Issues Monitor 2015.

The World Energy Issues Monitor provides an annual assessment of the issues impacting the global and regional energy sector based on the views of the Council’s energy leadership community. The maps identify the key uncertainties while highlighting the areas where action is most required to enable the sustainable supply and use of energy.

Compare the FEL-100 map with other maps available in the data section.

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How to read the Issues Monitor

  • Issues with high uncertainty and high impact (“critical uncertainties” – in the upper right corner) include these, which will most benefit from multi-stakeholder dialogue and scenario analysis.
  • The issues on the high-impact/low uncertainty side are these where immediate action finds easy consensus (“need for action” – bottom right).
  • The low impact/low uncertainty ones include issues of perceived lesser importance but also “weak signals” (bottom left), which may be issues that are still badly understood.
  • The urgency of an issue is proportional to the size of its bubble.

Analysis

In line with rising geopolitical instability, the Council’s Future Energy Leaders (FEL) emphasised the recent tension between Russia and Ukraine as well as the Middle East Dynamics as critical uncertainties which could disrupt energy supply (Figure 47). These issues strike a contrast with the FEL analysis conducted in previous periods, as well as from the current world community view. On the demand side, the constant rise of India and China continue to be a major concern for both the FEL and greater world community. FEL put significant emphasis on a stable geopolitical environment, which they view as crucial to tackle energy-specific challenges.

Year after year, the FEL-100 Issues Monitor emphasises a higher degree of importance on sustainability and climate change than the world community. Not surprisingly, the climate framework, a proxy that consolidates multiple global efforts to reduce pollutants, remains one of the primary uncertainties. The perceived lack of collective commitment and international cooperation and the difficulty of establishing comparability and equivalence in heterogeneous policy frameworks contribute to this uncertainty.

The FEL survey also puts greater emphasis than its global counterpart on related sustainability issues such as the energy-water-food nexus. It thus comes as a surprise that extreme weather events, generally believed to be partly a consequence of climate change, is seen as having a much lower impact by the FEL. In terms of consistent priorities, FEL pay much attention to advancements in electric storage that may have an outsized impact on the transition to a renewable and decentralised energy system. As storage technologies mature, variable electricity production can be smoothed and electric vehicles will become increasingly competitive. However, the development of such technologies will likely be accelerated only with the adoption of specific innovative energy regulation – an inter-connected issue that FEL see as critical.

Energy prices remain a high-uncertainty issue for both the FEL and world community. They dictate access and affordability whilst strongly influencing the development and implementation of renewables and energy efficient systems, two other high impact-issues. Surprisingly, FEL put less emphasis than the broader pool of global leaders on the challenges of volatile commodity prices and the effects of the global recession that may contribute to issues of energy poverty and inadequate energy access.

In what is probably a testament to the passion of youth, the FEL-100 Issues Monitor is consistently more polarised than that of the broader community, with issues being cast more readily to the edges of the chart. In conclusion, FEL call on young and senior energy leaders alike to address these critical issues on the road to a sustainable, inclusive, affordable and resilient energy system in the 21st century.

What keeps Future Energy Leaders awake at night in 2014?

FEL have created their own World Energy Issues Monitor map 2014.

Discover the FEL map below and compare its outcomes with other maps available in the data section.

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How to read the Issues Monitor Map

  • Issues with high uncertainty and high impact (“critical uncertainties” – in the upper right corner) include these, which will most benefit from multi-stakeholder dialogue and scenario analysis.
  • The issues on the high-impact/low uncertainty side are these where immediate action finds easy consensus (“need for action” – bottom right).
  • The low impact/low uncertainty ones include issues of perceived lesser importance but also “weak signals” (bottom left), which may be issues that are still badly understood.
  • The urgency of an issue is proportional to the size of its bubble.

Analysis

The climate framework and mitigating the negative impact of climate change are among the most critical uncertainties for the Future Energy Leader (FEL) community. This is unsurprising given the insolvency of on-going debates around a new “Kyoto” agreement and the lack of collective commitment from countries to address and tackle climate change issues. Future Energy Leaders pay much attention to the development of unconventional energy resources, renewables, and electric storage technologies. The development of these innovative technologies can be expensive and time consuming however; so there is some doubt as to whether they will ever replace conventional resources altogether and meet growing energy demands of the future. Future Energy Leaders place importance on global macroeconomic factors, the rise of energy prices and commodity prices that directly impact development of the energy industry.

The FEL perspective shares a number of parallels with that of the Global Energy Leader. Both communities consider climate framework to be a fundamental global uncertainty. Fluctuating energy prices and the global recession are other key instabilities that jeopardise development of the energy sector and feature in both maps. High growth rates in China and India have increased the demand for energy in the region which will significantly impact the global energy industry. The advent of unconventional resources such as shale oil & shale gas highlights the need for future investment in energy efficient technologies.

Future Energy Leaders identify unconventional, renewables and energy storage technologies as critical issues and should therefore be understood as key drivers for the future. The Future Energy Leaders’ outlook suggests that immediate investment into energy efficient and energy saving technologies is necessary. Recognising and acknowledging such technologies as energy sources of the future will enable global populations to use energy effectively and provide consumers with a reliable, future energy supply at an affordable rate.

The Future Energy Leaders’ Taskforces

The Future Energy Leaders’ (FEL) taskforces form an integral part of the programme as they shape the development of the FEL community and provide unique opportunities for international cooperation.

The Future Energy Leaders’ Taskforces

During the FEL-100 Congress held in Istanbul, Turkey, the taskforces were given time to host their own workshop for taskforce members as well as a small number of selected young professionals. The workshops were defined by each taskforce individually in order to suit its needs. The sessions bolstered the taskforce projects and strengthened the group’s connectivity. The following taskforces participated in the workshop sessions:

 1. CLIMATE CHANGE: ‘Necessary Actions at the Multilateral Level’

The Paris Agreements and COP 21 Decision under the UNFCCC will have a significant impact on the World energy system. Throughout 2016, the taskforce focused on generating intelligence for established work streams within the Council in order to facilitate the incorporation of the latest science regarding the impacts of climate change. At the same time, they also incorporated information related to the Paris Agreements and in particular the role of National Determined Contributions (NDCs) for national and international decision making. The taskforce built on the COP21 outcomes which will require countries and corporations to streamline climate concerns in national debates, and developed the report The Role of the Paris Agreement and National Determined Contributions on shaping energy markets. Here the perspective of the World Energy Council should positively contribute to the development of sound policy and market frameworks that address not only the GHG sustainability perspective, but also that of affordability and security of energy supply. 

2. DIGITALISATION: ‘Impact of Digitalisation on the Energy Industry’

Digital technologies have contributed to increased production, profit margins and cost reduction across the entire energy industry. New technologies such as smart grid, distributed generation and storage technologies will add complexity and increase the risk of cyber threats to the network. Undoubtedly, this will in turn create uncertainty within the energy industry. The taskforce will therefore focus its study on how digitalisation is impacting the energy industry. It will address and assess what digitalisation means for the energy industry through the quantification of its impact and identification of the new business models and companies arising from the digital revolution.

3. HUMAN CAPITAL: ‘Equity and Skilled Personnel for Current and Future Energy Developments’

The term Human Capital can be defined as “The skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by an individual or population, viewed in terms of their value or cost to an organization or country”. The concept has evolved to include multiple issues related to attracting, developing and retaining the right people to solve today’s complex problems. Although there is evidence of progress in the energy sector regarding human resources management, there are a significant number of gaps that still remain and which have a global impact. The taskforce will study current practices and identify future actions needed for countries and organizations to secure the required workforce for the international energy industry. Specifically, topics within four key areas will be examined: Talent, Diversity, Skills Mismatch, and Social Perception. The Human Capital Taskforce Report presents work carried out to understand current critical issues impacting the attraction, development and retention of talent in the energy sector, and to develop a strategic approach to ensure that a sufficiently capable workforce is available to tackle the existing and emerging challenges in the energy sector.

4. ENERGY EFFICIENCY: ‘Demand Response and Prosumer (Producer/Consumer)’

Energy efficiency is widely seen as a central piece of the solution in creating a future sustainable energy system. This taskforce will study demand response and prosumer and the potential impact on energy efficiency following the implementation of these concepts. In particular, it will analyse the role of ICT in energy efficiency management by reviewing existing implementation and adaptation of efficiency concepts. In doing so, it will investigate future potential both in terms of magnitude and geographical spread.

5. ENERGY ACCESS: ‘Strategies for a Sustainable Energy-Waterfood Nexus’

Water and food cannot be separated from sustainable energy development and many alternative energy sources, such as biofuel, affect water and food security. This taskforce will therefore study existing targets and practices, particularly in Asia and Africa (potentially also Latin America), and the continued maintenance of sustainable water and food resources. Understanding the challenge and the trade-offs between water, energy and food as pillars for development will be the subject of this taskforce. 

6. ENERGY ECONOMICS: ‘Low Oil Pricing – New Energy Empires and Energy Company Restructuring’

In recent years, oil price volatility has presented big challenges for energy companies. These include; high leverage (financial and operational), pressure throughout the supply chain, projects delayed or cancelled and sharp reduction on rates and utilisation. This taskforce aims to understand linkage between oil prices and company restructuring processes. At the same time, the taskforce will look at innovative strategies of restructuring and incorporating opportunities for sustainable practices.

7. WORLD ENERGY TRILEMMA

The taskforce will look into decentralised generation and how that is influencing existing electricity systems (mostly centralised systems). Some topics to explore include: 1) Develop archetypes of electricity systems, 2) Identify the strengths and weaknesses of these archetypes (Trilemma aspects, resilience, financing, business models etc.) & 3) Identify pathways for development, e.g. how do you move from the current electricity system you have now to a model that you would like to have.

Previous Projects

FEL DEVELOPMENT: ‘Scaling up Global and National Programmes’

The sustainability of the World Energy Council and its national member committees, as well as the development and growth of the international Future Energy Leaders (FEL) community, depends on the continuous involvement of young professionals. Developing strong national FEL teams in each country will help achieve this goal and strengthen existing links and continuity with the global FEL-100 programme. Ten member committees have already developed their own national FEL programme and others are planning to do so in the near future. Despite this progress however, a number of committees still lack information about the process, structure and time that the process of developing a national FEL programme requires. The FEL Development Taskforce therefore acts as an ‘’advisory board’’ to support member committees interested in developing a national FEL programme. To do so the taskforce provides a National FEL Guidance document or ‘manual’ which shares best practices and advice on how to implement and develop national FEL programmes.