Year end message 2017 for the World Energy Council

As the year draws to a close, I wanted to reflect on what has been a busy and fulfilling twelve months and to thank you personally for all of your much-appreciated involvement and enthusiasm for the Council’s activities in 2017, without which, none of this would be possible.

For the global energy leadership community, 2017 has been a fast-paced year with ongoing focus on the grand energy transition. While OPEC has managed to stabilise oil prices against a backdrop of potentially stranded resources and US shale as the fragile new swing producer, much of the power sector focus has been on a combination of post-Paris decarbonisation, demand electrification, network digitalisation and system decentralisation. New business models building on aggregators, platforms or blockchains have emerged capturing energy leaders’ imagination, while solar PV and electric storage prices have continued their fall. Not least, these developments have led to announcements showing growing ambition on the e-mobility side. Last but not least, extreme weather events in the Americas and beyond have illustrated the new reality of resilience requirements.


For the World Energy Council, 2017 has been an intense and productive year. We created much powerful content including a Scenarios deep-dive for the Latin America & Caribbean region; a Scenarios perspective exploring new business models in Mexico; a Scenarios perspective on the role of natural gas; our 2017 World Energy Trilemma Index and Report on decentralised energy systems and, an innovation whitepaper on the developing role of blockchains. Alongside, we also continued the expansion of our global network and successfully progressed through a major strategy review and restructure, with the aim of bringing greater coherence and impact to our activities.

Against the backdrop of the grand energy transition, our strategy activity has had to consider how the Council must evolve to ensure that we imagineer the future energy system and bring value to our members and stakeholders with the mission unchanged, to achieve sustainable energy for all. Our strategy review has enabled us to place even greater focus on our Scenarios, Trilemma, risks and, the innovation agenda. We will be evolving the way in which we engage members in our content, so that it is more timely and impactful, and complemented by a new suite of digital tools and platforms. And, we will expand our network to include the new players and innovators that have become increasingly important to the energy system.

I want to thank the many people who have continued to contribute their ideas and given their support on this important work, and I look forward to the involvement of many others as well as we move forward with implementation in 2018, where much remains to be done.


NEW VIDEO! WATCH the World Energy Council community talk about the Energy Transition and how we can explain, explore and adapt to this changing environment with our “Red Thread” approach.

For instance, next year we will deliver new interactive web-based tools for the Issues Monitor that will enable member committees to develop and publish their own maps. We also look forward to growing our innovation white paper series, which will draw from critical issues as identified by global energy leaders in our annual Issues Monitor to deliver the insights needed by business leaders, policymakers and investors on the important issues facing the energy system. I was particularly delighted that earlier this year we joined forces with the German Energy Agency’s (dena) energy innovators award network to create a premier global platform to promote innovation, and to reach out to entrepreneurs beyond the traditional energy sector. This partnership will help identify the world’s most promising innovation ventures, and make sure we work with leading innovators to systematically understand the scope, time frame and success factors of key innovation areas. To do all of this, we will be working with you to leverage the rich and diverse expertise that you bring to our network. I look forward to your contributions to these exciting programmes.



Our members and communities are at the heart of the Council and I was delighted that so many of you were able to meet and share opinions on the direction of the Council in Lisbon in October. I would like in particular to thank the Portuguese Member Committee for its wonderful hospitality of our World Energy Week, and its hosting of a vibrant and important gathering including the World Energy Leaders’ Summit which staged high-level dialogue on subjects such as decentralised generation and the changing role of natural gas, as well as a Future Energy Leaders’ Summit.


Our regional highlights this year include receiving support from the Asian Development Bank to develop a provincial Trilemma deep dive in China. We welcomed Mongolia as a new member committee and the Vietnam Green Energy Network joined as a direct member. In Latin America and the Caribbean, we expanded our member network into Panama and the Dominican Republic. In Europe, the Council was actively engaged in European Union energy debates presenting our Scenarios work at the European Commission in Brussels and at the EU Energy Ministerial Conference in Tallinn, Estonia. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also joined as a new member committee in October. The Council also signed an agreement with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), highlighting the importance of cooperation in promoting and planning activities for effective energy capacity use in Eurasia. Africa was very active in nurturing young energy professionals in the region, with Ghana successfully launching their Future Energy Leaders’ programme in August.


In September the World Energy Leaders’ Summit in Mexico hosted by the Mexican Ministry of Energy brought lively debate on issues including innovation, resilience, digitisation, and energy sector reform, as a major event of the Dialogues for the Future of Energy Mexico 2017. The Mexico summit also included the signing of an agreement with UNIDO to develop leadership skills and the capacity of energy leaders and policymakers from developing countries. Finally, our three member committees in North America organised an excellent North America Annual Regional Forum.

We were also delighted to continue our content partnerships with key platforms including the Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing, the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, the International Economic Forum of the Americas, the Conference of Parties (COP) in Bonn and the Sustainable Energy for All Process who all presented excellent opportunities to share Council insights and align to promote the Council’s mission.



As we embark on the road to the 2019 World Energy Congress, planning has already begun to bring a strong and exciting programme together to host our world energy community in Abu Dhabi. We welcome your continued input and collaboration to the content that will drive this agenda.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for your support and great work this past year. Without the support and commitment of our many members, partners, officers and of course staff, we would have found it challenging, if not impossible, to accomplish these achievements and I want to specifically highlight our project partners for their great contributions across the spectrum of our work. I look forward to your involvement in the many exciting activities planned for 2018.

Please note the office will be closed from 5pm 22 December and will reopen on 5 January 2018.

I wish all of you a happy festive season!

Christoph Frei, Secretary General, World Energy Council