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WEC24: Crucial role of government support explored in World Energy Congress 2019

Climate Change, responsibilities of the governments and Trilemma Index 2019 were main focus on the third day of the 24th World Energy Congress 2019.

Devdiscourse News Desk Abu Dhabi
Updated: 11-09-2019 22:15 IST
WEC24: Crucial role of government support explored in World Energy Congress 2019

A bird eye view of Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC) on the third day of the 24th World Energy Congress 2019 Image Credit: WEC24

The role of the energy industry in tackling climate change and creating a more inclusive society were among the key topics addressed as discussions between global experts and business leaders continued at the 24th World Energy Congress.

For the third consecutive day, delegates gathered at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) for more talks on reshaping the future of the energy industry. Based on the theme 'Inclusive prosperity: New policy imperatives', a range of high-level speakers over 15 sessions explored many of the questions and challenges that are to be resolved in delivering a successful energy transition.

How the government could play a better role

The day's opening plenary session focused on the role governments can play in solving today's energy and climate challenges and how they support and consensus of consumers and the public is essential to the successful transition to renewables. Taking part in the session titled 'Driving innovation: The role of governments in the future of energy' were Diego Mesa Puyo, Colombia's Vice Minister of Energy, Joao Galamba, Portugal's Secretary of State for Energy and Serge Colle, Partner, Global Power and Utilities Advisory Leader of EY.

Mr Galamba explained how Portugal is moving ahead with ambitious and long-term plans for a hugely diversified energy mix that cuts emissions while not impacting consumers. "It is easy to talk about saving the planet if you are comfortable, but if you have needs and are poor it is not a priority," he said. "Our challenge is to set clean energy goals that can be addressed by future and existing technology and that present a fair deal to consumers."

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Already one of the leading nations in the use of renewables, Mr. Galamba said Portugal wants to move from 60% renewables in its electrical systems to 80% by 2030 and from 30% of renewables in total energy consumption to 47% by 2050. "These goals are important, but what is more important is that we show to citizens this is an opportunity and not a threat that will lower their living standards or increase their costs, but rather the opposite," he said. He further added, "You cannot do this kind of policy with the people against you. A general consensus among the people and political parties, which we have in Portugal, is the way to go. This enables stability and promotes investment."

Mr Colle said governments are best placed to accelerate the transition to renewables by supporting innovation and the introduction of new technology, by engaging the consumer through economic processes that benefit them and by championing energy efficiency throughout the sector. He suggested, "Governments are crucial for sustainability and security of supply. If you think about where we are now in terms of the Paris Agreement and where we are heading, the challenges are bigger than ever before and the government is the only player that can help solve the problem,".

Cooperating on clean energy and tackling climate change

Dr. Matar Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Industry and Chairman of the World Energy Congress Organising Committee, welcomed delegates to a side event taking place on the third day of the congress.

Organised by the Clean Energy Ministerial, of which the UAE is member, Dr. Matar told delegates that energy innovation needs encouragement, it needs investment and it needs time to market. "Delivering sufficient power to meet demand while reducing emissions is an important topic, one we have heard about in many discussions in recent days as experts, analysts and policymakers shared ideas," said Dr. Matar. He further added, "It's not a one-size-fits-all solution, but we need to examine and understand the variety of approaches and work closely together to meet the bigger challenges,". Dr Matar explained that shifts in the energy industry are often described as disruptive but these changes are deliberate and desirable as the world looks to a sustainable future. This must be our destination.

"Here in the UAE, we have already begun the journey by embracing a healthy diversification of energy sources," said Dr. Matar. He further added, "The commitment is in place, the investment has been made and the political will of the UAE is driving an agenda to ensure sustainability and prosperity for all".

Delegates discuss environmental concerns at a key parallel session

On the third day of the World Energy Congress, the Parallel Session 'Energy, Water, Food: An ecosystem on the cusp', saw delegates discuss how rising populations, rapid urbanisation and economic growth are increasing the need for sustainable practices when it comes to water, food and energy.

Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of the Dutch city of Rotterdam, told attendees at the session, "Water is a friend and a big enemy at the same time, and we must treat water as a source of energy like how we do with oil." Rae Kwon Chung, Chairman of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee, said it is important for society to 'make peace with nature'. He further added, "Climate change is exasperating the negative cycle between water, energy and food. We must recognise the risk and threat of climate change as the world does not see it as a priority,". In his concluding note, Chung said, "We must create a win-win situation between the climate and economy where clean energy can create a sustainable society and ensure food security for all."

World Energy Council launches trilemma index

The World Energy Council, in partnership with global consultancy firm Oliver Wyman, unveiled a comprehensive report on the progress of almost 130 countries in developing policies for Energy Security, Equity and Environmental Sustainability.

Launched on the third day of the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, the 2019 World Energy Trilemma Index uses global and national data to provide an objective rating of national energy policy and performance.

New to this year's report is an analysis of historic trends, which gives policymakers an opportunity to track their policy performance over time. Comprehensive data and analytical insights are a necessary tool for policymakers to develop a coherent approach to the global energy future. Dr. Angela Wilkinson, Senior Director Scenarios and Business Insights, World Energy Council, said: "For the very first time, the World Energy Trilemma Index provides new insights into energy policy performance over time. "Every policymaker can and should use the Index as a unique and useful tool to establish their national baseline and explore how best to improve their energy policy performance,".

Young professionals also made their voices heard during the Future Energy Leaders Programme

A platform for the leaders of tomorrow to collaborate with their peers, the programme focused on the Market of Ideas, which incorporates a number of initiatives, events and projects that will help shape the future of the industry. It has become a key initiative for the World Energy Council, helping the young professionals to understand the importance of all energy sectors, address the world's most pressing challenges and deliver innovative projects.

For more news, views and interview, please visit Live Discourse.

(Siddheshwar Shukla and Neeraj Singh Mehta, Team Devdiscourse from Abu Dhabi)

COUNTRY : United Arab Emirates