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Sustainable energy future

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to a new report launched by the World Energy Council (WEC), the global energy industry must play a greater role in the transition to sustainable energy systems if UN development goals are to be met. The potential of billion of people benefitting from sustainable energy systems in future decades hangs in the balance without increased private sector support the report says.

Report details

The report called ‘Time to get real – the case for sustainable energy investment’ is WEC’s 2013 World Energy Trilemma report and was produced by Oliver Wyman, a management consulting firm. The report content and findings are based on interviews with more than 50 policymakers, including energy and environment ministers, leaders in development banks, governments, IGOs and NGOs, plus experts from more than 25 countries.

Concern was expressed that the lack of global consensus on climate change and a future energy system framework, coupled with dramatic disruptions caused by emerging technologies and rapidly shifting patterns of energy use and supply, make it difficult to develop and implement long term energy policies. This results in increased risk for industry and investors, which must be addressed if the much needed energy transition is to be delivered in the future.

The report also comments on the results from the 2013 Energy Sustainability Index. This is the world’s most comprehensive ranking of countries energy policies and evaluates how well 129 countries balance the three conflicting agendas involved in achieving energy sustainability, what the WEC has called the energy trilemma; energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability.

The Index shows that developed countries with higher shares of energy coming from low and zero carbon energy sources supported by well established energy efficiency programmes, such as Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden, outperform most countries across all three dimensions of the energy trilemma. Nevertheless, it is clear that all countries still struggle to balance all three aspects of the trilemma’s currently conflicting agendas. Only 5 countries in the top 10 have been awarded a top score.

Comments on the report findings

‘I am encouraged that there appears to be a growing consensus among both industry and policymakers on the nature of the challenge and what needs to be done. The next vital stage in this dialogue will be our World Energy Congress, to be held in just three weeks time in Daegu, Korea. There we will work towards a shared vision and smart, pragmatic solutions to securing a sustainable energy future,’ said WEC Chairman, Pierre Gadonneix.

‘If countries are to improve the sustainability of their energy systems, they must continue to work hard at identifying and successfully implementing balanced and forward looking policies. A more sophisticated and proactive partnership with the private sector is also necessary to drive the higher level of energy investment now required. For its part, the private sector needs to better understand how policy is made and how to contribute to it more effectively. It should also be more proactive in helping to build informed consensus that moves us away from ad hoc approaches dominated by debate about short term costs,’ said Joan MacNaughton, Executive Chair of the World Energy Council.

Sustainable energy recommendations

  • Be more proactive in improving energy policies.
  • Be less risk adverse regarding energy investments.
  • Help developing countries chart a new energy course.

Edited from a press release by Claira Lloyd.

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