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Categorized | Analysis, Energy and water

Energy meets strategy

With over 30,000 attendees from 172 countries across the world, the largest World Energy Future Summit (WFES) ran for three days from January 20 this year at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Now in its fourth edition, the event is an absolute must-attend for professionals in the field of sustainability and energy efficiency. Lorraine Bangera reports

“WFES is where leaders come to talk and collaborate: world leaders, business leaders, thought leaders. They will all be at WFES to share their personal perspectives and inspirational stories, and offer real world solutions,” said Naji Haddad, show director for the summit.

Thought-provoking speeches were delivered by over 120 experts on topics such as the role of natural gas, energy efficiency, the need to better utilise readily available technologies, the changing dynamics of consumer behaviour and for the first time, waste-to-energy.

Among those speaking at WFES was Jos Verbeek, Lead Economist at the World Bank, who emphasised the importance of green energy. He said: “People are flocking to cities like never before in human history. With over 80% of global goods and services being produced in cities, urban areas have been spectacular in improving people’s livelihoods and in reducing poverty. However, to maintain that momentum, reliable and affordable green energy is a must and is one of the biggest challenges urban centres face going forward.”

Eicke Weber director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy, was among many who were impressed by this year’s conference. She applauded the initiative of Abu Dhabi in bringing the issues of water and energy together during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, and highlighted returning confidence in the global solar panel industry as demand catches up with supply.

New and expanded exhibition features at WFES this year included the Project & Finance Village, showcasing more than 20 renewable energy projects from the region and beyond; the Sustainable Living Expo, including an actual-size home and hotel suite prototype displaying energy and water efficient products; and the Green Careers Fair, promoting employment opportunities and providing career advice and guidance in the renewable energies and sustainability sector.

Thirsty Energy

At the final conference of WFES and International Water Summit, the World Bank launched its Thirsty Energy initiative, a global campaign to encourage best practice in addressing water and energy challenges and to encourage more involvement from the private sector.

It is estimated that by 2035, global energy consumption will increase by 50%, while water consumption by the energy sector will increase by 85%. In addition, climate change will further challenge water and energy management by causing more water variability and intensified weather events, such as severe floods and droughts. With more than 780 million people lack access to potable water, and over 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity, this initiative will help cope with climate change, and water and energy management.

“The long term future of energy and water is fundamental to addressing poverty,” said William Rex, lead water resources specialist at the World Bank’s Water Unit, adding that it was time “to move from insights to action”.

Thirsty Energy is a global initiative designed to help governments prepare for an uncertain future by breaking disciplinary silos that prevent cross-sectoral planning. The initiative will support more integrated energy-water planning, as well as quantify and measure trade-offs and synergies between water and energy resource management.

 

STATE OF ENERGY REPORT 2015

At WFES, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence have announced the next edition of the State of Energy Report will be launching soon this year.The upcoming report will be a UAE edition, unlike the previous edition which focussed on Dubai.

Ivano Iannelli, CEO of DSCE, said: “We started with Dubai because it was our first edition and it was managerially possible, but this year we are going to have a UAE edition which will cover all the emirates. We also aim to become a global edition by the year 2020.”

The report is essential in this region according to Iannelli, who tells BGreen: “The main issue here is the lack of knowledge about green economy or low carbon economy. The State of Energy Report will help transfer knowledge in a tangible way. It creates a platform where knowledge is shared across similar entities in a way that can be replicated, and from where we can develop success stories from a Middle Eastern standpoint.

“The reason this is so relevant is because, we are so habituated to reading success stories from Europe and America. But you never hear about our successes even though we do have a lot of stories. In one of our delegation meetings with the United Nations, we expressed how much effort we take in energy saving only to realise the delegates from UN have never heard about us. Which is why this platform is so important. “

Simply put, “why does an Arab country have to look for knowledge in Europe, when all you need to know is available in this region?”

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