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The future of energy after COVID-19: World Energy Council discusses key avenues for development

The ‘COVID-19: Accelerating a Better Energy Future for All’ online conference took place on 17 June, marking the launch of the Road to Congress 2022 online event series. Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak and Secretary General and CEO of the World Energy Council Angela Wilkinson were joined by leading experts in the energy sector to discuss their vision of the transition to a ‘new normal’ after the crisis. The conference was organized by the Roscongress Foundation and the World Energy Council with the support of the Global Energy Association and Rosseti.

Whether in terms of falling energy demand, low oil prices, delays in payments, reduced capital spending or, at the same time, improved environmental conditions, COVID-19 has become a significant stressor for the global energy sector, its consequences still uncertain. The possible scenarios for the flexible adaptation of the sector to a new, post-crisis ‘normal’ formed the main topic of discussion at the online conference.

Director General of Rosseti Pavel Livinsky, Managing Director and Global Head of Commodity Strategy, Global Research at RBC Capital Markets Helima Croft, and Member of the Management Board of E.ON and CEO of Innogy Leonhard Birnbaum participated in the discussion alongside Alexander Novak and Angela Wilkinson. President of the Global Energy Association Sergey Brilev moderated the event.

Even though the crisis is not over yet, we can already come to certain conclusions. Global economy faced an unprecedented shock, unpredictable market behaviour, changes to the very fabric of everyday life. With main economic indices going down by 5%, the energy industry was bound to feel the effect. In April we saw the demand for oil products decrease by 28–30%. However, the industry stayed intact. Production of electricity, high-quality oil products, coal – nothing was interrupted,” said Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak.

Minister also noted that the future structure of the energy industry is bound to change, thus the current forecasts will have to be changed accordingly. For instance, the share of hydrocarbon energy was expected to go down to 75% by 2040 from the current 85%. Yet now it is clear that this rate will be lower. According to Alexander Novak, an implosion in IT, digital systems and cloud technologies is imminent and it will without a doubt impact the energy industry.
The key issues the speakers focused on during the ‘COVID-19: Accelerating a Better Energy Future for All’ online conference included the system’s ability to respond to crises of this kind, the possibility of achieving energy balance, the cost of producing traditional and renewable energy, and the centralization of energy networks.

“We are soon going to witness the largest-scale redistribution of global capital in history, and making the right investment decisions is more important than ever before. The global energy community needs guidance, and the solution can be found in the exchange of best practices and study of potential future scenarios. The World Energy Congress offers a unique platform for this, bringing together representatives of the energy community alongside new players and new users of a consumer-oriented energy system,” said CEO of the World Energy Council Dr Angela Wilkinson.

“The whole situation with COVID-19 has once again confirmed that fast-tracking the introduction of new technologies into all kinds of industries, from retail to electric power, is the only way forward. It is largely thanks to the fact that digital transformation has been one of Rosseti’s priority objectives in recent years that the Russian power network has shown great resilience in the face of challenges during the pandemic,” said Director General and Chairman of the Management Board of Rosseti Pavel Livinsky.

The event took place with media support from the Russia-24 and Bloomberg TV channels and Energy Policy magazine. A recording of the event is available to view on the 25th World Energy Congress website, the Roscongress Foundation website and the YouTube channel of the 25th World Energy Congress.

The Roscongress Foundation – a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and sporting, public, and cultural events.The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 2,500 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with 122 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 69 countries worldwide. roscongress.org

The World Energy Council has been at the heart of global, regional and national energy debates for nearly a century, developing new thinking and driving effective action around the world to achieve the benefits of sustainable energy for all. Comprised of over 3,000 member organisations in nearly 90 countries, drawn from governments, private and state corporations, academia and new and wider system shapers and stakeholders, the Council is the world’s first and only truly global member-based energy network. The Council works dynamically across the whole energy sector as a global energy transition platform, pulling together intelligent leadership to catalyse and inform the world’s energy policy dialogue, create impact and drive practical action. worldenergy.org

The World Energy Congress is the main event held under the World Energy Council umbrella, and the biggest and most influential event in energy. It covers all aspects and news related to the energy sector. First held in 1924, the World Energy Congress takes place every three years. The event includes a specialized exhibition, with a range of industries represented. These include energy, architecture, engineering, construction, coal mining, technology, contracting, finance and investment, consulting and analysis, oil, gas, professional unions, and the media. The 25th World Energy Congress will be held on 24–27 October 2022 in St. Petersburg. The event is organized by the Roscongress Foundation. worldenergycongressrussia.org

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