The transformation and transition of the energy sector were one of the main topics on the opening day of the World Energy Congress.
Taking place in Abu Dhabi, the event has brought together some global heavyweights to share their insights, perceptions and predictions as to what the future of our energy sector will look like.
Younghoon David Kim, World Energy Council Chair, commented that the global energy industry has just embarked on a giant journey known as the ‘Grand Energy Transition’ in efforts to address the challenges of energy security, energy sustainability and affordability.
"Traditionally, the energy industry was mostly concerned with energy insecurity from both the demand and supply-side ... we found that despite the abundance of fossil fuels, we have to find alternative sustainable solutions, that must also deal with energy equity."
This raises a very important consideration for all those involved in the energy sector. In the pursuit of sustainability and security, affordability cannot fall by the wayside.
As Kim said, "Energy equity is energy prosperity. Any energy policies, with all good intentions, should not be deemed or regarded as a means to suppress the prosperity or equity of the people."
Kim’s solution to this challenge is for the energy industry to transform from a resource-based industry to capital intensive, knowledge-based and tech-savvy sector.
In other words, how do we use IT, artificial intelligence and smart technology to encourage not only a sustainable energy sector but an affordable one too?
Will digitalisation, decentralisation and decarbonisation contribute or hinder the affordability of energy for all? More importantly, will we see an increase in energy poverty across countries and elements of society? And if this is the case, how will this reflect on the utility bottom line, what are the implications for society in terms of spreading the true cost of energy and where is the middle ground between fair profit to utilities and the cost to society?
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