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Global Cooperation Necessary For Energy Transition, No ’One Size Fits All’ Solution: WEC Co-Chair

The World Energy Council Co-Chair Jean-Marie Dauger has said that there is no "one size fits all" solution to the global energy transition.

During the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, Dauger told the Emirates News Agency, WAM, that the pace of change in the industry is accelerating quite dramatically.

"We know there are number of questions that need to be addressed, there is also a shift of geographical importance – a shift of power to the East of the market," he noted.

Asia is reportedly the driving force of the sector. According to a recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, energy consumption is expected to more than double by 2040 in the region.

"One thing we know, given the importance of the changes occurring, and what we have to do to mitigate the challenges faced, there will be no one solution for all," the WEC Co-Chair noted.

To secure the flows of clean, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for all, Dauger said that multiple solutions for country-specific situations must be taken into consideration.

Infrastructure innovation and investment, and proactive policies are deemed as necessary for the new clean energy era, Dauger emphasised, noting the importance of properly managing the set of technologies available to create an innovative distribution ecosystem within the sector.

"To do that, there is a need for a global vision. We are now in a system where we are looking globally and not to one particular source of energy," he explained, highlighting the challenge of the growing global energy demand.

According to a World Energy Council brief, existing energy infrastructures have been built over many decades to support conventional energy uses. 

It notes that the rapid transition to a decarbonised energy system implies that some existing infrastructure will mitigate cascading impacts, with global forecasted costs of stranded assets across the upstream, power generation, industry and buildings could amount to US$20 trillion over the next 30 years.

Commenting on these estimates, Dauger said, "The case of stranded assets is important, and that is why time management of change is also very important."

He went on to explain that governments and wider energy stakeholders need to avoid, "the most possible extent", an excessive level of stranded assets that may incur.

He added that operators and industrialists need to be given a chance to respond to these changing energy infrastructure demands.

Dauger continued, "I would say the role of government is not only important [to address stranded assets] but is also important because there is no one-fit solution, and there is a need for a global approach."

"Operators and industry players may have their views, but it is clear that government must be involved to attain the big picture – not only the energy sector, but the impact of change on other sectors and issues, including a social impact," he stressed.

There is a need for regulators and government bodies to mitigate means to lessen the impact of stranded assets, so that investors are not discouraged in the energy industry’s next phase, Dauger noted.

"We know we need energy, and we would need more energy in the future. The challenge is to produce it in a more sustainable way," he continued.

"Any model of transformation in the energy system will be dominated by the issue of how to attract investments and innovation to nourish and favour the promotion of infrastructure," Dauger emphasised.

The WEC Co-Chair went on to note the UAE’s efforts in addressing the future of the energy industry, saying, "It is fair to say that the UAE has taken a very strong stance in tackling the future of energy."

"The UAE are developing a very remarkable policy, very much in line with what the World Energy Council suggests in creating an equilibrium in energy policies," he added.

He warned of what the impact of fragmented inward-looking policies can have on global energy prosperity, saying it "may be a difficult road ahead" if dialogue, cooperation and optimised solutions are not utilised to reinforce global cooperation.

Dauger stressed that challenges and obstacles faced by the industry are many, and there is "an urgency to act and a need to transfer capital and technology to win the battle against climate change."

The 24th World Energy Congress is being hosted in the Middle East for the first time since the World Energy Council’s formation over 90 years ago. The influential energy event covers all aspects of the global energy agenda.

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