Takeaways from 24th World Energy Congress

Sep 13


I've taken the most weird travel options for this trip, but the good thing is that as I wait at the Airport to catch my flight back home I can write down this quick blogpost on some of my key takeaways from the 24th World Energy Congress.

Being a member of the Future Energy Leaders (#FEL100) community, I was fortunate enough to be part of the congress. It has to be one of the best energy conferences I’ve attended so far and certainly one that has inspired me, has had a great positive impact. 

World Energy Congress flagship event of World Energy Council is arguably the largest gathering of energy sector professionals that discuss issues/topics around the energy sector, theme of this congress was "Energy For Prosperity". In this blog I’ve highlighted points from some of the discussions /sessions i was part of and are also aligned to my interest around Energy Efficiency and Digitalisation. 

Here you go, hope it makes for an interesting read! Points are in no particular order.

  • Energy Efficiency was important and is more important going forward.

Over the years we've been inclined more towards discussing supply side interventions, in this congress we did see a number of people putting Energy Efficiency up in front before speaking of changing supply mix. Integrated and specific action on end use energy efficiency across sectors has been desired for long, it's certainly time to make significant movements in that space.

  • Buildings Sector assumes great importance

Linked to the first point, Building sector has amazing opportunity to increase energy efficiency levels in existing buildings and also the ones that would be built in the future.

Buildings will also make for an excellent source for "flexible demand" and come in handy in responding to events linked to grid stability.

  • Energy Sector cannot just talk to itself

There has been a growing criticism of the energy sector (and the professionals), we've been too inward thinking in our approach and have not looked outside of our comfort zone. Changing business models and technology innovation are challenging the status quo.

  • Consumer centric approach

Linked to the point above, a lot of people see a transformative change happening in the energy sector, from the traditional approach to consumer centric approach.

One's closest to the consumers would be in best position to drive the change and hence play a critical role in a smooth energy transition.

  • Equitable Energy Transition

Equitable Energy Transition was a challenge and it seems that it remains a strong challenge for the sector. We have to think of the potential losers (on account of transition) and make sure that no one loses, it is not an easy thing to do but has to be done at all costs!

  • Systems driven approach

While a lot of people have said this in the past and even at this conference, we still struggle to have a systems driven approach, we do not know how the energy system of the future would look like? One or two technologies remain in favour for some time and then they run out of favour. (EV and Storage seems to be in thing now, isn't it?)

  • Buzz words

Some of the buzz words that were widely used at the congress were Innovation, Agile, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data and As-a-Service..:)

The way mobility as a service (Uber, Didi, Ola) have had an impact on the automobile sector, energy sector is beginning to take notice of what potentially can happen in the sector? Glad that the community has started to talk about it, some of the companies are making moves and hopefully the entire sector would use these opportunities at scale.

  • Industry backing for Start-ups

There is an increasing trend of incumbent players in the energy sector either participating in sector specific accelerators or even coming up with their own accelerator programme. Many believe that, its the way forward. Incumbent companies can provide access to market which is the most critical aspect for start-ups.

Although it's still difficult for incumbent players to work with Start-ups (at scale), but it's something that both start-ups and incumbent players are getting better at!

  • World is looking at Young Leaders, we have a job to do!

It's evident that world is looking at Young Energy Leaders to bring about the host of changes that are needed (few that have been highlighted above). 

It is imperative that we question the status quo, not from the perspective of blocking things but from the perspective of unlocking things. Christoph from WEC said it perfectly, "Young Energy Leaders need to be bold and be respectful at the same time, however the need for actions is now and we have a clear job to do".

Want to know more? Will be more than happy to get on a call and chat!

Yours Sincerely,

Umesh Bhutoria.