By Nikola M. Tomasović and Mihailo B. Mihailović
The 23rd World Energy Congress “Embracing New Frontiers” was held in Istanbul from October 9 to 13, provided a unique opportunity to take a global view on long-term energy issues including visions and scenarios for the future. The Congress is established as the most influential gathering of senior leaders from all segments of the world energy community.
Among a few thousand delegates and visitors from around the world, one had a chance to listen to the UN Secretary – General and the heads of states from some of the world’s largest energy suppliers.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “Last year, world leaders adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. A transformative approach to energy is critical to success. Achieving our energy goals, including universal access, energy efficiency and renewable energy, will open a new world of opportunity and investment”.
In his keynote address at the Congress, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of the host nation, the Republic of Turkey, said “Unless we solve energy issues, we cannot solve any other issues”.
The congress was echoed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Our common goal is to provide all the people of the world with access to modern energy resources”, emphasised Putin. The presidents of Russia and Turkey both touched upon their nations’ continued energy cooperation, including talks on the proposed Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline. Russia is the main supplier of natural gas, crude oil and coal to Turkey.
Energy Trilemma Index
The 2016 Energy Trilemma Index recently published by the World Energy Council, ranks 130 countries based on three core dimensions: energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability. Country’s performance on the Energy Trilemma Index involves a number of interrelated factors including technology development, market forces, institutional arrangements and corporate and consumer values. Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden are among the best rated countries in the world.
In February 2015, the European Commission (EC) adopted a strategic policy framework, related to establishing a European Energy Union in order to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon, competitive economy and a secure, affordable and climate friendly energy sector.
The EC has also stated that it is necessary to improve cooperation, solidarity and trust in the Central and South-Eastern part of Europe not only with EU countries, but also with non-EU Western Balkan Countries and Turkey.
Regional and national challenges
Actual economic and social transition in the Western Balkans has created new challenges and the need for further regional convergence, collaboration and cooperation.
WEC 2016_presentation by Nikola Tomasovic and Mihailo Mihailovic
The conference paper “Regional and National Challenges for the integration of the Western Balkans in the European Energy Union” was presented on October 11 in Istanbul’s Lütfi Kırdar International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Authors of this paper are Nikola M. Tomasovic and Mihailo B. Mihailovic, members of the Serbian WEC Committee.
The paper highlights that the main characteristics of the Western Balkans region are intensive energy consumption, moderate fossil fuels import dependency, stable production and electricity supply, high values of carbon emission, low efficiency, low environmental concern, high potential but minimal renewable energy generation and the lack of new investments. With approximately 20 million potential new EU citizens, the Western Balkans is not just an energy market, but also a promising corridor and sustainable route to transfer energy across Europe.
Moreover, the need for regional cooperation regarding common regional interest in the single energy market for political, economic and strategic reasons, with renewed motivation, compliance of energy policies, strengthening energy efficiency and renewables were outlined.
Over the coming years the energy transformation has potential to change the way in which we produce and consume energy.
World Energy Council (WEC)
Formed in 1923, the World Energy Council (WEC) is the UN accredited global energy body, representing the entire energy spectrum with over 3,000 member organisations located in nearly 100 countries. WEC informs global and national energy strategies by hosting high-level events, such as the World Energy Congress, publishing authoritative studies and working to facilitate the world’s energy dialogue.
The National Committee of Serbia is a part of the global WEC network, as one of the WEC founders, since the beginning (1924 – at that time part of Yugoslavia). The Serbian WEC member committee takes an active part in all energy related matters representing the Serbian perspective within national, regional and global energy debates.
The energy industry is changing faster than ever, specifically after the recognition of sustainable energy as the 7th development goal by the United Nations and the COP 21 agreement. The Grand Transition is unstoppable and requires a global response and careful management, building on the principles of the Energy Trilemma.
The next 24th World Energy Congress will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in 2019.