Sustainable growth, identification of the real constraints and opportunities faced in tackling the challenges in the coming decades, adjusting energy policies, and fostering international cooperation are some of the goals that were announced at the conclusion of the World Energy Congress (WEC) 2010 in Montreal.
According to the WEC, the energy industry must address three issues to achieve sustainable growth:
– Security of supply: Investment must be made in new infrastructures to keep up with demand. The challenge has been made more difficult by the recent financial crisis and the recent surge in oil and commodity prices.
– Environmental protection and climate change: The energy sector, which is responsible for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions, is at the forefront of the debate on climate change.
– Inequalities within countries and across the globe: Inequality hinders economic development and depresses demand. The industry must tackle the problem of ‘energy poverty’ that sees two billion people without adequate sources of energy.
The industry must proceed quickly to invest in zero-emission buildings, smart buildings and smart grids, according to Pierre Gadonneix, chairman of the World Energy Council. On the supply side, while competitive technologies are available, development is needed in the areas of nuclear plants, carbon capture and storage, photovoltaic technologies, electricity storage and sustainable biofuels.
In addition, Gadonneix argued that markets alone cannot address all of the energy industry's issues. Public policies are needed, and they need to be established at both national and international levels.
SOURCE: The World Energy Congress