World Energy Council Executive Assembly and Summit in Addis Ababa
The World Energy Council Executive Assembly and World Energy Leaders Summit took place in Addis Ababa during the week of October 26 to 30. Organized by the World Energy Council and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, the Summit was attended by Ministers and senior government energy officials from across Africa and more widely, as well as hundreds of energy company executives and energy sector pioneers. The Assembly’s governance meetings and the Executive Assembly plenary were held during the first part of the week. The Executive Assembly included round table committee as well as global and regional discussions. The aim was to bring national and sectoral developments of the energy sector into the framework of regional integrations and global experience sharing and partnerships. One session on Tuesday morning praised countries that are pioneering the advance of the energy sector in various areas and commended Ethiopia in Africa for its clean energy commitments and its energy infrastructure integration accomplishment. The session also discussed best experiences in renewable energy development including, solar, hydro, wind and low-carbon-economy approaches. The Future Energy Leaders’ Summit took place on Wednesday (October 28). This was followed by an Energy Summit open to all delegates and a private World Energy Leaders’ Summit for CEOs. An African Ministerial meeting was held on Friday.
An ‘Ethiopia day’ on which Ethiopia shared its energy sector experiences with participants was held on under the theme of a “Green Climate Resilient Economy key to sustainable development as embarked by Ethiopia”. The Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Motuma Mekasa, said Ethiopia was aggressively working to utilize its untapped renewable energy sources and diversify its source of energy. The Minister pointed out that Ethiopia was striving to generate power from hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal and dry waste. He emphasized that the major power generation projects were being built with the intention of realizing regional integration as well as for the development of Ethiopia.
Abebe Kahsay, Chief Operator, Ethiopian Electric Power Transmission, said that Ethiopia was working to acquire technology, knowledge and best practices in energy sector from different countries. It was also striving to build domestic capacity in power production, transmission and management. He stressed that Ethiopia’s energy sources were, by and large, clean energy. The major source of energy was predominantly hydro-power. He also mentioned Ethiopia was working to ensure energy efficiency, conservation, sustainability and working on natural resource conservation to build green economy. The participants at the World Energy Council Executive Summit appreciated Ethiopia’s unreserved effort to build green energy. They also commended Ethiopia’s determined efforts to bring about regional integration through the provision of cheap power and expansion of transmission lines. There was general agreement that other developing nations should follow the foot-steps of Ethiopia in its green energy policy and strategy.
Overall, Ethiopia has been giving high priority and will continue to concentrate on renewable energy development and using hydropower as the major and most reliable segment of the country’s energy sector development. The policy also gives significant emphasis to the wind, geothermal, solar and bio-mass being developed to increase renewable energy diversification. Ethiopia’s energy development policy enumerates the respective areas of power production and energy sector development that will provide for the acceleration of the fast growing economy of the country as well as its goal of becoming a Carbon Neutral Middle Income Country by 2025. The priorities of the energy policy also allow for exploration for natural gas and other hydrocarbon fuels, and bio-fuels for transportation and household use. The policy emphasizes energy efficiency and conservation, environmental sustainability, gender mainstreaming and capacity building and technology transfer.
Indeed, the Climate Resilient Green Economy strategy underlines just how far the country has embarked on maximizing the utilization of diversified renewable energy alternatives. Major power sector development projects now under construction include the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that will add 6000MW to the grid and the Genale Dawa III for 254 MW; the Aluto Langano Geothermal Expansion project, the Repi Waste-to-energy and the Malka Sedi Biomass among the Solar, wind and waste projects. The Gigel Gibe III Dam, with a capacity of 1870 MW, started generation of power a few weeks ago. As a result of these and other developments, Ethiopia has managed to expand connections to some 5,554 towns, and under the next Growth and Transformation Plan II, another 10,205 towns will be connected to the national grid, raising the current 54% rural access to electricity to 90% during the GTPII Period 2015/6-2019/20.
A major aspect of the discussions at the World Energy Council Executive Assembly and Summit arose from the latest report from the World Energy Council: “The road to resilience – managing and financing extreme weather risks”. The energy community is increasingly concerned about the slow progress and level of ambition in the negotiations ahead of the COP21 meeting in Paris in December. The World Energy Council’s message from the Executive Assembly affirmed that the energy sector across the world is ready to respond to a strong signal from Paris to accelerate the energy transition. The Council issued a call to the 21st Conference of Parties calling for a clear pathway from Paris that will end the growing uncertainty that has cast a shadow over the energy sector for many decades. It said the energy community urgently needed a clear carbon pricing scheme in line with the global objectives that will allow all to make efficient economic decisions. This should be the key priority. The Council called for determined pragmatism which would produce predictable policy and balanced regulatory frameworks to unlock the needed investment for affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. It said reducing policy risk was critical and only the adoption of strong and balanced national energy policy frameworks could provide substantive progress. It said the addition of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions track to the negotiations was an important step but translating the international objective to the national level for energy requires an Energy Trilemma approach, which balanced the needs of energy security, environment and the social agenda.
The World Energy Council noted that it was clear that the world was not on track to keep emissions down to 2 degrees Celsius. The increasing number of extreme weather events was already affecting critical energy infrastructure. Extreme events had quadrupled over the past 30 years and this trend and its effects would continue unless decisive and extensive mitigation and adaptation measures were taken. It said anhistoric energy transition was needed. The energy sector was central to any solutions and would be fundamental to its success. Solutions needed meaningful engagement with the energy sector and greater dialogue between policy and business leaders. The World Energy Council called on the Parties in Paris to agree on a clear, unambiguous and equitable climate framework and carbon pricing scheme to enable the energy sector to deliver the needed energy transition for the greatest benefit of all.