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THE FUTURE OF ENERGY: WHO CALLS THE SHOTS?
The North American approach of ranking the conflicts implicit in the energy “trilema” − security, competitiveness and environmental impact − are encroaching on the classic European vision.
When it comes to security, Europe perceives itself to some extent as unarmed and divided in areas such as defense, diplomatic relations and energy. Europe’s energy dependence on major powers like Russia and China, as well as on regional players like Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, aggravates this situation and places Europe in a vulnerable position that requires concise and coherent policies. A clear understanding of the geopolitical landscape is critical in the energy domain, characterized by growing interdependence. In this regard, Europe must adopt a leading strategic position if it doesn’t want to be left behind.
To date, Europe has unilaterally shown its environmental commitment. The 2015 Climate Conference in Paris will be key to articulate new actions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions with the collaboration of China and other emerging countries, which must also get involved in this global challenge. Europe’s commitment to renewable energy and its fight against climate change lay in sharp contrast with the silent energy revolution under way in the United States and Canada, a shift that is allowing these countries to strengthen their security of supply in a context of significantly increased competitiveness.
Beyond this global vision of energy and the strategic framework that must accompany it, other relevant issues should be considered, such as the growing role of consumers and the endless possibilities that technology provides to place them “front and center” for utility companies, to the extent that they are slowly becoming a new and complex agent in the system. Another issue not be overlooked is the predicted upward swing in renewable energy sources, projected to increase their relative weight in the electrical generation mix to 31% by 2035, thus contributing to 41% of production being emission-free. All of these factors must be deliberated and analyzed, as well as the other forces of change that are already affecting and reshaping the energy sector.
The 12th Energy Industry Meeting, organized in collaboration with Deloitte, will examine the most urgent issues facing the sector, including potential geopolitical shifts; the current European status quo as a viable option (or not) for the future; the long and winding road toward a global climate accord; the role of renewable energies; gas as a possible beacon of hope facing fossil fuel sources current protagonism; and the insurgence of small customers as new and complex agents in the system.
Under the theme The Future of Energy: Who Calls the Shots?, the meeting will serve as a singular platform for reflection and dialogue for business leaders, industry experts, and academics, together with the energy policy makers and regulators in Spain, Europe and abroad.