Setting the Future Energy Agenda at WFES
19-22 January, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
With the global population forecast to increase to more than nine billion by the year 2050 – placing enormous strains on energy and natural resource supplies – The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) is positioning itself as the pivotal international gathering for finding innovative ways to address energy challenges while furthering sustainable social and economic development.
Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, WFES puts energy diversification at the top of this sustainability agenda. “As a result of ambitious energy targets, countries in the region are incentivising the rapid scale-up of renewable energy,” says Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar. “The development of wind and solar power is a fundamental strategy that supports energy security and creates lasting economic and social opportunity.”
The countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are planning massive investments into renewable energy in coming years, and these projects will figure prominently on the conference program.
Among the many WFES discussion topics will be an examination of how Saudi Arabia – the world’s largest exporter of oil – intends to transform its domestic energy supply to become one of the world’s largest producers of renewable energy. The country’s energy roadmap states that more than 17GW of solar power and 6GW of clean energy from wind, geothermal, and waste-to-energy sources will be fully operational by 2020.
Other discussions will cover Morocco, where plans are underway to produce 42% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2020; and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, which have the potential to generate more than 170 GW of renewable energy.
The rise of shale hydrocarbons and its effect on the adoption of renewable energy will be debated, as well as the role of cities in combating climate change, and the building of a clean energy future in the UAE. In addition, conference attendees will benefit from workshops on ways to operate and optimize solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) facilities.
To accelerate these developments and ensure they lead to sustainable energy usage, WFES will address the importance of uniting public policy, R&D and the business community to stimulate private-public partnerships and encourage entrepreneurship.
Recognised as one of the world’s most influential energy gatherings, WFES last year attracted 28,500 people from 160 countries. The event has been attended previously by heads-of-state from China, South Korea, Argentina, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Its proceedings have already seen the launch of several important international initiatives, including the UN’s 2012 Year of Sustainable Energy, as well as the signing of a number of high-profile memoranda of understanding (MOUs) and contracts.
The event’s attendance has increased over the years, with 170 countries to be represented at the 2015 edition of WFES. Around 30,000 attendees are expected, and countries with first-time exhibitors for 2015 include Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Panama.
From the Middle East to Africa and beyond, WFES has become central to driving the future of energy, regionally and internationally. “The World Future Energy Summit has built a reputation as an event that drives action,” says Naji El Haddad, group event director of WFES. “From showcasing the latest market opportunities, to commercialising technologies and applying critical thinking, the event shapes the region’s future energy landscape.
“Further afield, the contribution WFES makes to the global acceleration of renewable energy is becoming evident,” he adds.
“Its strength is in its ability to unite technology, policy, academia and investment from across the globe, to cross pollinate ideas, share learnings and move the industry forward. This year’s event takes place at a time when the need to balance the global energy mix, address energy security and tackle the energy-water nexus, is more critical than ever.”
WFES is part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, a series of events at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC) running from 17-22 January that includes the General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the awarding of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the International Water Summit (IWS), and EcoWASTE.