World Future Energy Summit drew record crowds
Abu Dhabi event pulls in 26,000 visitors, 6.5% up on 2010
The fourth World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2011 concluded in Abu Dhabi on Thursday following four days of high level summit debate from international leaders and experts, and two exhibitions showcasing the latest technologies and innovations in renewable energy and environment
This year’s summit attracted record levels of attendance, with over 26,000 attendees from 137 countries over the course of the four days. This represents a 6.5 per cent increase on the number of attendees in 2010. Additionally over 2,500 school and university students from across the UAE were given insights into the future of renewable energy through guided tours of the exhibition during the course of the event.
The attendees included 3,150 international dignitaries, delegates, members of media and participants who attended the Opening Ceremony on Day One, which opened with a keynote address from HE Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General, United Nations.
Ara Fernezian, group exhibitions director at Reed Exhibitions, organiser of WFES 2011, said, “WFES brings together the leaders in renewable energy, exhibitors, investors and technology providers from around the world to engage and interact with each other. The event continues to grow year on year and its success is testament to Abu Dhabi’s determination to become the global platform for effective dialogue on renewable energy and clean technology. It is encouraging to see such an increase in attendees from such a wide range of countries this year. Indeed, over 30 per cent of attendees came from outside the UAE, making it our most international WFES to date. We look forward to building on this success as we look towards WFES 2012.”
WFES has been held in the UAE Capital for the past four years, bringing together some of the world’s key international policy makers, thought leaders and renewable energy experts to discuss the challenges of providing safe, secure and sustainable energy. This year’s event included a host of additional features held alongside the summit and exhibition, including the “Young Future Energy Leaders” programme, round table discussions, technology showcases and “The Project Village’.
Speakers and exhibitors have hailed WFES 2011 a success, commending Abu Dhabi’s commitment to furthering renewable energy solutions, facilitating debate and innovation, and gave their outlooks for the industry.
In an address during the Opening Ceremony of WFES 2011, HE Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General, said, “Abu Dhabi is becoming justifiably renowned as a hub of progress. You have brought remarkable wealth from the desert sands, and used it to create a vibrant modern nation. And your Masdar Initiative speaks of something more - a vision to build on and go beyond the age of fossil fuels to a new sustainable future. The decisions we make today on energy will have far-reaching consequences.”
On the second day of the summit, Truman Semans, Principal, Green Order, USA; Former Executive Committee Member, US Climate Action Partnership, USA, addressed Business Forum delegates saying, “The new model we need for engagement between government, business, and civil society requires changing the way we behave. Engagement to achieve a clean energy revolution requires a Culture of Innovation that fosters Trust, a spirit of Collaboration, and strong Leadership. We are entering an age of radical transparency. I urge you as leaders in this sector to ask the uncomfortable questions.... Is it just about technology, or is it also about new models of engagement to tackle the challenges of forging a sustainable energy future?”
Speaking during the Finance & Investment Forum on the final day of WFES, Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics, UK, and author of the acclaimed 2006 Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change, suggested the scale of the opportunity for renewable energy is high. He said, “In order that climate change targets can be achieved, we face the need for a new industrial revolution. That industrial revolution needs policy change as a driver to reach the scale of change required. With fundamentally strong policy, we can also increase the pace of that change.”
Exhibitors have also recognised the role the event plays in helping facilitate networking and investment opportunities. Sectors most represented include solar, wind, environment, green building and carbon capture, while national pavilions were hosted by countries including Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Luxemburg, Portugal, China, France, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA and the UK.
One of the key exhibition highlights this year was the inaugural Project Village, which took place on the WFES 2011 exhibition floor, and has been widely hailed as success, providing project developers with real opportunities to garner interest in their latest innovations from world leading technology and finance solution providers. Grant Calverley, President and Co-Founder of SkyMill Energy Inc., one of the exhibiting companies, said, “The level of interest we have received from visitors and potential partners at the Project Village is very encouraging and we have had a number of interested parties expressing interest in meeting us again. We have also been ranked Number One Most Innovative Project at WFES by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, which we couldn’t have achieved without being a part of the Project Village.”