Global meeting starts to explore innovative technology




Abu Dhabi: World leaders, international agencies, sustainability advocates, global heads of businesses and experts, academics and students interested in future energy technologies gather today in Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit (WFES 2012), running till Thursday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

The summit comes a few days after Dubai announced its biggest renewable energy initiative — the Dh12 billion Solar Park — last week. Hydrocarbon rich Gulf states are pumping in billions of dollars in diversifying their energy mix to make economies more sustainable.

“Now in its fifth year, the World Future Energy Summit is the world’s foremost annual meeting committed to promoting advancement of future energy technologies, including renewable resources, energy efficiency, water and waste management … [This will be done] by engaging political, business, finance, academic and industry leaders to drive innovation, business and investment opportunities in response to the growing need for sustainable energy,” said a spokesperson.

Built around the theme ‘Powering Sustainable Innovation,’ WFES 2012 will stage both a high-level conference and exhibition, with companies from all over the world promoting their latest products and services. Over 26,000 attendees, including 3,000 delegates, 650 exhibiting companies and 20 national pavilions are participating.

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Student pledge

The summit will open with a ‘Policy and Strategy Forum’, where leaders in government and global development organisations will put the future energy challenge in perspective.

Keynote speakers at the opening ceremony include UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and UN General Assembly president Nasser Abdul Aziz Al Nasser.

Speeches by Bertrand Picard, chief executive officer of Solar Impulse, and Aiden Dwyer, a young innovator from the US, along with a pledge by a group of UAE students to commit themselves to innovation for a cleaner future, will conclude the opening ceremony.

The summit will then split into three Ministerial Panel sessions with former heads of state, ministers and key advisers to governments on energy exchanging views on ‘Sustainable Energy for All,’ ‘Action Towards Universal Energy Access’ and ‘The Role of Government Institutions in Accelerating the Transition to a Global Clean Energy Economy’.

“The attendance of key political leaders from across the world is a reflection of the convening power of Masdar, which is rapidly emerging as a globally-renowned brand in the renewable energy field,” said Naji Al Haddad, the WFES exhibition director.

Balance

“As governments and policymakers face a development dilemma, a multi-sector and multi-disciplinary approach to encouraging investment in innovations is critical to ensuring energy security.

“In this regard, Masdar’s contribution to the summit has been invaluable. As every year, WFES will approach the energy challenge in its entirety, emphasising all aspects from environment and technology to investment and trading,” he said.

To ensure equitable balance on all issues associated with energy, sustainability and development, WFES has dedicated each day of the conference to a topic of global relevance.

Investment

The second day of the conference will discuss “Business and Policy” while “Technology and Innovation” will take centre stage on the third day.

Investment will be the theme of the final day.

For the second consecutive year, a Project Village, hosting select projects in renewable energy and energy efficiency from the Middle East, India, Africa, and other markets is a significant component of WFES.

The summit will also host the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) programme, an initiative organised in partnership with Masdar Institute. This will provide an opportunity for future leaders to interact with government representatives and business leaders involved in clean energy initiatives.

A new development this year is the Innovate@WFES zone dedicated to select small and medium-sized businesses working across the future energy value chain.

Irena assembly begins

An important week for renewable energy began in Abu Dhabi on Friday with a Pacific Leaders’ Meeting organised by Irena, the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The Irena Assembly, which features interactive ministerial roundtables, plenary sessions and technical meetings, attracts more than 800 of the most influential voices in renewable energy, representing 131 countries and 57 organisations, and includes 64 ministers and other high-level officials.

“I look forward to the debate, negotiations, networking opportunities and exchange of ideas that our second assembly brings,” said the agency’s director general Adnan Z. Amin. “This will be a year in which we realise our full role in stepping up international efforts to create the enabling environments that will allow renewables to fulfill their potential in the world’s energy mix.”

Highlights of the Irena Assembly will be two interactive ministerial roundtables, one discussing cooperation with the private sector, and the other focusing on policy issues related to Irena’s medium-term strategy. Other activities include the high-level group sessions, and technical meetings on the Global Solar and Wind Atlas, and the competitiveness of renewable power generation.

Irena and its partners will also host an information and discussion booth at the World Future Energy Summit.

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