15 JAN 2017
Atlantic Councils Global Energy Forum Brings a Fast Start to ADSW 2017
For the first time, the Atlantic Council held its annual Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi. And quite frankly, there was no better place to discuss geo-economics, energy trends, the U.S. election and its affect on energy markets than this two-day forum that is wrapping up today in Abu Dhabi. At 10:00 a.m. yesterday, this event kicked-off the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2017, the Middle East’s largest sustainability gathering, which is hosted by Masdar.
Several high-level policy discussions included perspectives from H.E. Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy; H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar; H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy; and former Utah governor Jon M. Huntsman, who is Chairman of the Atlantic Council - some of whom the staff at Masdar has had the pleasure to interact or work with. The meeting of this minds strengthens Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a global energy hub.
Sure, this country has long been a leader in hydrocarbons; but over the last several years, the UAE has emerged as a major player within the world’s renewable energy sector. Through projects including those funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and implemented by Masdar, some of the world’s most remote nations have embarked on a path towards securing more secure and safer energy for their citizens. Meanwhile, more countries are investing in offshore wind and massive solar projects as they have become proven to become more efficient and cost effective in recent years. And all this is happening at a time when oil prices have been very low. But that could change at any time. As Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Agency told the Global Energy Forum audience, “We are entering a time of oil price volatility.” Mr. Birol surmised that declining oil industry investment could actually lead to greater oil prices soon. In any event, more governments and businesses are making the decision to invest in renewables so that they can stabilize energy prices; and that in turn, these trends could only make these sources of energy more price-competitive in the long run. In sum, it was a dynamic gathering of leaders and professionals, with a diverse point of view, who attended this event on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island.
And it was the perfect launch for ADSW 2017, where once again civil society, corporates and government leaders are exchanging ideas and making deals to advance the cause of clean energy and technology solutions.