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Dr. Matar Al Neyadi speaks at a session at WEC

Govts 'must involve people in energy decisions'

ABU DHABI, September 12, 2019

Governments must take people along in their efforts to move to renewables and show to citizens that the transition is an opportunity and not a threat, the World Energy Congress, currently under way in Abu Dhabi, heard.
 
The role of the energy industry in tackling climate change and creating a more inclusive society were highlighted during discussions between global experts and business leaders at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi.
 
Based on the theme ‘Inclusive prosperity: New policy imperatives’, a range of high-level speakers over 15 sessions explored many of the questions and challenges that are to be resolved in delivering a successful energy transition.
 
The congress, being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec), will conclude today.
 
The role of governments
The day’s opening plenary session focused on the role governments can play in solving today’s energy and climate challenges and how the support and consensus of consumers and the public is essential to the successful transition to renewables.
 
Taking part in the session titled ‘Driving innovation: The role of governments in the future of energy’ were Diego Mesa Puyo, Colombia’s Vice Minister of Energy, Joao Galamba, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Energy and Serge Colle, Partner, Global Power and Utilities Advisory Leader of EY.
 
Galamba explained how Portugal is moving ahead with ambitious and long-term plans for a hugely diversified energy mix that cuts emissions while not impacting consumers.
 
“It is easy to talk about saving the planet if you are comfortable, but if you have needs and are poor it is not a priority,” he said. “Our challenge is to set clean energy goals that can be addressed by future and existing technology and that present a fair deal to consumers.”
 
Already one of the leading nations in the use of renewables, Portugal wants to move from 60% renewables in its electrical systems to 80% by 2030 and from 30% of renewables in total energy consumption to 47% by 2050, he said.
 
“These goals are important, but what is more important is that we show to citizens this is an opportunity and not a threat that will lower their living standards or increase their costs, but rather the opposite,” he said.
 
“You cannot do this kind of policy with the people against you. A general consensus among the people and political parties, which we have in Portugal, is the way to go. This enables stability and promotes investment.”
 
Colle said governments are best placed to accelerate the transition to renewables by supporting innovation and the introduction of new technology, by engaging the consumer through economic processes that benefit them and by championing energy efficiency throughout the sector.
 
“Governments are crucial for sustainability and security of supply. If you think about where we are now in terms of the Paris Agreement and where we are heading, the challenges are bigger than ever before and the government is the only player that can help solve the problem,” he said.
 
Co-operating on clean energy
Dr Matar Al Neyadi, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Industry and chairman of the World Energy Congress Organising Committee, told an event organised by the Clean Energy Ministerial, that energy innovation “needs encouragement, it needs investment and it needs time to market”. 
 
“Delivering sufficient power to meet demand while reducing emissions is an important topic, one we have heard about in many discussions in recent days as experts, analysts and policy makers shared ideas,” said Dr Matar. 
 
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, but we need to examine and understand the variety of approaches and work closer together to meet the bigger challenges.” 
 
Dr Matar explained that shifts in the energy industry are often described as “disruptive”. “But these changes are deliberate and desirable as the world looks to a sustainable future. This must be our destination.
 
“Here in the UAE, we have already begun the journey by embracing a healthy diversification of energy sources,” said H.E. Dr Matar.“The commitment is in place, the investment has been made and the political will of the UAE is driving an agenda to ensure sustainability and prosperity for all.”  - 
TradeArabia News Service
 



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