World forum to discuss future of energy

2013-03-28 20:08

Energy is emerging as an increasingly hot topic worldwide as the global energy landscape is fast changing on both the supply and demand sides, particularly since Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Many countries are bringing changes to their energy mixes to minimize the impact of those changes on their environment, economy and society.

“All sources of energy ranging from oil and gas to renewables to nuclear power are facing a transition for their own reasons. Given this, it is the right timing for the world’s energy-related opinion leaders to discuss how the world and countries will secure energy in a sustainable way in the future,” Cho Hwan-eik, CEO of Korea Electric Power Corp. said in an interview with The Korea Herald. He leads the organizing committee for the 2013 World Energy Congress. 
Cho Hwan-eik. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

He said the 22nd WEC, which will be held between Oct. 13 and 17 in Daegu under the theme of securing tomorrow’s energy today, would be the perfect venue for the talks on the future of energy.

The London-based World Energy Council has run the WEC, the world’s biggest and triennial premier energy gathering, since 1924 and has 3,000 member organizations from 93 countries, including governments, industry, think tanks and nonprofit groups.

“We expect that the 2013 WEC will become the biggest event ever, attracting 5,000 international energy leaders, think tanks and decision makers from developed and developing nations,” Cho said, adding that the organizing committee has so far secured about 100 speakers to give overviews on wide-ranging energy issues for the five-day congress.

Key speakers include 19 energy ministers from 16 countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Tanzania and Colombia and top management personnel of global energy giants like Saudi Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell. Heads of energy-related international organizations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency and International Energy Agency, will also join the event.

“What makes the upcoming WEC in Daegu special is that the event will highlight the Asian voice in the energy sector,” Cho said.

“Asia has increased its influence in the global energy sector in many aspects. For instance, Korea, Japan and China take up 30 percent of the world’s energy consumption. After the 1995 WEC in Tokyo, Japan, the return of the WEC to Asia is expected to encourage participation of Asian countries in the WEC.”

On top of this, different from the previous events, the Daegu WEC prepares for a session to discuss the future of nuclear power two years after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster.

“Despite continued lingering safety worries in the public, many countries still think of nuclear power as a critical energy source as it is cheap to generate power and is carbon free. The WEC audience will have a chance to estimate the future of nuclear power by hearing presentations from speakers from Japan,” Cho said.

By Seo Jee-yeon  (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)
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