In the run-up to the 25th World Energy Congress to be held in St. Petersburg in 2022, the Russian National Committee launched the virtual event series “Road to Congress 2022” on 17 June 2020 with a discussion on the topic “COVID-19: Accelerating a better energy future for all”.

Speakers were:

  • Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy, Russian Federation
  • Dr. Angela Wilkinson, Secretary General and CEO, World Energy Council
  • Pavel Livinsky, Chairman of the Management Board and Director General, Rosseti
  • Helima Croft,Managing Director and Global Head of Commodity Strategy, Global Research, RBC Capital Markets
  • Dr. Leonhard Birnbaum, Member of the Management Board, E.ON; CEO, Innogy; Chair of the Studies Committee, World Energy Council

The discussion was moderated by Sergey Brilev, Deputy Director, TV Channel “Rossiya”; President, Global Energy Association.

One of the most important statements of the digital event: After Corona is before Corona.

Alexander Novak: The lockdown led to a collapse in energy demand and energy investments are declining noticeably. BUT: There was no supply disruption, the energy supply was 100% available at all times even during the lockdown. The current pandemic will also not have a negative impact on future demand expectations and changes in the structure of demand coverage – keyword energy turnaround. On the contrary. The transformation of energy supply could possibly progress more rapidly if governments were to take greater account of energy system transformation in their reconstruction programmes.

Dr. Angela Wilkinson underlined that the energy industry has so far mastered the stress test excellently. In the medium and long term, it will be important to remember that in view of the threat of a global recession, the global economy must not neglect climate-friendly measures. Eighteen months ago, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the world was far from achieving the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius and avoiding the worst consequences. Governments should use the “historic opportunity” to include renewable energies in their economic stimulus packages. The international community must be aware that we have only one earth. Future investment decisions must be reoriented in this sense. This will also be the motto of the World Energy Congress to be held in 2022: A better energy future for everyone!

Dr. Leonhard Birnbaum: We urgently need to invest more and more in innovations, regardless of COVID-19. We need innovative technology solutions that cover the entire value chain of energy supply.

In response to the question “Jobs vs. new technologies”, Biernbaum said: “Hydrogen will play a role in the future energy mix. The restructuring of the energy supply will create new services. The structural change will take place.

Dr. Birnbaum does not see any danger for the energy turnaround from current low oil and gas prices. Wind and PV are competitive.

Helima Croft supported Dr. Birnbaum’s view: The energy turnaround is coming, also because it is socially accepted. Croft further explained that COVID-19 demonstrated the importance of security of supply, especially in the supply of energy.

Pavel Livinsky addressed the challenges for a secure energy supply that go hand in hand with a broad advance of renewables.

The discussants agreed that high investments and stronger international cooperation were needed to achieve the energy turnaround. Only through international cooperation and the exchange of know-how and technology will it be possible to achieve the energy and climate goals.

18. June 2020 News, Road to Congress 2022

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