Securing future of energy - GulfToday

Securing future of energy


During the event, members of the panel cited the important role that the GCCIA plays across grid interconnections and the process of integration between new, renewable energy sources.

The Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA), a joint stock company subscribed to by six Gulf States, successfully hosted a roundtable discussion entitled ‘Climate Change and Energy Security Forum,’ which was held at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Pavilion in Expo 2020, Dubai. Panelists, consisting of leading industry experts, discussed the key impact made by climate change on the future of energy security and the current efforts being made to help bring in a reduction in carbon emissions.

Moderated by GCCIA CEO, Eng. Ahmed Al Ebrahim,the distinguished panel of experts included Eng. Fatima Al Foora Al Shamsi, Executive Director for Energy Policy, Department of Energy - Abu Dhabi; Eng. Chris Peeters, CEO, Elia Group; Pierre Bernard, CEO, FOSG; Dr. Lawrence Jones, Vice President, International Programs of Edison Electric Institute-USA; Dr. Anes Dallagi, Project Director and Middle East Manager, EDF Power Systems and Transmission Engineering Centre and Dr. Amro Elshurafa, Research Fellow, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (KAPSARC).

“We are truly overwhelmed at the strong response that we received today at the forum−having gathered some of the top minds in the energy industry today. Climate change has truly left a key impact on today’s environment and we feel that it is our responsibility to live up to this challenge and start developing solutions to help address it. We would like to thank today’s speakers for sharing their industry insights and perspectives with us. The GCCIA looks forward to organizing more forums during Expo 2020 Dubai to help address timely issues in the energy sector,” said Eng. Ahmed Al Ebrahim, GCCIA CEO.

During the event, members of the panel cited the important role that the GCCIA plays across grid interconnections and the process of integration between new, renewable energy sources. The experts also tackled the current challenges being faced by the energy sector and how the perceived solutions can help in the move to lessen the impacts made by climate change.

Eng. Fatima Al Foora Al Shamsi, Executive Director for Energy Policy, Department of Energy - Abu Dhabi, stated: “We need to ensure energy security to help drive economic growth. Energy efficiency increases energy security. Energy should be a top priority for as it plays a central role to sustainable development.”

Meanwhile, Eng. Chris Peeters, CEO, Elia Group, cited the strong partnership of the GCCIA and the Elia Group, “Our relationship with GCCIA is more than a decade strong and look forward to brighter things ahead. Energy transformation is a key concern for us as Europe aims to be emission free. The next step is to be able to implement a system that will ensure renewable energy.”

Pierre Bernard, CEO, FOSG, said “Energy transition is important and very timely. We need to see the full picture. Policy makers should focus on creating policies aimed at preserving our resources while also continuing to educate our people.”

Dr. Lawrence Jones, VP, Int’l programme - Edison Electric Institute, says we need to take a holistic approach to energy transition, which is faced with three challenges−resilience, affordability and integration.

Dr. Anes Dallagi, Project Director and Middle East Manager, EDF Power Systems and Transmission Engineering Centre, emphasized on “What the world needs now is affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.

However, we also need to reduce carbon emissions for our future generations to benefit from.”

Lastly, Dr. Amro Elshurafa, Research Fellow, KAPSARC, spoke about the importance to lessen the use of liquid energy to help drop carbon emissions and achieve the diversification of renewable energy and conventional sources.

He also emphasised on the importance of increasing reliability of renewable energy compared with conventional energy.

On the conclusion of the forum, Eng. Al Ebrahim thanked the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai represented by Commissioner General of the GCC Pavilion Khalid Ibrahim Al Sheikh for hosting this event.

Recognising electricity as an essential engine of development for all nations, the GCCIA is powered by its mission to form a resilient interconnection grid ensuring power security and economic benefits. Its vision is to become a global hub in grid interconnections emphasising on innovation, resiliency, and sustainability−creating dynamic electricity market for the region and beyond.

As part of Climate and Biodiversity Week at Expo 2020 Dubai, the Women’s Pavilion hosted a Women’s World Majlis on ‘The First Defenders of Mother Nature: Women Leading the Fight to Save Our Planet’, moderated by Dr Nawal Al Hosany, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

The session, which took place on Monday, was attended by Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Natasa Pilides, Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry, Cyprus; Alexandra Palt, Executive Vice President, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer, L’Oréal; Dr Reem Al Mualla, Research Manager, Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones, Bahrain; and Dr Gladys Kalema, environmentalist/founder, Conservation Through Public Health, Uganda. Sam McCloskey, Director, Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy, UK, participated virtually.

Research has shown that women are the greener gender. A 2019 study by the Climate Institute in the US reported that on average, women in many countries have a 20 per cent smaller carbon footprint than men, and that countries with female political leaders tend to have lower carbon emissions per capita. It also found that women were generally more knowledgeable on topics such as biodiversity and climate awareness, with a greater knowledge of endangered species. Yet women are also overlooked when it comes to these concerns, with low numbers working as climate researchers, and also in environmental governance.

Dr Nawal Al Hosany said: “This event is the first of its kind, and Expo 2020 Dubai has provided a platform to discuss pioneering initiatives to save Mother Nature, because only if the international community unites and collaborates will we be able to build a better future.” Christiana Figueres said: “If the world does not prioritise climate change in the next few years, we will perish, lose many living creatures, and face greater problems than we see today.”

She added that women’s participation in saving nature was not optional, as the world cannot afford to lose so much of its capability in fighting climate change. Such problems can only be solved with everyone working together, she said, and many ideas from as many people as possible would be needed.

Dr Reem Al Mualla, who holds a PhD in marine biology and specialises in coral reefs, explained that Gulf countries, due to the nature of their hot climate, should be the destination for all scientists in studying the adaptation of living organisms to high temperatures.

Natasa Pilides, said Expo 2020 Dubai is changing the traditional ideas that led us to undesirable results, making us adopt and accept new solutions that keep pace with current problems. She added that Expo 2020 Dubai gave us the opportunity to meet and discuss these issues, as dialogue is the fuel for change.

Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, also addressed the gathering, and praised the UAE for its support on women’s issues.

First World MAJLIS: Biodiversity’s critical role in the survival of the planet, and the importance of listening to and learning from nature, dominated discussion at Expo 2020 Dubai’s first World MAJLIS at the Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion. Climate and Biodiversity Week is the first of the 10 themed weeks running over the next six months, anchoring Expo 2020’s Programme for People and the Planet.

Held as part of Climate and Biodiversity Week, the MAJLIS featured thought leaders and experts from around the world, who traded ideas on everything from using birds of prey to deal with rodents destroying crops in Israel, Jordan and Palestine, to overhauling educational curricula in a lively 90-minute session.

World-renowned ecological expert and founder of the Eden Project in the UK, Sir Tim Smit, who was pivotal in developing Expo 2020’s cutting-edge Terra Pavilion, praised the World MAJLIS concept. “It’s important for a very simple reason that the world has been dominated by the great European or Western capitals, and they carry a weight of baggage on them, which makes change very difficult.

“And what’s so exciting about Dubai in particular, and the Emirates as a whole, is that it doesn’t carry that baggage, which means that people are happy to talk about things, although they wouldn’t necessarily want to come to London to have those discussions. I think this could develop into something of great significance, so I’m very proud to be part of it.”


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