Some 5,000 delegates of the global energy field will assemble for the congress, the first energy confab in Asia in 18 years
Cho Hwan-eik, chairman of the World Energy Congress
Daegu 2013 Organizing Committee (photos: KEPCO)
Thousands of energy experts from around the world will descend on Daegu to participate in the 22nd World Energy Congress (WEC), to be held from Oct. 13-17 to deal with pending energy issues and the future sustainability of the energy field. The following are excerpts of an interview with Cho Hwan-eik, chairman of the World Energy Congress Daegu 2013 Organizing Committee in which he spoke of Korea’s preparations to host the congress.
Question: Will you introduce our readers to the World Energy Congress Daegu 2013?
Answer: The World Energy Congress (WEC) Daegu 2013 is the most high-powered international conference of the global energy field, being held every three years since 1924. About 5,000 experts of the energy field, including minister-level government officials from about 140 countries, global energy company CEOs, renowned scholars, and technology experts will attend the five-day congress to discuss pending energy issues. The congress will also coincide with an exhibition and other side events, which will serve as a venue for global energy companies to pitch their latest energy technologies and for participants to exchange information. Korea was selected as the venue of the WEC 2013 during a WEC board of directors meeting in Mexico City in 2008. Among the sponsors of the WEC Daegu 2013 are the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), the Deagu Metropolitan Government, the Gyeongsangbuk-do provincial government, Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), and SK Innovation.
The congress, to be held under the theme “Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today,” is the extravagant event of the global energy industry.
The World Energy Council hosts the World Energy Congress, the world’s largest and most influential energy event
covering all aspects of the energy agenda, every three years. The 22nd WEC 2013 will take place in Daegu from Oct. 13-17.
Q: Will you speak about the significance of Korea’s hosting of the WEC Daegu 2013 and the expected benefits?
A: The WEC Daegu 2013 will be the first congress to take place in Asia in 18 years and the third one ever in Asia after India in 1983 and Tokyo in 1995.
WECs have been so far dominated by European energy powers, but the WEC Daegu 2013 is taking place in Korea, which ranks among the global top 10 in terms of energy consumption, so delegations from energy consuming powers such as China, Russia, Japan, and southeast Asian countries are participating in force.
Asia, which includes the two most populous nations in the world, China and India, is a region with the highest growth rate in energy demand in the global energy market as well the one with the highest supply rate of new and renewable energy, but it is facing a severe energy poverty situation. The world’s eyes are shifting to the Asian region whose soaring energy demand is expected to control the global energy market. Korea, located at the center of the Asian region, is seen as an appropriate venue for the WEC 2013.
The global energy field has been seeing the most turbulent time of dramatic changes ever. During this time, it is significant that globally renowned experts from political, energy industry, and academic circles from around the world assemble at the congress to shed insights into the future of the energy field, a transition in energy mechanisms, and sustainability.
In particular, the WEC Daegu 2013 will be first congress to be held since the United Nations declared the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), an initiative that brings all key actors to the table to make sustainable energy for all a reality by 2030.
Participants of the 22nd WEC will discuss what steps should be taken for a sustainable energy supply and grapple with how the world’s population of 7.3 billion people can be provided with abundant energy supplies. The upcoming congress will address cooperation with international organizations such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) as well as the United Nations’ role to exert global influence.
Q: What is being put on discussion agendas during the WEC Daegu 2013?
A: True to the theme, “Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today,” the WEC Daegu 2013 will address the energy trilemma — securing a sustainable energy supply, energy poverty, and carbon emissions and climate change.
Participants of the WEC Daegu 2013 will explore solutions to the pending energy issues facing us. The congress will engage in in-depth discussions in every energy segment, including fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and hydroelectric power, and new and renewable resources not only from the conventional energy industry-dominated perspective but also from varying points of views and from other walks of life, which will be reflected to bring forth comprehensive countermeasures.
Government and industry circles as well as the general public are required to pay more attention and concern to this congress as energy issues are more closely related to their daily lives. The purpose of hosting the WEC Daegu 2013 is to let all the people share and get a better understanding of how future energy resources can be secured since the congress will address the pending energy issues, tasks, and solutions.
Q: Will you explain the gist of the WEC Daegu 2013, participating countries, major delegations, etc?
A: With a month to go until the opening of the WEC 2013, more than 3,440 people from 103 countries, including major energy company CEOs, energy experts, and ranking government officials have already signed up to participate. The figure represents a 26.4 percent jump over the same period of the WEC Montreal 2010.
In particular, with active participation by China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), more than 300 Chinese, including ranking government figures and major energy company CEOs, have signed up to participate, making it the biggest delegation aside from Korea and China’s biggest-ever number in the history of the WEC.
Japan will send 170 delegates, the second largest foreign delegation after China, more than originally expected. Japan is paying more attention to the WEC Deagu 2013, the first congress to take place in Asia in 18 years.
In addition, 238 of the most influential figures have been confirmed as speakers of the WEC Daegu 2013. They will comprise 44 energy ministers from such countries as the United Arab Emirates, Russia, South Africa, Canada, and Turkey and CEOs of such companies as Royal Dutch Shell, Saudi Aramco, State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), PEMEX, GDF Suez of France, EDF, Gazprom of Russia, Exxon Mobil, GE, and Siemens as well as heads of international organizations. It takes on more significance that Korea will host the biggest-ever energy-related international conference.
EXCO, the venue of the World Energy Congress Daegu 2013.