Energy demand continues to grow globally, but what will be the balance between supply and demand, and how will markets and investment respond? How will electrification and the new mobility affect future demand for oil, and how will new LNG supplies affect the global gas market? Will volatility persist? Fuels and technologies for a low-carbon economy are advancing at different speeds. Compounding this are permitting and financing delays.
Energy security is back on the agenda. Geopolitics – wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, conflict in the Red Sea, rising tensions in Asia, Latin American and Africa – are stoking uncertainty across global markets. Great power competition is intensifying. New supply chain disruptions are emerging. Post-COP28, North/South divisions over global climate policy are evident. The outcome of these factors will shape energy security and access, and finance and industry strategies. Countries that comprise more than half of the world’s population will hold elections in 2024. How can companies navigate the new more challenging world of geopolitics?
How will businesses continue to adapt and transform to meet the needs of customers, reliability of supply, and the energy transition? Companies are pursuing a range of investment strategies across fuels and technologies to meet demand and, at the same time, position for energy transition. These range from balancing between molecules and electrons to consolidating to gain scale and flexibility; reorienting value chains; forming new and innovative partnerships; and reassessing incentives and regulatory risks.
The electric power sector has been at the forefront of the global energy transition with technologies like wind and solar maturing rapidly and deployed across the world. Yet renewable development faces new challenges in supply chain bottlenecks, high interest rate, siting and permitting delays, and grid constraints. How much faster will electricity demand grow with the myriad of new demand drivers such as AI and data centers, electric vehicles, and heat pumps? How can the power sector continue to decarbonize while maintaining reliability? As renewables expand, how will fossil fuel and renewables alike make money as power prices come under downward pressure? What will be the parameters for regulators and policymakers?
The need for minerals and metals will be dramatically increased by the energy transition. But how can those supplies be met given the long lead times, uncertainty over investment, permitting and environmental challenges? Supply chain considerations will focus not only on mining but also processing, in light of political tensions. Hydrogen will be an enormous topic of discussion, with an emphasis on cost curves, market creation, and infrastructure. And the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, and its pull on investment, will be a theme through the conference.
The capital transition is fundamental to the energy transition. Transforming the energy system will require significant capital at a time of growing trade tensions, geopolitical instability and a “higher-for-longer” interest rate environment. How will investors, energy companies and government navigate the risks and opportunities to recalibrate the world’s energy system– and deliver the returns that stakeholders require? At the same time, will funding be available to support investment to meet world’s continuing need for conventional energy?
The pace of new technology continues to accelerate, challenging traditional ways of doing. Generative AI holds promise to enhance operational performance and productivity, optimize energy usage and drive efficiencies. It also gives rise to new risks including concerns over cybersecurity and privacy. A myriad of new solutions for circularity and sustainability, low carbon fuels, carbon removal and nature-based solutions, and more – all face challenges of deployment, adoption and scaling. New solutions in areas like storage, renewable gas, and nuclear energy continue to emerge. What lies ahead for technology and what models of innovation are being adopted to advance innovation and deployment? Technology and energy companies, as well as myriad start-ups, will present their solutions.
COP28 marked a new era as large industry players pledged to lower emissions and improve measurement and monitoring. Companies outside the energy industry are also increasingly setting emissions reduction targets and creating low-carbon products in everything from food and beverages to apparel and appliances. Voluntary carbon markets, corporate clean energy purchase, and renewable energy certificates are all gaining traction. What is ahead for the climate agenda? How will governments and industry continue to coalesce around shared goals and advance climate objectives?