ABU DHABI, The Global Energy Forum, which is being held for the first time in the region, launched in Abu Dhabi today in the presence of Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy, and Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and CEO of the ADNOC Group.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the event was also attended by Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, along with a number of senior professionals, experts and decision-makers in the energy sector.

The two-day forum is being organised by the US Atlantic Council, in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, Mubadala, IPIC and Masdar.

In the opening speech, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber paid tribute to the five UAE diplomats whose lives were cut short, while trying to bring humanitarian relief to Afghanistan.

"Their sacrifice reminds us that the values that unite us are stronger than any evil that attempts to divide us," he said.

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber noted that the Forum represents an important addition to the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, saying it will add a critical geopolitical perspective to the central challenge of how we meet the world's growing demand for energy.

"For over a century, politics and economics have influenced the energy sector, but today's complex, inter-connected world requires us to have an even deeper understanding of trends locally, regionally and globally," he added.

He further said the energy outlook for 2040 reveals three major trends: First: Energy demand will sharply grow by 25 percent. Second: Most of this new demand will come from non-OECD countries that will make up two thirds of all energy consumption by 2040. And Third: A steep reduction in the cost of renewables, especially solar is reshaping the economics of energy.

"In fact, a new economic model is emerging, based on the complementarity of new and traditional forms of energy, where both reinforce each other to efficiently and sustainably meet rising demand. Electric vehicles are a growing segment of the transportation sector, yet oil will remain a primary fuel for decades to come and a staple ingredient for refined and petrochemical products. And natural gas will play a key role in generating lower emission power, alongside renewable and nuclear energy."

He went on to say: "The bottom line is simple: there is no silver bullet solution to the world's growing energy needs. Every form will be essential. All must work in close integration across borders, multiple geographies and diverse regulatory frameworks."

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber thanked the Atlantic Council for convening this important gathering of leaders from the entire energy spectrum, alongside some of the world's top policy thinkers.

"Collectively, we will deepen our understanding of the critical challenges before us, anticipate future scenarios, and together, we will suggest practical solutions. I am confident that the combined vision in this room will make a positive contribution to our common energy future."

Suhail Al Mazrouei opened his speech by saying: "We are so excited to see this gathering after an intense collaboration and work with the Atlantic Council. We wanted to bring the Atlantic Council to focus on this chapter of energy because in any geopolitical situation, you go and look, and you will find energy is either an enabler or an issue that you need to resolve."

He added that this event comes in between two very important events for the industry and for the region. One is the largest oil and gas conference in the world, ADIPEC. The second is the Sustainability Week that is ahead of us the rest of the coming week. And each one of those events gather the best minds and the best companies in the world and the best � and most of the regulators to come and try to resolve the issues around energy.

"This first Atlantic Council Energy Forum comes at a very exciting time for us in the United Arab Emirates. Two days ago, we launched our Energy Strategy 2050 that we developed with all of the stakeholders working in energy in the United Arab Emirates. And when I say energy, I'm not talking about only electricity; transportation, electricity, all forms of energy. And after two years of an intense work and collaboration with most of the countries who have developed their strategies or those who are working on developing their strategy, we came up with the conclusion and we set the strategy, which was endorsed," he said.

He continued by saying, just to give you headlights of that, or heading numbers of that with that policy, it came actually in a balance between the green forms of energy, or the renewable forms of energy, and the nuclear, which has zero emissions, and the fossil fuels. So we call it 50 at '50. So the energy policy or strategy in the United Arab Emirates called for an energy mix of 44 percent renewable energy and around 6 percent nuclear, and 38 percent natural gas and around 12 percent super-critical clean coal � or whatever technology comes to clean � to further clean the coal, because we have seen an immense work trying to make coal work, because that energy that is abundant around us, we need to clean it."

Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council, said: "It's our great honor to hold this forum under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Emirates Armed Forces. Before I move into the conference opening, I want to take a moment to communicate our deepest condolences to our hosts for the loss of your diplomats in Kandahar, Afghanistan yesterday. Our hearts and our prayers are with their families, their friends, and all Emiratis for the loss of these courageous civil servants carrying out an essential humanitarian mission in support of the people and Afghanistan. We have seen the UAE extend its hand around the world to serving others, and this service of commitment to creating a better world occasionally entails this sort of risk and this sort of sacrifice. The diplomats were in Kandahar to lay a foundation stone for an orphanage brought there by the UAE."

A moment of silence was observed for those who were lost in memory of their service.

Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., Chairman, Atlantic Council, said he was pleased to attend this event in Abu Dhabi, a truly exceptional city that brims with culture, history and life, while also being a crucial hub for technology and innovation.

"In so many ways, you are redefining 21st century standards for livability and competitiveness," he added.

Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said: "Having this Forum here in Abu Dhabi at this time could not have been more appropriate, with the start of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week tomorrow. The world is witnessing an unprecedented energy transformation. Countries rich and poor are scaling up renewables deployment to levels many thought impossible only a few years ago, and the UAE is at the forefront of this transformation."

He referred to the UAE Energy Plan 2050, which aims to increase clean energy use by 50 percent, improve energy efficiency by 40 percent, and cut carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2050. Renewables are expected to account for about 44 percent of the country's energy consumption by that time.

"Remarkable that a country that has built its wealth and its standing on the basis of the old economy is looking forward to a new energy future, diversifying its economy and creating the basis for sustainability. This involves about $163 billion of investment up to 2050, and we are seeing around the world more and more countries that are making announcements of very ambitious targets. For example, China just spoke about a $360 billion investment in clean energy, and many other countries which are stepping up to the plate. And we hope that this will be a momentum that will bring others along with it. Such ambitious plans in the UAE would not have been possible without a bold and visionary leadership to which � to which I wish to pay tribute in the person of His Highness Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who has exemplified this leadership.

Source: Emirates News Agency