Returned on Friday (11 October) from four days in Doha where I participated in the final annual Global Clean Energy Forum sponsored by the International Herald Tribune (IHT). In the future IHT will be known as the International New York Times.
The Forum organizers put together an excellent set of international speakers on a broad range of clean energy issues, including fracking gas and it’s impact on investments in renewables, energy technology innovation, sustainable energy in Arab and developing countries, carbon capture and sequestration, and perspectives of the financial community on investments in renewable energy. The agenda can be found at http://www.inytcleanenergy.com/2013-agenda.asps.
Some of my take-aways are the following:
– shale gas from fracking is seen as a definite part of future energy supplies and will be considered ‘complimentary’ to other natural gas supplies such as those from the large reserves in Qatar.
– the availability of relatively low cost, large shale gas supplies will affect the pace of investments in renewable energy technologies.
– the fact that water and energy issues are ‘inextricably linked’ is gaining wider acceptance but is still not routinely mentioned in discussions of energy supplies.
– global investment in deployment of renewables is increasing, but the pace of investment will have its ups and downs, with national policies being a critical determining factor in these early days.
– transportation will be an important future market for fuel cell and other forms of green electricity.
– there is much opportunity and need for innovation in clean energy technologies, with a corresponding need for appropriate incentives.
– The United Nations is finally on board with the need for greater attention to energy issues in sustainable development (there were no energy goals in the 2000 Millennium Development Goals).
– The financial community sees solar energy as the best bet for future renewable energy investments. De-risking clean energy investments is a critical need in funding decisions.
– three speakers made a strong case for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as a means of addressing global warming and climate change, especially in heavily carbon emitting industries such as cement production. Lots of questions remain, and will be discussed in a future blog.