According to Angela Wilkinson, the secretary general and CEO of the World Energy Council, the energy transition requires more than just an increase in renewable-powered electricity generation. While that is an essential part of the transition, Wilkinson notes that natural gas with carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), as well as hydrogen and significant investments in grids, are also necessary. During a panel moderated by Steve Sedgwick, Wilkinson argued that to scale up renewable energy, multiple “clean energy bridges” would need to be built.
Wilkinson stated, “We can’t let perfection be the enemy of the good in this, right?” She emphasized that to get renewables to scale, it will be essential to have other clean energy sources in the mix. “We’re going to have to have hydrogen [doing the] lifting, we’re going to have to have gas with CCUS [carbon capture, utilization and storage] lifting, we’re going to have to have grid strengthening going on,” added the CEO of the World Energy Council, the most extensive network of energy leaders.
The transition to renewable energy is a complex process that requires multiple solutions. Wilkinson’s comments suggest that a combination of natural gas with carbon capture, utilization, and storage, hydrogen, and significant investments in grids is necessary to achieve a cleaner energy mix. She also emphasizes the importance of taking action now and not waiting for the perfect solution. The energy transition will require collaboration and investment from various industries and governments worldwide.
The challenge of balancing the world’s energy needs with the imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has come to the fore, particularly since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year drove up energy prices. In the view of the energy industry, the transition to a low-carbon economy is part of the “energy trilemma”, which involves delivering reliable and affordable energy while increasing investment in renewables and other clean energy solutions.
CEOs and IPCC Clash
The CEOs of major international oil and gas companies, along with Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, Aramco, are advocating for an “orderly” transition that provides people with the secure and affordable energy supply they currently require from fossil fuels.
Nonetheless, the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are calling for immediate action to combat climate change. In a report last month, the IPCC sounded a “clarion call” for every nation, industry, and timeframe to massively accelerate climate efforts, according to UN Secretary-General António Guterres.