World Energy Issues Monitor 2018 - Perspectives on the Grand Energy Transition

This report covers the World Energy Council’s ninth annual survey of key challenges and opportunities faced by energy leaders in managing a robust energy transition. The World Energy Council’s Issues Monitor is the only instrument that identifies the energy context of specific countries and regions in the world, through an analysis of 42 issues affecting the energy system and by analyzing the perceptions of key issues from over 1,200 leaders across the Council’s network. The most important issues are described below.

The Sustainable Energy Transition

This report also includes input from the Start-up Energy Transition Award community, which every year identifies 100 top innovators and start-ups in the global energy scene. This is an important global perspective to understand, as innovators, much like early adopters, set the tone for what is to come. The report shows that blockchain and renewable energies will be of high importance, though the future of blockchain is more uncertain than renewable energies. Therefore, it is possible for offshore renewable energy to play an important role in the future. 

Tracking Trends

The trends that have stayed constant with the least amount of movement over the years are electricity prices, US policy and China growth. These issues have significant impact on all countries. On the other hand, the issues that have increased in importance show that the energy transition is moving in the right direction. Digitalization and electric storage have greater importance, showing their expanding role in transforming renewable energies. Therefore, it is evident that there has been continued evolution of the global energy sector towards a more diversified global energy mix with greater penetration of renewable technologies. 

The Rise of Decarbonization, Digitalization and Decentralization

Since 2010, the Monitor has tracked a steady and significant increase in energy leaders’ attention to the path of decarbonization. It is therefor crucial to improve clarity around the strategy and value of innovation as we move forward. As the innovation cluster rises in the energy leaders’ agenda, there is a key focus on issues linked to digitalization and the action needed to facilitate the convergence of new energy technology including Data AI, Mobile Cloud and Blockchain. Lastly, centralized economies such a nuclear and coal have decidedly dropped in attention and priority. In turn, decentralized systems, including innovative business models for demand side innovation and management, move progressively in the opposite direction, as markets start to be designed to slow for behind-the-meter generation and structured prosumer-grid operator communication. 

This report is uniquely positioned to support the intergovernmental organizations, governments and companies to broaden their understanding of global, regional and national energy issues. The Issues Monitor provides an impartial perspective by including all the world’s economic areas, every kind of energy ranging from renewables to fossil fuels, and every kind of organization.

Full report: 

By Martine Farstad