While the environmental case for the energy transition is apparent, more efforts are needed to shore up the business case.
Energy Transition

Energy for development: Everything you need to know from #SpecialMeeting24

Deep dive

While the environmental case for the energy transition is apparent, more efforts are needed to shore up the business case.

Ella Yutong Lin
Lead, Programming and Communication, World Economic Forum
Kate Whiting
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
  • Heads of state and leaders from politics, business and international organizations are gathering in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 28-29 April.
  • The Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development brings leaders together to leverage global cooperation for the energy transition economic development.
  • One of the three key pillars for the meeting is 'Catalysing action on energy for development'.

The World Economic Forum's Building Trust through an Equitable and Inclusive Energy Transition report highlighted that it's essential to prioritize equity, justice and inclusivity to unlock the full potential of a successful energy transition.

While there’s an urgent need to speed up progress, we must not lose sight of ensuring that everyone on the planet has just, affordable, and equitable access to energy to support sustained economic development.

Have you read?

While the environmental case for the energy transition is apparent, more efforts are needed to shore up the business case. This means strengthened business financial viability, increased investment in clean energy especially in developing and emerging markets, and robust energy transition supply chains.


How Davos 2024 set the agenda for accelerating the energy transition in a fair and cost-effective way

Another area of focus is transforming energy demand while also increasing clean energy supply. New clean power, grids and other related infrastructure must be deployed at an unprecedented speed and scale to achieve the goal of tripling renewables by 2030. Additionally, harnessing the potential of green molecules can propel transformation in the heavy industry and mobility sectors. All of this must happen together with efforts to reduce energy intensity and transform energy demand, especially in industry and the built environment.

The energy transition triangle
The energy triangle. Image: World Economic Forum

Leaders from across the public and private sectors will join the World Economic Forum's Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development to discuss how to ensure an equitable and financially viable energy transition, and urgent actions needed to transform energy demand and increase clean energy supply.

Highlights from key sessions

28 April - All times in UTC+3

H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, joined Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies; Amani Abou-Zeid, the African Union's Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalization; Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure; Shrikant Madhav Vaidya, Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd and Erasmo Carlos Battistella, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Be8, to explore the role of green molecules such as clean hydrogen, ammonia and biofuel in accelerating the energy transition and achieving climate goals.

Catch up on the full session below.


H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy was joined by Vicki Hollub, President and CEO, Occidental Petroleum Corporation; Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, European Commission; Darren Woods, Chairman and CEO, ExxonMobil; Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Qatar's Minister of State for Energy Affairs of the State of Qatar; President and CEO, QatarEnergy, Qatar Government and Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum for a session exploring the balance between energy security and energy equity that decouples growth from emissions, particularly in emerging and developing markets.

We must not forget that climate change and sustainability is a global issue, said H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and we can't work in silos. We have to be conscious that those in energy poverty do not have the luxury of making choices.


In the European Union, it was a record year for renewables, which shored up energy security and brought prices down, said Simson.


Hollub said "we've always been able to step up and overcome challenges" - it will take time to develop direct air capture technology, but it's essential to remove CO2 from the atmosphere as well as reducing emissions.


The combustion of oil products is the problem, and the emissions associated with it, said Woods. "You've got to find a technology to address the emissions."


With a goal to triple renewables by 2030, how can public and private stakeholders deploy them rapidly and responsibly? Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure of the United Arab Emirates joined Salem Alhajraf, Minister of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Electricity and Water of Kuwait; Li Zhenguo, President of Longi Green Energy Technology; Marco Arcelli, CEO of ACWA Power and Stephanie Jamison, Global Resources Industry Practices Chair; Sustainability Services Lead, Accenture to explore the priority actions needed.

Catch up on the full session here.


29 April

Transforming energy demand has economic and environmental advantages, but how can it be reduced across sectors and industries following the COP28 commitment to double the rate of energy efficiency by 2030?

Pietro Mendes, Secretary of Oil, Gas and Biofuels, Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil, joined Abdulrahman Al Fageeh, CEO of Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC); Samuele Ramadori, CEO, BrainBox AI and Fatma Thabet Chiboub, Tunisia's Minister of Industry to explore pathways to energy demand transformation.

Catch up on the key quotes in the X link below.


New nuclear, from small modulator reactors to fusion, provides opportunities beyond existing power plants.

Shunichi Miyanaga, Chairman of the Board of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, joined Rafaela Guedes, Senior Fellow, Brazilian Centre for International Relations (CEBRI); Kirsty Gogan, Founding Director and Co-Chief Executive Officer, TerraPraxis, Kam Ghaffarian, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Axiom Space, Cosmin Ghita, CEO, Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica SA to discuss what is needed to support the commercial viability of new nuclear solutions.

Catch up on the full session here.


We're all aware of the environmental benefits of the energy transition, but what about the business case?

Amin Nasser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Aramco joined Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman, Schneider Electric SE; and The Hon. Dr. Ashatu Kijaji, Minister of Industry and Trade of Tanzania; Jose Minaya, CEO, Nuveen and Arifin Tasrif, Indonesia's Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, to explore how the business and economic case can be strengthened.

Dr Kijaji said the biggest challenge facing the energy transition in Tanzania was getting investment from the private sector.


The energy transition is "one of the hottest topics within the investor community," said Minaya, noting the private sector appetite for investment in clean energy is there.


Affordable access to critical minerals is essential for the energy transition. How can public and private leaders collaboratively ensure sustainable and sufficient production of critical minerals?

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, joined Jeremy Weir, CEO of Trafigura Group; Melissa Lott, Professor, Climate School, Columbia University; and Kgosientso Ramokgopa, Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, The Presidency of South Africa to explore the way ahead on critical minerals.

Sobotka said: "People do not understand that there are companies that do the right thing, and then there are companies that do not do the right thing. And today there's very little differentiation.

"A unit of copper is the same price, whether it's been produced sustainably or unsustainably. It's a market price. It doesn't matter. So behaviour, good behaviour, racing to the top as opposed to the bottom is not rewarded. Not for companies, not for investors. And that has to change."

Reads, publications and Forum insights

Here's some background reading of recent World Economic Forum publications on energy and materials.

A just, equitable, and inclusive energy transition requires trust, collaboration, and guidance from policymakers and business leaders. This white paper offers a framework and 10 critical questions to help them achieve their goals

This briefing paper lays out six enablers to ensure the energy transition delivers a positive impact on nature and benefits from it.

The authors of this report outline 10 key risk-management strategies and three priority collaboration themes – facilitate policy dialogue, support investment mobilization, and accelerate innovation – to ensure the security of critical minerals essential to the ongoing energy transition.

Boosting green hydrogen adoption is vital to accelerate net-zero action in India. This insight report explains how.

This report outlines actions for businesses and countries to enhance energy management, efficiency and carbon-intensity reduction.

Related topics:
Energy TransitionGlobal CooperationEmerging Technologies
Highlights from key sessionsReads, publications and Forum insights

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