Energy Transition

The countries making progress in the energy transition – plus other top energy stories

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Impressions from the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2024 in Dalian, People's Republic of China, 24 June 2024. Dalian International Conference Center. Copyright: World Economic Forum/Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary

Top energy stories: The countries making progress on energy transition; Energy on the agenda at 'Summer Davos'; and more. Image: World Economic Forum/Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary

Roberto Bocca
Head, Centre for Energy and Materials; Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum
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This article is part of: Annual Meeting of the New Champions
  • This round-up brings you the key energy stories from the energy sector over recent weeks.
  • Top energy stories: The countries making progress on energy transition; Energy on the agenda at 'Summer Davos'; Global fossil fuel consumption hit record high in 2023.
  • For more on the World Economic Forum’s work in the energy space, visit the Centre for Energy and Materials.

1. Countries making progress in the energy transition – Forum report

Almost all of the countries surveyed by the World Economic Forum in its annual Energy Transition Index have made progress towards switching to clean sources in the past decade.

But the pace of progress has slowed due to economic volatility, heightened geopolitical tensions and technological shifts.

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2024 finds Northern European countries dominate the top 10, with Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland leading the rankings.

Energy Transition Index 2024: Top 10 countries
Countries are making progress on the energy transition. Image: World Economic Forum

Major emerging economies, including China and Brazil, have also made significant progress, with China commissioning as much solar photovoltaic capacity in 2023 as the entire world did in 2022.

From using artificial intelligence to enhanced collaboration, read what Muqsit Ashraf, Global Lead, Accenture Strategy, and I think are the 5 actions needed to regain the energy transition momentum.

Accenture Chair and CEO Julie Sweet explains why Generative AI has tremendous potential to accelerate the energy transition.

2. Energy on the agenda at AMNC, 'Summer Davos'

Connecting climate, nature and energy was a key theme at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China.

Over three days and 12 dedicated sessions on energy subjects, world leaders discussed how the energy transition could drive growth and bring wider benefits to global society.

“Artificial Intelligence, green energy and biomedicine – I believe these sectors have the promise to evolve into multitrillion-dollar pillar industries,” said Li Qiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China.

"There's enough money or what we call 'dry powder' in the world to finance the energy transition. We just need to unlock that and get it to the countries that need it," said Paul Gruenwald, Global Chief Economist, S&P Global in the session Not Losing Momentum on the Energy Transition.

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In Unlocking Climate Leadership in a Competitive World, Liu Zhenmin, China's Special Envoy for Climate Change, said China and the US were working together on four key pillars: the energy transition, reduction of methane and other non-CO2 gases, the circular carbon economy and cooperation among all levels of government and institutions.

Rafizi Ramli, Malaysia's Minister of Economy, explained the country's approach to leveraging energy efficiency to enhance economic development, with an ambitious National Energy Transition Roadmap.

"A move towards a more sustainable economy, and decarbonization efforts, has to be able to manage the energy trilemma and also lessen the shocks to society," he told The Opportunity of Managing Energy Demand.

"One of the flagship projects in ASEAN is to make sure we can progress towards an integrated grid all the way from Laos, to Singapore and Indonesia."

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In Industry's Energy Revolution, Shin Hak Cheol, CEO, LG Chem, said the mass production of new battery technologies is "more difficult than we think" with huge amounts of capital needed and "some trial and error".

"We are doing everything we can do in the industry to advance the cost... but we need to do more in research and development."

From how to accelerate the adoption of EVs to lithium-ion battery supply chains and industry's energy revolution, catch up on the key energy sessions and quotes in this Deep Dive article.

3. News in brief: More energy stories from around the world

Global fossil fuel consumption and energy emissions reached record highs in 2023, despite a slight decrease in fossil fuels' share of the global energy mix, according to the Statistical Review of World Energy. Global primary energy consumption hit 620 Exajoules, with emissions surpassing 40 gigatonnes of CO2 for the first time.

Global primary energy consumption by fuel type. energy transition
Global energy consumption hit an all-time high in 2023. Image: Reuters

Natural gas-fired power generation in the US has increased by almost 6% compared to the same period last year due to above-average temperatures boosting air conditioner usage. Power generation from clean sources such as nuclear, hydro, solar and wind has also increased by 7.6% to a record 33.5 million MWh.

China's coal production has slowed down, following a period of rapid growth in the past two years. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China's mines produced 1,858 million tonnes of coal in the first five months of 2024. This marks a decrease of 54 million tonnes (-3%) compared to the previous year, where there was a growth of 98 million tonnes (+5%) in 2023 and 193 million tonnes (+12%) in 2022.

More than 70% of people in a survey of 77 countries want a quick transition away from fossil fuels, according to the United Nations Development Programme's Peoples’ Climate Vote 2024, including those in oil, gas and coal-producing countries.

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What's the World Economic Forum doing about the transition to clean energy?

European Union (EU) countries have agreed on a new sanctions package against Russia for its actions in Ukraine, which includes restrictions on Russian gas. The package specifically bans the re-export of Russian liquefied natural gas in EU waters. Import of gas from Russia through pipelines via Ukraine is still allowed.

Pope Francis, known for his advocacy on climate change, has ordered the construction of a solar farm to power Vatican City. The Vatican City State, based in Rome, is the smallest country in the world. The solar farm would be built outside Vatican walls, in Santa Maria Galeria, which belongs to the Vatican.

Europe saw a nearly 18% increase in hydro-powered electricity output between January and May 2024 compared to the same period in 2023. Energy think tank Ember reported that electricity generation from hydro dams in Europe reached 388 TWh, the highest in at least nine years, due to above-average rainfall. Europe's clean electricity generation rose to a record 1,260 TWh in the same period.

The European Commission has approved $3.2 billion of German state aid for the Hydrogen Core Network. The scheme was deemed beneficial by the Commission for promoting hydrogen uptake, despite potential competition and trade concerns.

4. More on energy from Agenda

Renewable energy will be an important catalyst for multiple sustainable development goals such as ecological restoration for life on land, decent work, and economic growth, write Carol Zhou, Forum Head of Platforms and Impact, and Yiran He, Forum Project Specialist, Industry Decarbonization. China holds more than half of the global market share in renewables equipment manufacturing and project development, with the potential to lead the entire value chain towards sustainable development.

The global battery industry for electric vehicles (EV) and energy storage needs to grow 17-fold by 2030, writes Inga Petersen, Executive Director of the Global Battery Alliance. In a sector increasingly marred by geostrategic competition, siloed policymaking risks increasing costs along the value chain, slowing EV adoption. The Global Battery Alliance is working to convene stakeholders to facilitate collaboration and collective action across the value chain.

Offshore wind plays a vital role in addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, yet it has possible impacts on nature. The industry needs to understand its dependence and impact on nature across its value chain, write Xi Xie the Forum's Project Lead, Friends of Ocean Action, China and Qin Haiyan, Secretary-General, Chinese Wind Energy Association. China's offshore wind industry has made a lot of effort to reduce the industry's negative impacts on nature and to promote systemic change.

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Contents
1. Countries making progress in the energy transition – Forum report 2. Energy on the agenda at AMNC, 'Summer Davos' 3. News in brief: More energy stories from around the world 4. More on energy from Agenda

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