Three energy leaders of tomorrow from New Zealand to get their say at 2013 World Energy Congress

Monday 24 June 2013, 12:10PM
By Business NZ

The next generation of energy industry leaders will play a key role at the World Energy Congress in Korea, 13 to 17 October 2013, as the event launches its Future Energy Leaders Programme (FELP) says BusinessNZ Energy Council (BEC) Chair, Dr Rob Whitney.

The initiative is aimed at attracting to the Congress some of the brightest young talent from across the globe.  One hundred delegates from 44 countries have been selected to take part, including three from New Zealand.  A total of 46 nationalities will be represented on the programme.  This elite group will contribute their unique insights to the Congress programme, which has been developed under the overall theme of “Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today”.

All FELP participants are working in energy-related fields, including government, industry, finance, academia and NGOs, and were nominated as a Future Energy Leader by their home countries in Africa, Asia/Oceania, Europe, Latin America, North America, and the Middle East.  Financial support for the programme is being provided by the World Energy Congress Organising Committee and the Korean government’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The BEC, as New Zealand’s member committee of the World Energy Council, welcomes the opportunity to identify New Zealand’s young energy sector leaders and we’re excited to be able to offer them this experience says Dr Whitney.  The FELP offers a unique opportunity to identify, encourage and inspire the next generation of energy leaders, facilitating a genuinely global dialogue on crucial developments in the energy sector and the ability to bring this into a New Zealand context.

Our future energy leaders from business (Sheena Thomas, Z Energy and Linda Mulvihill, Fonterra) and government (Jenny Lackey, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, EECA) reflects our desire to facilitate greater understanding and the sharing of new ideas as we strive to build a sustainable energy future.

Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, commented:

“I am excited that such a diverse group of bright young talent will be joining us at this year’s Congress. It is the emerging energy leaders who drive the global energy transformation and hold the key to our sustainable energy future.  Their insights will help steer the discussions at the Congress and underpin our ambition: to provide sustainable energy systems for the benefit of all.”

He added: “As a former WEC Future Energy Leader myself I know how inspirational and transformative this group can be.”

As preparations for the most important energy event of the year gather pace, the Future Energy Leaders have already been assigned to working groups covering the following key themes:

  • New frontiers for oil and gas: are we ready? Do we need them?
  • Transitioning away from carbon energy: what are the alternatives?
  • Financing mechanisms for the development of small to mid-scale energy projects
  • The role of alternative transport fuels: what does the future hold?
  • The global master plan: Do we need one? What would it look like?
  • What technology can fundamentally change the power generation portfolio by 2050?
  • Moving towards a smart energy future
  • Energy without limits: meeting the needs of the poorest communities
  • The global geopolitics of oil and gas


New Zealand’s unique contribution to past FELPs has been recognised with the appointment of Nathan Bittle from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as a previous FELP participant to be one of the working group leaders.

Hwan-eik Cho, Chairman of the Daegu 2013 Organising Committee, commented:

“As the sector’s premier event, the World Energy Congress is the ideal platform to showcase the talent of young leaders today.  We are particularly grateful for the generous support of the Korean government’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, which is giving financial assistance to FELP delegates from developing countries.  I am confident that all participants in this important programme will make a significant contribution to our discussions, and look forward to welcoming them to Korea.”

This year’s Congress is only the second to be held in East Asia in the event’s 90-year history.  Delegates from across the global energy and related sectors will include government ministers, heads of state and current and future industry leaders from both developed and developing nations.  The event, being hosted by the World Energy Council and the WEC Daegu 2013 Organising Committee, which represents the Council’s Korean members, will have three New Zealand speakers being the Hon Tim Groser, Minister for Climate Change Issues, Mr Mike Underhill, CEO of EECA, and Dr Rob Whitney, CEO of CRL Energy and Chair of the BEC.