Saudi Arabia sets stage for energy breakthroughs with global forum in Riyadh

Preparations are nearing completion ahead of the 44th International Association for Energy Economics Conference, which will be held in Riyadh at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center from Feb. 4-9.

Held in the Middle East and North Africa for the very first time under the theme “Pathways to a Clean, Stable and Sustainable Energy Future,” the conference will bring together policymakers, academics, business leaders and NGO officials, providing a “platform to present, discuss, and debate critical challenges and solutions surrounding the unfolding energy trilemma,” KAPSARC said.

“The need for such dialogue is crucial in light of rising energy costs and increasing pressures to transition from fossil fuel reliance to clean and renewable alternatives. Individuals, businesses, industries and nations require a long-term balance between energy reliability, affordability and sustainability,” it added.

The foundations for successful post-conference outcomes have already been laid with Egypt’s recent hosting of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) last month, KAPSARC said.

The event also has the potential to consolidate the wider region’s climate change leadership credentials ahead of COP28 in the UAE in 2023.

Fahad Alajlan, president of KAPSARC, said: “As accelerating the energy transition becomes ever more imperative for achieving net zero and definitively overcoming the evolving climate crisis in due course, the global community has a unique opportunity to work together to realize mutual aspirations.

“The 44th IAEE Conference represents another key chapter in facilitating dialogue and exchanging knowledge and innovation on the local, regional, and international levels and we are proud to be hosting an event of such profile and influence.”

From energy access, security and transition to technology developments, partnership frameworks and pathways of change, the event’s open forum format will enable participants and the wider scientific community to identify opportunities that “unlock new value in an evolving energy landscape, as well as discuss breakthrough research that helps combat climate change and shapes the sustainable and holistic energy policies of tomorrow.”

Dr. Majid Al-Moneef, chairman of the Saudi Association for Energy Economics, said: “This timely conference will address the energy and environmental issues facing the region and the world,” adding: “Saudi Arabia has been an active player in the global energy and climate change fora, launching the Saudi and Middle East green initiatives.”

The event’s program will cover a range of views over 11 plenary sessions and three workshops, beginning with an inaugural speech by Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who is also KAPSARC’s chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Renowned keynote speakers and panelists taking part in the conference include Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of S&P Global, Jason Bordoff of Columbia University, Javier Blas of Bloomberg, Jeffrey Currie of Goldman Sachs, Roberta Gatti of the World Bank, as well as Ahmed Al-Khowaiter and Ashraf Al-Ghazzawi of Saudi Aramco.

Other confirmed speakers and panelists include Arunabha Ghosh, Council on Energy, Environment and Water; Hoesung Lee, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Rola Dashti, UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia; Bassam Fattouh, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies; Amrita Sen, co-founder and director of research at Energy Aspects, and Kenneth Medlock III, professor at Rice University in the US.

Presentations will be based on independent research and academic findings, providing the basis for data-driven discussions, KAPSARC said.

The program committee of the 44th IAEE Conference has accepted more than 300 papers from authors across 42 countries to present in concurrent panel and daily poster sessions.

The most popular topics submitted included energy and the environment, renewables, the economy, energy modeling and electricity.

“Saudi Arabia is a giant of today’s energy and already investigating a future made of renewables and green hydrogen,” said Jean-Michel Glachant, 2023 president of the IAEE.

“Our IAEE annual conference in Riyadh is an outstanding opportunity to meet the Saudis and discover the Middle East. Missing that is missing the point,” he added.

The conference will also feature an array of social and cultural activities, allowing participants to experience Saudi culture. There will be visits to the historic Diriyah area, home to one of the Kingdom’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.

“This is a significant milestone for the IAEE because the Middle East plays a critical role in world energy markets, and we think it’s important that we have a presence in that region,” said Peter Hartley, IAEE 2022 president and professor of economics at Rice University.


This article appeared on Arab News