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Strategic Conference

Recent geopolitical events have disrupted energy supplies leaving the world with a trilemma of how to ensure energy security and affordability while staying on track with net-zero commitments. The World Utilities Congress will bring together energy ministers, policymakers, global CEOs and business leaders from around the globe to share their insights and perspectives on the industry affairs today and come up with tangible outputs for the current challenges.

From the big questions, such as the role of the utilities sector in the global energy transition, to practical challenges around water and energy security and hydrogen distribution, to the role of ESG and sustainable finance in the power, water, gas and district cooling, the Strategic Conference programme will be the forum for the industry to come together and address the issues and opportunities that matter.

The strategic conference will also allow industry leaders to directly engage policymakers and discuss the kind of support they need to ensure a secure and sustainable power and water future.

Recent geopolitical events have disrupted energy supplies leaving the world with a trilemma of how to ensure energy security and affordability while staying on track with net-zero commitments. The World Utilities Congress will bring together energy ministers, policymakers, global CEOs and business leaders from around the globe to share their insights and perspectives on the industry affairs today and come up with tangible outputs for the current challenges.

From the big questions, such as the role of the utilities sector in the global energy transition, to practical challenges around water and energy security and hydrogen distribution, to the role of ESG and sustainable finance in the power, water, gas and district cooling, the Strategic Conference programme will be the forum for the industry to come together and address the issues and opportunities that matter.

The strategic conference will also allow industry leaders to directly engage policymakers and discuss the kind of support they need to ensure a secure and sustainable power and water future.

The Strategic Conference programme FOCUSED on the following themes:

  • DIGITAL INNOVATION

    Many industries are ramping up efforts to decarbonise their operations and the utilities sector is no exception. The energy transition has become a driver for new business models and capabilities. Falling prices of renewables and technology advancements have made them an attractive alternative to hydrocarbons. In addition, many countries, including China, India, Russia, UAE and Turkey, are turning to nuclear as a reliable clean energy source. Gas/LNG is also continuing to play an important role in the energy transition.

    A path toward a carbon-free future requires the industry to address the intermittent nature of solar and wind power by exploring available storage solutions, as well as taking advantage of technologies that help improve energy efficiency and achieve operational excellence. In addition, companies must futureproof their grids in response to increased mass electrification.

    To keep pace with increasingly ambitious net-zero targets and commitments, power and water utilities should position themselves as proactive leaders within the energy transition, making themselves an attractive target for new capital investments.

  • DECARBONISATION, ENERGY TRANSITION AND COP28

    Digital technologies are transforming how utilities serve customers, identify market opportunities and plan for long-term growth. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence, robotics, machine learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), digital twins, blockchain, edge computing and other technical innovations enables companies to improve their energy efficiency, reduce equipment failure and optimise demand side management.

    Advanced sensors and metering technologies are transforming not only electric and water grids but entire cities. Smart grids handle bidirectional power flows, capture and report large quantities of data, enabling advanced predictive maintenance models, decreased electricity and water losses and lower carbon emissions. The success of smart grids and smart cities depends on the seamless integration of wired and wireless communications amongst all devices, as well as the ability to develop robust cyber security strategies.

    Technological advances also call for new capital. Grid investment plans should incorporate a wide variety of new technologies including advanced inverters, grid management and dispatch tools, and grid-level energy storage equipment.

  • SUPPLY AND DEMAND DYNAMICS

    With multi-billion dollar projects, partnerships lie at the heart of the utilities sector. Many collaboration opportunities are available within the industry, on both regional and global levels. Governments and countries can work together to ensure economic prosperity and security of power and water supplies. Utilities, EPCs, technology providers and consultancies can work together to uncover synergies that will drive efficiency, digital transformation and decarbonisation efforts. Electricity suppliers can partner with customers via distributed generation models to achieve mutual benefits.

    Being a global meeting place for the utilities leaders, the World Utilities Congress helps cement the existing partnerships and discover new collaboration and growth opportunities.

  • TALENT DEVELOPMENT AND WORKFORCE OF THE FUTURE

    Customer-centricity together with technological advances are paving the way for new business models and market structures that support existing and new, non-traditional providers. Modern customers have high expectations from their utilities providers, and utilities of the future should move from selling water and power as a commodity to having a segmented value proposition focused on customer needs. Smart end-to-end networks offer businesses the opportunity to improve productivity and efficiency while enhancing customer service.

    Power and water consumers also have an important role to play in the energy transition. By optimising their usage, customers can reduce their bills, take the pressure off grids and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases. Utilities providers need to develop comprehensive demand side management models that will empower customers to be active participants in the energy transition.

  • RAISING CAPITAL AND PROJECT FINANCE

    Global population growth, economic development and rapid urbanisation are increasingly impacting the power and water sectors, as demand for electricity and water grows and the pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rises. The increased demand makes water scarcity an important issue that go vernments and industry leaders need to address, finding alternative sources to depleted groundwater, which can be enabled by advances in water desalination, water treatment solutions and demand side management.

    Many countries are also moving from a linear centralised distribution system to a more flexible, complex and decentralised system, generating major investment opportunities, for existing and new players. To effectively incorporate distributed energy resources (DER) into the grid utilities should adapt their tariff schemes to acknowledge different types of customers, define a solution for DER technical integration and put in place process and organisational changes to make all the pieces work together.

    Circular Economy frameworks offer utilities the opportunity to transform their value chains, reducing or eliminating waste, reusing and recycling resources, which in turn can improve efficiencies, reduce costs and decrease carbon emissions. Existing business models need to evolve to enable equipment re-purposing or recycling, better heat waste recovery, carbon capture and use, and improved water cycle management systems.

PREVIOUS GLOBAL EXPERT SPEAKERS INCLUDED: