Foreword From the Chief Executive

In this edition we focus on COP26, the ground-breaking climate summit bringing together world leaders, negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens of the world for 12 days of talks in Glasgow, Scotland, from 31 October until 12 November.

It is undeniable that the UK government is working hard to lead the way by setting high ambitions, backed up by taking action. The UK was recently ranked the fourth greenest country in the world out of the top 40 categorised as ‘high income’ by the World Bank in 2019 – only narrowly beaten by Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Visual Capitalist’s latest findings also put the UK second in the world in terms of slowing its CO2 emissions rate, behind Denmark.

What sets countries such as Denmark and the UK apart is the detailed thought they have put into developing roadmaps to achieve their net-zero commitments. The UK’s 10-point plan, recently backed up by detailed hydrogen and net-zero strategies, is critical in enabling stakeholders to understand how they can participate in the transition and build confidence that investments in low-carbon technologies and capacities will not be in vain.

In this edition of Energy Focus, UK Energy Minister Greg Hands provides our View from the Top, giving insights into government thinking on bringing net zero to life – particularly in terms of supply chains. He also comments on his role in the UK Energy Supply Chain Taskforce (UKESC), the new industry-government body that aims to amplify the supply chain’s voice in policy development and action. EIC is pleased to be UKESC secretariat and co-chair, and know how lucky we are to have the support of Minister Hands and new Export Minister Mike Freer.

As Minister Hands mentions in the article, UKESC “will form the basis of a first-of-its-kind roadmap setting out practical steps that will enable the UK-based energy supply chain to take maximum advantage of the development of clean growth technologies, the growing export market potential and the energy transition. Watch this space.”

We are also lucky to have UAE Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, HE Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei, who talks about creating a global market for green hydrogen and the country’s plans to take this forward.

As we contemplate the economic and technological challenges around decarbonisation, we are also increasingly aware that this is about connecting with young people. We must ensure they feel committed to, and passionate about, the work our industry is doing to decarbonise, so they commit to the sector for the long term. We need them to become our future leaders, to complete the important work we are now starting.

Two features in this issue focus on the rising stars of our industry. First, we talk about empowering the next generation of energy leaders, inviting previous EIC/RGU Rising Star award winners to ask them what’s important for the industry to focus on now and what the future of energy should look like. We are also delighted to hear from Sinéad Obeng, Chair of the Energy Institute Young Professionals Council, about her hopes for COP26 and a fair and just transition to net zero.

These are certainly unique times. I’ve been CEO of EIC for more than five years and have been running business in different energy sectors for more than 25 years, and I’ve never seen a market like this. In a post-pandemic world, EIC data points to a high and sustained spike in demand for all commodities, driven by unprecedented growth in all forms of life, including industry and transport. This will lead to at least 20% growth in project demand across all energy sectors in a short time period.

This could be defined as a boom, and most commentators link this period with shortages of materials, logistics and skilled workers – which could lead to a stint of relatively high inflation. With high demand and inflation, plus unprecedented interest in new technology development and government investment in green infrastructure, technologies and workforces, we could see a future that many would call the new industrial revolution.

What a time to be working in this industry and making a difference. The energy industry is the place to work, where the best businesses will attract the most entrepreneurial, sustainable and diverse people and ideas.

COP26’s importance cannot be underestimated. It is beyond doubt within governments, in boardrooms and at family dinner tables that we are running out of time to implement actions to protect the planet – and I am encouraged by the passion from leaders of all walks of life to stop waiting and start acting.

So, hold on tight. The next few years are going to be some of the most dynamic and important for us all. 

Stuart Broadley Chief Executive Officer, Energy Industries Council