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Global energy leaders highlight need for greater investment in clean, secure and sustainable electricity systems amid Covid-19 crisis

29 May 2020

Energy ministers and electricity industry CEOs from around the world took part in a roundtable discussion today about the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the electricity sector and the need to mobilise investments for secure and sustainable power systems. The high-level virtual meeting was co-hosted by the International Energy Agency and the Government of the United Kingdom.

The discussion focused on the implications of the Covid-19 crisis for investments in the power sector that are needed to support clean energy transitions, as well as the opportunities for international co-operation and collaboration. The participants recognised the critical importance of the electricity sector in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic to keep essential services running, hospitals open, and communication flowing. They applauded the efforts of electricity companies and their employees in keeping the lights on despite the health risks involved.

Participants included 11 government ministers and 9 company CEOs, representing 5 continents and 60% of the global electricity system. The discussion was co-chaired by Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the United Kingdom’s Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth. The list of high-profile attendees and a link to the Chairs’ Summary can be found below.

“Resilient electricity systems are vital for modern societies today and for a sustainable energy future, but they need much greater investment,” Dr Birol said. “It was highly encouraging to see so many global energy leaders focused on this critical issue today. The IEA’s World Energy Investment 2020 report this week highlighted that global investment in the power sector is set to fall 10% this year, compounding previous declines. The drop in investment in electricity grids, an essential but often overlooked part of the shift to cleaner energy, is set to be even steeper. Renewables like wind and solar won’t be able to fulfil their great promise without robust infrastructure that reliably delivers the power they produce to consumers.”

Today’s roundtable discussion on electricity systems was one in a series leading up to the IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit, which will take place on 9 July.

Co-hosts

  • The Rt Hon Mr. Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, United Kingdom
  • Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency

Government

  • The Honourable Mr. Angus Taylor, Minister for Energy, Ministry for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Australia
  • H.E. Mr. Bento Alburquerque, Minister of Mines and Energy, Brazil
  • The Honourable Mr. Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources, Canada
  • H.E. Mr. Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, Denmark
  • H.E. Mr. Hiroshi Kajiyama, Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Japan
  • H.E. Mr. Michal Kurtyka, Minister of Climate, Poland
  • Mr. LIU Baohua, Vice Minister of Energy, China
  • Mr. JOO Youngjoon, Deputy Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy, Korea
  • Dr. Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry, Singapore
  • Mr. Mark Menezes, Under Secretary of Energy, Department of Energy, United States

Industry

  • Mr. Claudio Facchin, President ABB Power Grids, ABB Power Grids
  • Mr. Andres Gluski, Member of EEI’s Executive Committee, President and CEO, AES Corporation
  • Mr. Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chief Executive Officer, EDF
  • Mr. Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager, Enel
  • Mr. Hiroaki Nakanishi, Executive Chairman, Hitachi
  • Mr. José Ignacio Sánchez Galán, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Iberdrola
  • Mr. Gurdeep Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, NTPC
  • Mr. Alistair Phillips-Davies, Chief Executive, SSE
  • Ms. Manon van Beek, Chief Executive Officer, TenneT