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Futurist Keynote: The Future of Energy and Business, ADIPEC


In these ADIPEC sessions futurist speaker Matthew Griffin explores the future of the energy industry and its impact on global business, culture, and society.


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Firstly, it was a great honour to be asked to be the keynote for both days at ADIPEC, the world’s largest energy conference that sees over 100,000 energy professionals descend on Abu Dhabi every year, which we then followed up with a couple of fireside chats and interviews where I and the hosts discussed the future of a variety of topics that included the future of everything, from energy to sustainability, to the innovations and technologies we have on hand today to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Problems such as famine, water scarcity, wealth inequality, and more.


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Being ADIPEC however it was inevitable that there would be a huge focus on the future of energy and how the traditional oil and gas ecosystem and giants could pivot and re-invent themselves and their operations for a world dominated not by fossil fuels but by clean, green alternatives such as Ammonia, Fusion, Hydro, Hydrogen, Nuclear, Solar, and Wind power, and of course all manner of battery systems – small and otherwise.


Rewind and replay, watch the session


While from the outside it might look as though this energy transition is moving along at a meagre pace, even though we now have over a trillion watts of renewables installed, and from my experience at the event I have to say that everything is in flux and, as much as there can be, that companies of all shapes and sizes from startups to the oil majors are rewiring their cultures, investing in new operating models and technologies, and whether they like it or not are now having to go with the trend rather than against it.


Rewind and replay, watch the session


For example, while investments in new oil and gas projects has fallen from over $750 Billion in 2010 to “just” $250 Billion in 2020 new renewable energy projects last year saw a record of over 250Gw of new capacity coming online versus “just” 64Gw of new fossil fuel based generation capacity – and that figure has been declining for over three years now which indicates that change is indeed taking place.


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However, and even though I was enrolled in the Middle East Energy Club as an honorary member, during my sessions I made the audiences happy while at the same time probably both pleasing and upsetting Greta Thunberg. After all as she so often demands, and rightly, we must transition from the old global energy system to the new one as quickly as possible, and here’s the rub … today there are no startups that could rapidly stand up a 10Gw wind farm in the ocean, for example, but the oil majors can. Which then leads us to this uncomfortable truth – in order to transition as quickly as possible in Greta’s words we’ll need the companies who helped make the climate change mess in the first place, their equipment, and their expertise, which then means we need to ramp up our investments in them in order to support them. And, if that wasn’t an uncomfortable truth then I don’t know what is… sorry Greta.

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