27th Annual National Energy and Development Conference
November 14-15, 2023, Divani Caravel Hotel, Athens
The interaction of energy security with geopolitics and the challenges involved in the transformation of the energy sector are two key aspects of IENE’s 27th Annual National Conference "Energy and Development", which will be held on November 14 and 15, 2023, at the Divani Caravel Hotel in Athens.
Once again, the "Energy and Development" conference, which has been established as one of Greece’s main events for energy policy and business, will cover a wide range of topics, including oil, electricity and gas market, RES, decarbonation etc., while discussing the economic, social and geopolitical implications of pursued policies. As usual the conference is expected to attract a large number of senior executives and experts from the energy sector of Greece and from abroad.
As the war in Ukraine enters its second year, the EU's energy security for next winter remains a big gamble. Furthermore, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in a report in mid-July, that if Russia decided to completely stop the flow of natural gas, the situation could become most difficult for Europe during the winter period 2023-2024 - especially in low temperature conditions - even if its storages facilities were almost 100% full. Thus, the surge in energy prices and the consequent overall burden on the budgets of member states will once again bring to the fore issues related to inflation, fiscal stability and social cohesion in Europe.
In this context, the energy autonomy of the EU is becoming not only a matter of strategic choice but is also presents a great challenge. As it will be thoroughly discussed in this year's "Energy and Development" conference, this setting will have to be contrasted with the goals set by the policies for green transition, as summarized in the ambitious REPower EU plan. Therefore, the conference is expected to discuss if RES are sufficient for the EU's energy sufficiency or whether they should be supplemented by the utilisation of the hydrocarbon deposits of the continent. Also, as Europe’s energy efficiency policy is related to the EU's RES strategy, this year the conference will analyze the policies for buildings, transport and industry, examining, at the same time, how much they contribute to the development of the European and especially of the Greek economy. Moreover, in the light of increased demands on energy security, issues related to energy infrastructure will be examined, both for electricity and also for oil and natural gas. Cutting-edge technologies, such as hydrogen will also receive ample attention.
But also with regard to the domestic agenda, the "Energy and Development" of 2023 will discuss the significant challenges faced by RES, as their high penetration in Greece’s electricity grid brings to the table , and rather urgently, a number of issues. Although bilateral contracts (PPAs) are emerging as a useful tool for the further development of RES without subsidies, while the legislative framework for net metering has also improved, the need to expand and upgrade the country's electricity networks remains a top priority, as it is underlined in a latest IENE study. Already, during the summer, the ERAEF tender for energy storage units was announced, while the critical issue of the management of RES generated electricity, which is lately rejected by the system due to overload, has also arisen. It is expected that both energy storage and rejected RES production will be hotly debated in this year’s IENE conference.
As far as Greece is concerned, but also with implications at EU level, this year's conference will discuss the new scenario that potentially opens up in hydrocarbons. As the recent seismic findings south and southwest of Crete are auspicious, and with the first exploratory drilling planned for the second half of 2024, Greece is likely to emerge as an important hydrocarbons producer. Thus, in combination with the discovered gas potential of Cyprus and Israel, the Eastern Mediterranean could soon emerge as a major producing area similar to the North Sea, a development that will upgrade Greece's geostrategic role and enhance its position as a pilar of European energy security.
At the same time, the transformation of the energy sector is highlighted through latest developments in the electricity and natural gas markets in Greece and generally in Europe, as these took shape during last winter, but also through the emergence and promotion of new technologies. Consequently, this year's IENE "Energy and Development" conference will analyse issues related to energy software used for energy production-demand management, but also the use of hydrogen and biomethane as well as synthetic fuels and carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCUS) applications, which are already appearing on the energy agenda. Furthermore, new issues such as digitalization and, in particular, artificial intelligence, which aspire to drastically change every aspect of human activity, will be discussed in some depth at the conference.
In this context, the requirements posed by energy security and strategic autonomy as well as the issues raised by energy transformation, are expected to impact energy investment decisions. Hence the approach that should be adopted by investors in the energy sector in Greece and the EU need to be discussed. Finally, the conference will cover the strategies that should be followed in relation to employment in the energy sector, given its strategic role in the economy.