World Utilities Congress concludes its second edition with immense success
– The congress focused on the role played by power and water utilities in supporting decarbonisation of industry and the path to net-zero.
ABU DHABI, 10 May 2023 – Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, World Utilities Congress 2023 successfully concluded the second annual edition of this global gathering for power and water utilities.
The World Utilities Congress 2023 returned to Abu Dhabi this week, hosted by the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and organised by dmg events. The three-day exhibition and congress brought together over 250 industry expert speakers, and hosted more than 60 strategic and technical conference sessions, including a Nuclear Energy Forum.
Drawing over 10,000 industry professionals and 150+ exhibiting companies from across the globe, the global conference and exhibition highlighted the very latest in global innovations, technology solutions and proactive measures aimed at securing the future of sustainable and affordable power and water supplies. An integral theme throughout the congress was the role played by power and water utilities in supporting decarbonisation of industry and the path to net-zero.
Commenting on the success of this year’s World Utilities Congress, Jasim Husain Thabet, TAQA’s Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, and host company of the inaugural event, commented: “We are proud to see the enormous success of the second edition of the World Utilities Congress. This is a testament to the vital role our sector is playing in leading decarbonisation efforts and accelerating progress toward Net Zero ambitions, as well as the unique position of Abu Dhabi and the UAE to facilitate this change.
Mr. Thabet added: “This year’s event provided a world-class platform for the global utility community to come together and pave the way for bold climate action during COP 28. This was achieved through valuable discussions and innovative thinking amongst leading decision makers and energy thinkers on how to advance concrete and actionable solutions for a secure and sustainable utilities future. I would like to express my deep gratitude to HH Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, for his patronage and leadership, and to both the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy and the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, our partners, and peers for their support, which all contributed to ensuring the outstanding success of the event.”
Day three’s strategic conference highlight was a global panel discussion on ‘Fueling innovation, securing supply and reducing emissions within water, wastewater and desalination companies.’ Global water companies leading innovation in the sector discussed sustainable strategies to enhance operational efficiencies and meet increasingly complex supply and demand, while managing waste and protecting resources with reduced environmental impact.
Speakers on the panel included Eng. Ahmed Al Shamsi, MD and CEO of SWS Holding; Ben Tam, CEO of Isle Utilities; Alain Dedieu, Global President of Water Waste Water Segment, Schneider Electric; Maarten Kanters, Managing Director of Cambi; Lu’ay Khdeir, Regional Water Market Director – Middle East at Atkins.
Speaking during the session, Alain Dedieu, Global President of Water Waste Water Segment, Schneider Electric said: “As the Middle East embraces a more sustainable future with bold plans for renewable energy, smart cities and water security, Schneider Electric’s advanced technologies are making a huge impact in terms of energy efficiency and digital transformation. Our ambitious and achievable plans to accelerate the region’s energy transition are made possible by new tools and technologies that we are bringing to market. It was great opportunity to join the World Utilities Congress to highlight how Schneider Electric works in the spirit of partnership to super-charge emissions-reducing innovation at water, wastewater and desalination companies across the region.”
The global energy transition was a continued focus on the concluding day of the congress, with a global panel discussion adding insight on ‘The role of ESG and sustainable finance in the power, water, gas and district cooling.’ Company leaders shed light on adopting ESG practices as a major driver towards a low-carbon more sustainable future and the role utilities can play in unlocking the potential of green investments, contributing to national GDP and encouraging Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
Panellists included: Noel Aoun, the Executive Director of Strategy and Sustainability at TAQA; Paul Sakrzewski, CEO of Copperleaf; Lukáš Maršálek, Chief Finance Officer at Slovenske elektrarne; Mohab Ali Talib Al-Hinai, VP of Sustainability and Circular Economy & Co-Founder, Sustainable Investments, Oman Environmental Services Holding Company (Be’ah); Ennis Rimawi, Managing Director of Catalyst Investment Management; Maarten ter Keurst, Managing Partner at Natural Ventures.
During the panel discussion, Paul Sakrzewski, CEO of Copperleaf said: “We believe that a critical element to navigating the energy transition and decarbonisation is the concept of “Value-based Decision Making”. All of our clients are striving to build optimised capital plans to drive strategic outcomes which are increasingly driven by ESG goals, including net-zero targets in balance with more traditional goals of profitability, reliability and customer service.”
“Software is an indispensable enabling element to leadership teams tasked with making thousands of critical decisions each year with rapidly changing constraints and expectations.”
Power industry leaders met at the concluding global panel discussion on ‘Implementing digital technologies to improve operational efficiency and ensure security within district cooling, power, water and gas utilities.’ The power and water industry has transformed with digital integration driving operational efficiencies through cost management, enhanced customer services, and driving new market opportunities. Panellists discussed risks and solutions to embracing technological advances from drones, to AI and data protection with the critical need to safeguard digital infrastructure.
Speakers included Alvaro Perez, Chief Digital Officer at ACWA Power; Rabih bou Rached, Founder and CEO of FEDS Drone-powered Solutions; Vijay Jaiswal, CTO at IFS; Alexis Grenon, Global Digital Grid Senior Vice President, Schneider Electric; Matthew Timms, Advisor at Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC); Leonardo Benítez, Global director for the Phygital division, Minsait by Indra.
During his participation in the panel, Alvaro Perez, Chief Digital Officer of ACWA Power said: “We’re using new digital technologies imaginatively to speed up our energy transition and meet our ambitious targets. The capabilities we are using include cloud, edge and IoT, data platforms, AI and machine learning ops factories, cyber security, EPC construction collaboration frameworks, bidding tools, asset performance capacities, mobile workforce management and workplace ecosystems. It is a continuous process.”
“We have been moving quickly to evolve from simply deploying IT products and services to creating our own bespoke platform, tailored for the energy transition challenge to empower the whole team. We’re improving our systems and ways of working all the time to benefit all our stakeholders and meet the 2050 zero emissions target. We are seeing the positive impacts of this on our teams, business lines, EPC partners, operations, trainees, investors and end-users.” he added.
Christopher Hudson, President of dmg events, organisers of the World Utilities Congress said, “Returning to Abu Dhabi for the second edition, the World Utilities Congress has once again been an incredible success. At what is the largest worldwide gathering for the power and water utilities sector we witnessed the collaborative efforts of the industry driving a core theme of sustainability, focussing on the path to net-zero and addressing solutions to balance supply and demand. We are grateful to our partners, sponsors and the industry for making the event of great value to the thousands of attendees. ”
The second edition of the World Utilities Congress 2023 was hosted by TAQA, organised by dmg events and supported by the UAE’s Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure, Abu Dhabi Department of Energy (DoE), Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).