What are the lessons learned from the global energy crisis? What is the way forward out of this crisis? These questions were addressed on January 26 at an event held at the ACG Events Hall and organized by the ACG Center of Excellence in Logistics, Shipping and Transportation (CoELST) and the Greek Energy Forum (GEF). A prestigious group of high-level international energy executives and regulators participated in a panel discussion and presented lessons learned from the crisis and how they can guide decision-makers in most effectively directing those efforts.
At the event’s opening, Dr. George Kokosalakis, Executive Director of the CoELST, announced ACG’s planned collaboration with the GEF to expand and disseminate the energy state of the art, conduct research, publish articles and reports, as well as train current and future professionals. As part of the partnership, Deree students will participate in the following activities: students from the Frances Rich School of Fine and Performing Arts will work with the GEF to design and create infographics to be published on GEF marketing materials; the Deree Debate Club will conduct a series of debates on a wide variety of energy topics; and a Call for Essays in which students will research and write reports wherein the best essays will be published in a booklet. The culmination of activities is the 3rd Energy Transition Future Leaders Academy. ACG will host a closed group of 40-50 students, who have a proven and genuine interest in Energy and with the potential to stand out in this field in the future. They will attend a four-day intensive course and hear lectures from energy experts, gather in groups to discuss energy transition, and finally be awarded a certificate.
Dr. Panos Vlachopoulos, ACG Vice President of Academic Affairs, gave welcoming remarks and discussed how the ACG 150 plan is leveraging educational programs for economic, social, and cultural impact as well as consolidating, supporting, and expanding ACG’s activities in performing research, creating technology and fostering innovation. Alexandros Lagakos, Co-Founder of the Greek Energy Forum and COO of Blue Grid, discussed the GEF’s goals and introduced us to the Energy Academy: “The Academy aspires to highlight energy policy challenges and raise commercial awareness amongst university students and collaborate with academic institutions, such as The American College of Greece.”
Alexandra Sdoukou, Secretary General for Energy & Mineral Resources in the Greek Ministry for the Environment and Energy, presented how Greece has been affected by the energy crisis. She stated that the country needs to diversify energy resources, be innovative to ensure energy security and aspire to be at the forefront of renewable energy production (e.g., hydro and solar power). Ms. Sdoukou called on the youth to be more mindful of energy use and promote energy efficiency when she said: “You can shape the world. Change can happen every day and everywhere since it’s in your hands to make a better place.” Dr. Michalis Mathioulakis, GEF Academic Director and Energy Strategy Analyst, took the stage to introduce the panelists.
Nikos Tsafos, Chief Energy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Greece and Pierce Alumnus 1999, talked about the importance of imagination, intellectual humility and resilience. Energy markets are shaped by the environment and Mr. Tsafos emphasized how we need to reshape to get the outcome we need: “We must understand that the choices we make now will affect the future. They might not be optimal now, but can manifest themselves for good in the future.” David Livingstone, Senior Advisor and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, discussed how we need to contextually understand the political and techno-economic constraints to come out of the energy crisis. He stated: “We should reduce energy demands and find opportunities to find energy infrastructure and take our energy destiny in our hands.”
Dr. Athanasios Dagoumas, President of the Regulator Authority for Energy (RAE), presented lessons learned from the energy crisis wherein Greece transitioned from being a consumer to becoming a supplier of energy. Rikard Scoufias, Chairman of the Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company S.A. (HEREMA), emphasized the triangle of business, society and industry and how sustainability, affordability and security are within the three key triangle corners for energy. He stated that all the talk on energy generation is not enough and suggested that Greece focus on natural gas. Stella Zacharia, Head of Energy Assessment, Policy & Regulation at TERNA Energy and CEO of Optimus Energy, discussed how over 40% of energy demand in Greece comes from renewables and the goal should reach 80%. Ms. Zacharia recommended that Greece needs to be flexible and diversify between wind and solar energy to make renewable energy the chief source of energy in Greece. She emphasized that it is essential to have synergies between all energy stakeholders, including the state.
The event wrapped up with a Q&A from both the in-person and online audience. In terms of how natural gas and renewable energy can coexist, the panelists all agreed that it would take a long time to transition to clean energy due to the sheer volume of current energy systems.
ACG looks forward to our collaboration with The Greek Energy Forum and is honored to be an incubator for the energy leaders of the future in South-Eastern Europe!