BHGE Annual Meeting: Key Takeaways on How Digitalization, Innovation, a New Generation of Leaders & Collaboration Will Take Energy and Move it Forward
Written by Energy Dialogues’ Managing Director, Monika Simões
The BHGE Annual Meeting took place at the end of last month in Florence, Italy, and I was pleased to be involved as moderator for a panel discussing how the world’s future energy challenges will be addressed by a younger generation.
Like previous years, the event was attended by an impressive number of prominent worldwide CEO’s, thought leaders, and experts. With the opportunity to hear several featured speakers and participate in the panel I moderated as well as others, I was struck by their common focus on the same few energy concerns and priorities. There is apparent global alignment with respect to what is important in future energy provision. Of course, the manner in which these topics will evolve and be faced is yet to be seen.
Beginning with BHGE’s announcement to be “carbon net zero” by 2050, the event’s overall theme was, “How do we take energy and move it forward?” Along that line, I would like to share some insights derived collectively from the meeting discussions:
An Energy Transition, currently underway and continuing, is fundamentally geared towards decarbonization and a cleaner energy future. Energy systems will need to be designed accordingly, and tomorrow’s energy leaders will be those who can most effectively embrace and implement clean energy paradigms.
Technology – Digitalization – AI – Innovation are unquestionably paramount as the very building blocks of progress in this energy transition. Considering that energy demand is predicted to increase 30% by 2040, with concurrent reduction in GHG emissions by 50%, the emphasis on breakthrough technologies to meet these demands is inestimable.
Digitalization, technology, and consumer trends – all key factors in forwarding energy transition – must be aptly applied toward ongoing industry issues such as:
▪ Enhancing efficiency (e.g. increasing recovery)
▪ Reducing methane emissions or gas leakage
▪ Incorporating low-carbon energy in rural areas
▪ Increasing affordability
▪ Solving energy poverty
▪ Reducing gas flaring
…the list goes on.
On a more foundational level, what is the tipping point of the industrial energy sector when it comes to technology? How can technology be leveraged to maximize economic growth, connection, and safety?
Millennials and Gen Z, who will bear the weight of future energy challenges, must be actively brought into current discussions and supplied every tool necessary to drive solutions.
The “big crew change” is underway, but what will energy leadership in the future actually look like? Who comprises this mysterious Millennial generation? One representative of “Gen Z” was on my panel at the meeting and helped to highlight one crucial question: How can the energy industry attract involvement by the younger generations?
With the vast number and magnitude of challenges here and on the horizon, the energy industry will require the brightest minds and boldest innovators to be onboard and fully invested in finding answers. This precipitates another key consideration: How can we bridge gaps not only in generation, but in backgrounds and viewpoints, with the goal to reach a point of factual conversation to really address and solve challenges?Bringing me to the next point…
Collaboration and Partnerships for the purpose of furthering overall progress in the energy industry, are widely understood as more than just nice ideas, but essential to the future growth of mankind itself. Inclusive discussions, shared information, and open-minded consideration of alternative viewpoints are all part of working together to arrive at positive solutions. Panelists and keynoters alike stated “No one can go it alone”.
Trust, though intangible, is an enormous element in defining the trajectory of the energy industry. Both locally and globally, how can the industry better represent its role in satisfying energy needs worldwide while striving to meet the more fundamental goal of enhancing quality of life for all? Regarding this, one particularly memorable comment was delivered by keynote speaker Michael Olson, Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Cloudera: “Use your podium to speak to society at large. If you can help shape public opinion, you can help solve the problem.”
The energy industry continues its transformation, developing ingenious solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. But at the same time, it faces major opposition… So, how will we cooperatively shape a progressive future? I left the BHGE Annual Meeting with heightened awareness and new perspectives on a number of industry concerns; and maybe this comment made by Eldar Saetre, CEO of Equinor, provides a good way to end this brief summary: “We have great challenges, but great challenges also represent great opportunities.”