WFES 2011 logoThe opening day of this year’s WFES has been a very interesting day for me for several reasons. First, as it saw the start of the Xpert Center program that I’m running this year at the Siemens booth (more of that later). But also as today’s congress sessions were focused on Policy & Strategy, key drivers for my work as Director of Innovation Cooperations at Siemens Energy.

(Editor's note: Siemens is a sponsor of The Energy Collective)

With responsibility for finding innovative solutions to meet the diverse energy challenges faced throughout the world, I need to first understand what those challenges are. And today’s Ministerial Sessions at WFES were incredibly informative for me in both providing an overview of some of the most pressing challenges currently facing different nations – and highlighting the differences between the needs of countries at varying stages of growth and development.

To give just two short examples: China and Ireland.

One of China’s main challenges at present is to extend its energy supplies to rural areas, where there is huge demand but no existing grid infrastructure at all. Whilst in Ireland, the key challenge is to upgrade the existing grid infrastructure in order to accommodate the rapidly growing in-feed of renewable energy from wind farms. Only an event like WFES, which brings together such a range of representatives from the global energy community, can raise awareness as to the diversity of challenges currently being faced – and help fast-track the implementation of the most appropriate technology route to deliver a lasting solution. And that for me is what makes WFES such an important platform for open exchange between the public and private sectors.

Back at the Siemens booth, I also delivered the first presentation at our Xpert Center: “Tomorrow is today – intelligent solutions for sustainable development,” which gave a short overview of some of the key technologies available right now to deliver cleaner, more efficient electricity supplies for the cities of tomorrow. As usual I was a bit nervous beforehand wondering how many people would turn up, but I was very happy to see such a good attendance. Thanks to everyone who joined me today. If anyone reading this post was there, I’d love to hear your views or comments.

Looking ahead to tomorrow, we will have five Xpert presentations covering a variety of topics from Smart Building Technologies to Electro-mobility and Smart Grids. We will also have our first-ever guest speaker, Afshin Afshari, who will be giving a presentation on “Smart energy at Masdar City”. I’m also very much looking forward to delivering a presentation on “The New Electricity Age,” which will be attended by members of this year’s Young Future Energy Leaders. And I’m fully expecting the Q&A session that follows will prove to be as lively and stimulating as it has been in previous years. If you’re in Abu Dhabi for the WFES tomorrow, join us at Booth 5110 from 11:30 am onwards.

I’ll be back tomorrow to share my experiences of day two at the Summit with you.

Until then …