The IICEC conference entitled "Business World and Sustainable Energy" was held

The IICEC conference entitled "Business World and Sustainable Energy" was held in Istanbul by Sabancı University Istanbul International Center for Energy and Climate (IICEC).


Making the opening speech, Dr. Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director and IICEC Honorary Chair, discussed global energy markets under four main headings: “Coal is running out, natural gas prices are falling, interest in renewable energy, especially solar, is increasing, nuclear power plants are returning.”

A panel was also held at the conference, moderated by Shell Turkey Country President Ahmet Erdem. The speakers at the panel were Borusan Holding People, Communication and Sustainability Group President Nursel Ölmez Ateş, Business World and Sustainable Development Association (SKD Turkey) High Advisory Board President Ebru Dildar Edin, Baker Hughes Turkey Country Director Filiz Gökler, and Enerjisa Enerji Independent Board Member Mehtap Anık Zorbozan.

At the conference, organized in Istanbul by Sabancı University Istanbul International Center for Energy and Climate (IICEC), which focuses on the current issues of the world and Turkey's energy and climate agenda, the subject of "Business World and Sustainable Energy" was discussed in many aspects.

Fatih Birol

The keynote speech of the conference, where trends, challenges, and opportunities in the field of sustainability were discussed from the perspective of the business world, was made by Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Honorary Chair of IICEC. In his speech, Dr. Birol made four basic analyses of global energy markets. Dr. Birol underlined that the decline in prices in the natural gas market provides an advantage for Turkey and continued: “Natural gas prices, which rose to very high levels with the start of the Ukraine-Russia war, are now at more reasonable levels. There is a serious decrease in natural gas prices. This is very good news for Turkey. In 2025, 2026, and 2027, a serious amount of supply will be provided by some sources to natural gas markets. This supply corresponds to half of the amount of natural gas provided in the past 30 years.”

Dr. Birol also pointed out that the demand for coal has decreased completely except for one or two countries and said, “The main reason for this is not the climate factor. The main reason is that it is more national as a domestic source. China and India are still building coal plants, but their growth is extremely slow compared to the past."


“Nuclear electricity production will soon reach its highest level”

Dr. Birol noted that more than 85 percent of all power plants commissioned in the world in 2023 have renewable energy and that nuclear power plants are also being built again. Stating that most of the electricity in the future will come from renewable energy, Dr. Birol said: “Nuclear energy is making a comeback all over the world. Japan, where the last accident occurred, has started to grow its nuclear power generation capacity again. Korea and Sweden have the same policy. We can say that there is no country left that opposes nuclear power plants. New power plants are being built in France, Poland, Turkey, and the US. I think world nuclear electricity production will reach its highest level in 2025-2026.”

Dr. Birol also emphasized energy efficiency and stated that he defined energy efficiency as the "first fuel" and that all countries can benefit from this field.

“The European Union is in a difficult situation in terms of energy”

Dr. Fatih Birol evaluated the European energy markets and continued his words as follows: “The European Union is in a very difficult situation in terms of energy prices, energy security, and energy economy. They are experiencing the problem of being too dependent on a country, namely Russia, in terms of energy. European Union countries bought 65 percent of oil and 75 percent of gas from Russia, and this is a mistake. The second mistake is turning their back on nuclear energy, and the third is that they could not continue the breakthrough they started in the sun years ago at the same pace. Natural gas prices dropped to 5 dollars, but in the USA they are below 2 dollars. Electricity prices in Europe are almost 3-5 times those in China. If you are an industrialist in Europe and 60-65 percent of your production costs come from energy costs, you cannot compete with the USA or China at these prices. Additionally, Europe needs a new industrial master plan. That’s what I suggested."



“The panel brought the business world together”

In the panel moderated by Shell Turkey Country President Ahmet Erdem, Borusan Holding People, Communication and Sustainability Group President Nursel Ölmez Ateş, Business World and Sustainable Development Association (SKD Turkey) High Advisory Board President Ebru Dildar Edin, Baker Hughes Turkey Country Director Filiz Gökler, and Enerjisa Enerji Independent Board Member Mehtap Anık Zorbozan took part as speakers.

Panel Moderator Shell Turkey Country President Ahmet Erdem stated that there are important opportunities to think, plan and build a sustainable future with important multi-dimensional dynamics and underlined that energy will continue to be one of the most important elements of economic growth and social development.

Erdem emphasized that in addition to the vital and economic gains of energy, reducing carbon emissions and developing sustainable energy solutions are very critical for a sustainable future in the context of energy transformation. Stating that the business world should not ignore critical factors such as technology, innovation and financing for the future of sustainable energy, Ahmet Erdem emphasized that decisionmakers and all stakeholders, as well as the energy sector, should work together to develop sustainable energy solutions and highlighted the importance of collaborations within this framework.


“Energy transformation is now a necessity”

In her speech at the panel, Borusan Holding People, Communication and Sustainability Group President Nursel Ölmez Ateş noted that energy transformation has become a necessity to achieve global climate targets and said: “Sustainable energy transition has become one of the main agenda items of the business world. In order to comply with international regulations, energy-intensive sectors have turned to renewable energy solutions. As members of the business world, we focus on renewable energy investments that will meet our energy needs and support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, while also projecting energy efficiency solutions. On the other hand, the development and accessibility of new energy technologies create a multiplier effect, but practices aimed at strengthening infrastructure and technical capacity are also among our priority topics. Access to green financing resources is also a critical issue for increasing sustainable energy investments. We follow all these developments closely and take responsibility for sustainable energy transformation.”


“200 trillion US dollars are needed by 2050”

Another panelist, Ebru Dildar Edin, President of the High Advisory Board of the Business World and Sustainable Development Association, expressed the following views in her speech: "In addition to the need for a collective effort and a strong will to significantly reduce energy waste and transition energy resources from fossil sources to renewable energy sources, 200 trillion US dollars are needed by 2050 for the transition to a low-carbon economy in the world. This means reaching approximately 7 trillion US dollars of green financing annually. The good news is that global investments in the clean energy transition have reached US$1.1 trillion in 2022, with an annual growth rate of 29%. This figure is currently equivalent to fossil fuel investment, but we believe that as we increase cooperation, these values ​​will increase in favor of nature-friendly investments. Developments such as Turkey's installed solar energy capacity reaching a historical level and the contribution of renewable energy in electricity generation exceeding 51% reveal our country's potential in this field. We also see that our country needs to implement more projects in renewable energy for its green transformation goals.”


“Our focus is on investing in sustainable energy technologies”

Filiz Gökler, Baker Hughes Turkey Country Director, started her speech by stating that Baker Hughes is a global energy technology company operating with approximately 55,000 employees in more than 120 countries, and continued as follows: “Within the scope of combating global climate change and securing sustainable energy transformation, while we implement sustainable practices that reduce our operational footprint, we also focus on investing in tomorrow's sustainable energy technologies such as new generation fuel hydrogen, carbon capture, use and storage, geothermal, and clean energy.

“It is vital to achieve the balance between energy supply, security, and sustainability and lead the energy transition by overcoming challenges such as limited financing, inflation, global and regional political instability, geopolitical tensions, supply chain challenges, and deficiencies in policies and regulations.

"We believe that energy producers, technology and service providers, energy buyers, policymakers, and the entire society in general should work together in the energy transformation journey, in the light of integrated thinking and shared sustainability standards. Let's carry energy into the future together.”


“Renewable energy capacity should triple”

Enerjisa Enerji Independent Board Member Mehtap Anık Zorbozan noted that the future of energy is shaped by the increasing trend towards renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and sustainable energy technologies and said: “However, these trends create new risks for countries in terms of affordability, electricity security and durability of clean energy supply chains. Managing risks and meeting the investment needs of the new period will be on the agenda of the coming period, because to achieve the 2030 carbon targets, renewable energy capacity must be tripled, the pace of energy efficiency improvements must be doubled, electrification must be increased and methane emissions from fossil fuel operations must be reduced. Global energy investment will rise to US$ 3.2 trillion in 2030. This is approximately 15% above the levels forecast for 2023. For climate finance, both public and private sector resources need to follow an integrated strategy.”


Making a speech at the opening of the conference, Sabancı University IICEC Coordinator Dr. Mehmet Doğan Üçok pointed out that social and economic sustainability should be developed in the field of energy and said: “Sustainable energy offers versatile benefits under subheadings such as the concepts of protection of the environment, supporting environmental sustainability goals, economic benefits, more efficient use of energy technologies and resources in energy production. In this context, we see that sustainable energy, as the guarantee of the future, has become an economic and social necessity rather than a choice.”