Lithium and cobalt risks growing, World Energy Council survey finds

15th March 2019 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor

The tenth edition of the World Energy Council’s (WEC’s) World Energy Issues Monitor 2019 highlights that lithium and cobalt will play an increasing role in commodities market risks, which are traditionally dominated by oil and gas price fluctuations.

According to the survey, this is one of the four key strategic priorities for energy leaders to consider this year, says WEC secretary- general Dr Christoph Frei.

The other three key strategic priorities are market design rules, which will need to be updated to incorporate the growing move towards decentralisation; electrification, which is being used as means to decarbonise the energy sector; and global strategic competition and the rise of nationalism, which will impact on the pace of the energy transition.

A record 2 300 world energy leaders from 86 countries contributed to the tenth survey. The World Energy Issues Monitor 2019 was created through an analysis of critical issues affecting the energy system; it provides seven global, six regional and 50 national issues maps, as well as an interactive online tool developed in cooperation with the WEC’s partner, engineering consultancy Arup, he says.

The WEC also launched the interactive World Issues Monitor Tool, which presents dynamic map views of the decade of Issues Monitor data that has been collated by the WEC. The maps convey a narrative of the key energy issues, regional and local variances and how these have changed over time.

The tool allows the preparation of different maps for comparison and allows for the manipulation of data by geography, over time or by highlighting specific energy issues.

“This year’s survey provides a reality check and horizon scanning of persistent and emerging concerns involved in whole energy systems transition. Each ‘issue map’ provides a visual snapshot of the uncertainties and action priorities that energy policymakers, CEOs and leading experts strive to address to shape and manage successful energy transition,” says Frei.

“For ten consecutive years, the World Energy Issues Monitor has been gathering the perspectives of energy leaders from the public and private sectors across the six regions on 42 key issues that shape and drive the global energy system. It has become the foremost platform for energy leaders to identify, share and track critical issues surrounding the energy transition.”

The World Energy Issues Monitor is the WEC’s annual survey of key challenges and opportunities faced by energy leaders worldwide in managing and shaping energy transitions.

The monitor helps to define the world energy agenda and its evolution over time. It provides a high-level perception of issues of critical uncertainty, in contrast to those that require immediate action or act as developing signals for the future.

It is a tool for understanding the complex and uncertain environment in which energy leaders must operate and one which challenges one’s own assumptions of the key drivers in the energy landscape, concludes Frei.