GSEP annual CEO Summit concludes in Washington DC

June 7, 2013

The heads of the largest electricity companies around the world convened in Washington D.C. for the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership’s annual summit during the last two days. Hosted by Duke Energy, the 2012-2013 outgoing Chair Company of the organization, the Washington Summit featured exchanges between the GSEP Chairmen and distinguished guests.

Former President Bill Clinton joined the Chairmen to share his thoughts on the importance of universal access to electricity. For President Clinton, the answer to poverty reduction is access to electricity and international cooperation is essential to achieve this at a global scale, a view shared by GSEP members. By working closely with the beneficiary communities, people can be empowered to continue being the instigators of their own future successes. GSEP’s response to the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (UNSE4ALL) initiative’s call for action is an example of the concrete commitments GSEP is making to push forward universal access and sustainable energy development. With the collective experience and expertise of its member companies, GSEP is well positioned to help mobilize action to achieve the UNSE4ALL goals.

Dr. Fareed Zakaria, Editor-at-large of TIME magazine and host of CNN’s flagship foreign affairs show, reflected this sentiment of a need to cooperate during his keynote speech. He reminded the Chairmen to always keep in mind the bigger picture when approaching challenges. Historical trends everywhere consistently show our resilience to volatility and uncertainty as a whole. Dr. Zakaria remains optimistic regarding our ability to overcome the challenges.

In another highlight of the Summit, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, delivered a speech on his view on the role the World Bank can play in advancing universal access and the importance once again of having a coordinated effort across sectors. His intervention reiterated the importance of GSEP’s UNSE4ALL commitment to launch a workshop program focused
on strengthening public-private partnerships in the sustainable energy sector in developing countries around the world.

Through these discussions and presentations, the GSEP Chairmen and their guests shared their insights from different local and international perspectives. Among the other topics of discussion, GSEP Chairmen exchanged their views on the electric industry’s challenges in an era of rising costs and falling prices, as well as on the impact of technology and innovation on the current business models with distinguished guest speakers from MIT, the World Energy Council, the International
Electrotechnical Commission and EPRI.

During the summit, the Chairmen also welcomed Iberdrola of Spain as an official member of the GSEP. Iberdrola brings a wealth of experience in sustainable energy development that will strengthen GSEP’s capacity to pursue its mission in this field.