Graham Weale Keynote Speaker
- Expert on Energy Transitions
- Chief Economist – RWE AG (2007-2016)
- Honorary Professor of Energy Economics at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany
Graham Weale's Biography
Professor Graham Weale is an expert on Energy Transitions within Europe and the USA. With over 40 years’ experience of energy – oil, gas, coal and power, Weale’s deep understanding of their political, economic and technological dimensions partnered with his mission to explain how the end-goals can be achieved at the lowest cost to society displays his ability to highlight tough issues which politicians seek to avoid. He explains the challenges of such transitions in a way which is illuminating both to experts and laymen.
He began his energy career with ExxonMobil in supply and refining. Between 2007 and 2016, Weale was Chief Economist at RWE AG (Germany’s largest power generator) and he was instrumental in navigating the company through the German Energiewende (the move out of nuclear power into renewables). As a result of this, he has extensive insight into the operations, challenges and political pressures on large European power companies operating a range of power plants in different countries.
Prior to this, he was Director of European Services for IHS Global Insight (now CERA); one of the world’s leading energy and economic consultancies. At Global Insight, he covered gas and coal extensively and was frequently engaged as an Expert Witness at high-profile gas contract arbitrations.
Weale has had first-hand experience of all the major forms of energy. Combined with his technical and commercial background, he is enabled to offer unique insights into the junction of these two disciplines. In the late 1980s, he was credited as the first energy expert to highlight the potential of the Combined Cycle Gas plant as a major source of power generation in Europe.
He has also worked as an advisor to the European Commission and other European Governments and served (2016-2017) as Senior Advisor to the Energy Transitions Commission. He has been a guest speaker at the leading Think Tanks and other major conferences in Europe and the USA. He was appointed Honorary Professor of Energy Economics at the Ruhr University Bochum in 2015, in recognition of his wide contributions in the field. He has a physics degree from Oxford University and an MBA.
Graham Weale's Speaking Topics
The European energy and economic outlook after the Ukraine invasion
Comparison with the 1973 oil crisis and other post-war political and economic shocks (Iranian crisis, Gulf Wars, Global Financial Crisis 2009, Covid, 9/11) | European measures to secure energy supply and affordability short- and long-term | Scope for global energy producers to increase production | Revised priorities for Europe – energy security and affordability vs. climate goals | Respective roles of government and private sector
The roles of markets, regulation and coordination in Energy transitions
One critical issue rears its head in the move to renewables and other clean forms of energy – how the fixed costs of various plants will be covered. High utilisation of facilities is essential to minimise the fixed cost per unit, but there will be a fight right along the value chain for each facility to maximise its utilisation. The challenge is too great and the risks too high to leave to the market alone, so there will be a need for a much stronger role of the state.
How Energy Transitions will cause oil companies to reinvent themselves and lead to a new global trade in clean fuels
Oil companies make their living from producing a product which most of the developed world is working hard to replace. They will therefore have to reinvent themselves making good use of their skills and existing facilities and replacing this fossil fuel with other clean energy products. The presentation includes what national oil companies outside Europe are planning.
Energy-intensive process decarbonisation - examples from leading companies in Germany’s industrial heartland
Six commercial-scale innovative projects are described : carbon capture and storage, three hydrogen projects showing how synergistic effects contribute, and two projects for buildings making use of low-temperature waste heat and greatly reducing primary energy requirements.
Turning the energy infrastructure on its head - moving out of fossil fuels into clean energy
Europe has an energy infrastructure which was essentially designed for the post-war era and based around fossil fuels. To support the transition to clean fuels the infrastructure will have to be radically changed – the electricity infrastructure adapted to incorporate renewables, the gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen, and the oil infrastructure for clean fuels.
The six drivers which will enable global Energy Transitions to succeed
This talk explains how the goals of five bodies will drive energy transitions forward: the European Commission, Member States, Citizens, Manufacturing and service companies, and finance institutes. Continued technological progress is the sixth driver.
The new European Green Deal for 2050 - what it means and how it could work
This presentation examines the aims of the Green Deal, and looks critically at its realism compared with progress made over the last 15 years. It shows that the effort in building up renewables and saving energy would have to be exactly doubled to achieve the goals.