Learning from the masters at “the Olympics” of energy economic research

What are the hottest topics among the world’s top scholars of energy economics? What are they discussing, and how will they present their most recent findings?

These were some of the questions I had in mind when travelling to the 39th conference by the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE). According to some of the speakers, this conference is considered “the Olympics” of energy economic research. This year’s topic was “Energy: expectations and uncertainty” – a highly relevant topic for the rapid changes that the energy sector is currently experiencing.

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We were quite a few people from Statkraft at the conference. Here are some of us by the main sponsor stand
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Statoil CEO Eldar Sætre stated that the challenging energy market is a unique opportunity to reset. Most of the audience seemed to agree but as you can see, some of the researchers were more interested in developing some models on their own…

This year, the conference was hosted by The Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen. There were more than 600 participants from 49 different countries, making this the largest IAEE conference to date. Statkraft was a natural main sponsor of the event, as the topic and level of research aligns well with the company’s identity and values (competent, responsible and innovative).

We were a group of five people from Statkraft joining the conference, plus our Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen. Besides joining parts of the conference, he took part in the closing plenary session concerning business strategies for the energy sector under uncertainty.

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Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen highlighted that the energy demand that will increase by 60-70% over the next 20 years

The Statkraft CEO emphasized that the major driver of the global energy demand is the large population growth and the transition out of poverty in developing countries. He also reminded us that hydropower is still the largest renewable resource in the world, being clean, reliable and flexible. I think the international audience was quite amazed to hear our CEO’s comment that in Norway, 99% of the energy production is renewable, of which 97% is from hydropower.

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We were several people from Statkraft who paid interest to the analyses of the Paris agreement with an academic perspective. Here we are all lined up, listening to Professor Scott Barrett at Colombia University (3rd from left: Statkraft CEO)
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In my opinion, the most exciting moments were when the speakers received intriguing questions and insights from the audience. Here is one of our colleagues, Paul Giesbertz from the Statkraft office in Amsterdam, challenging a panel of professors from the University of Munich, Oldenburg and Stanford who had just discussed sensitivity and expectations related to energy economics
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Two excited participants at the conference – Anders Berg-Hansen from Corporate Communication and former trainee Oisin Tummon who is now working as a strategic market analyst


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