World Energy leaders share conflicting opinions about role of regulation in shaping our energy future

As global officials re-engage in energy and climate discussions in New York City and prepare for the November UNFCCC1 Conference in Cancun (COP 16), a new survey from Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE:NCI) and the World Energy Congress provides insight into the current mindset of public- and private-sector energy leaders on issues ranging from regulation and infrastructure to technology investment and future energy-mix priorities.

The findings, announced today, are the result of a four-day “pulse poll” of delegates at the World Energy Congress (WEC) in Montreal, on September 12 – September 15, conducted by Navigant Consulting.

WEC Montreal 2010 delegates – comprised of energy producers, government officials, consultants and academics from five continents and more than 120 countries – were polled daily during the Congress. Each day’s survey was aligned to one of the four daily themes of the conference – accessibility, availability, acceptability and accountability.

Among the findings, an overwhelming number of day-four respondents (89 percent) believe that the energy sector needs a new regulatory framework to adapt to new environmental and social requirements.

“The complexities and struggles facing the global energy industry are evident in the results of the survey,” said Bill Dickenson, Executive Managing Director at Navigant Consulting and leader of the firm’s Energy Practice. “Interestingly, the international delegates at the World Energy Congress echoed the view held by many in the domestic industry that we need a regulatory overhaul to meet the industry’s emerging issues.”

Congress delegates also shared concerns about the lack of investment in infrastructure in the energy sector. Forty percent of day-one respondents identified lack of investment in infrastructure as the greatest challenge to overcoming growing energy demand, while two-thirds of day-four respondents did not believe that there is sufficient financing for energy projects and infrastructure.

When asked about expected progress at the upcoming COP16 session in Cancun, almost 60 percent of day-four respondents expressed uncertainty about meaningful outcomes.

Not surprisingly, investment in new energy technologies was most cited as the area where the energy sector needs to make improvements, edging out environmental protection, managing CO2 emissions, and adoption of sustainable development practices. Congress delegates were split on whether or not the industry is on the right path forward with regards to developing new energy sources and addressing issues related to energy consumption. When asked if the world will achieve sustainability (a balance between fuel supply and consumption) in the energy sector by 2030, respondents were once again split – 47 percent believing it is achievable and 53 percent showing skepticism.

Click here for full poll results.

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