28 February 2012
China's energy needs in focus at Brisbane breakfast
China's growing energy demand - and how this will impact the rest of the world - was the focus of the second Energy Exchange Series breakfast held in Brisbane today.
Around 300 business leaders attended the event which featured influential Chinese energy policy maker and Chairman of China's Advisory Board of the National Energy Committee, Zhang Guobao, as the keynote speaker.
Panel members joined Mr Zhang to discuss the issues, including Zhou Dadi, Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Board of China's National Energy Committee; Dr Roland Williams, former Chairman and CEO of Shell Australia and President of Shell Coal International; and Rio Tinto's Chief Executive of Energy Doug Ritchie.
Mr Ritchie said the Energy Exchange Series - created by Rio Tinto and the Energy Policy Institute of Australia - aimed to promote broad discussion and debate on global energy issues and policies.
"The task of meeting the world's energy needs is increasingly being defined by the pace and direction of development activity in China," he said.
"Today, China is the world's largest energy consumer and needs vast quantities of energy and resources to fuel its urbanisation and industrial growth.
"By 2035, the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts China will consume nearly 70% more energy than the second largest energy consumer - the United States.
"The IEA's own Chief Economist - Dr Birol - acknowledged China's prominent and growing position in global energy markets when he declared at the first Energy Exchange breakfast that China's 5 year plans were more important to global energy demand discussions than his own yearly World Energy Outlook report.
"Clearly, any energy policy discussion must be informed by developments in China."
Mr Ritchie said energy was helping to alleviate poverty in China.
"Access to energy and things like heating, cooling and lighting is transformative and can change people's lives," he said.
"In the past 20 years alone, almost 500 million people in China have risen out of poverty through a process of industrial and economic reform. This is perhaps the greatest example of poverty alleviation in human history.
"China's phenomenal growth story underpins Rio Tinto's long term confidence in this market.
"As forecast by the IEA China's energy will continue to grow in the coming decades.
"Rio Tinto's energy business has made some recent strategic purchases such as Riversdale Mining Limited - now Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique - and Canadian uranium exploration company Hathor to ensure we can continue to meet the world's energy needs," he said.
Rio Tinto is a proud supporter of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and 100 per cent of all funds raised through the four Energy Exchange Series breakfast events will be donated to the QIMR. The first breakfast raised $12,300.
• Zhang Guobao - Chairman of the Advisory Board of China's National Energy Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Economic Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (also keynote speaker)
• Zhou Dadi - Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Board of China's National Energy Committee and Senior Advisor to the Energy Research Institute of China's National Development and Reform Commission
• Dr Roland Williams - former Chairman and CEO of Shell Australia, Managing Director of Shell International Gas and President of Shell Coal International.
• Doug Ritchie, Chief Executive Energy - Rio Tinto
Facilitator: Robert Pritchard, Executive Director of the Energy Policy Institute of Australia
Please join us for the next Energy Exchange Series breakfast on Tuesday 15 May 2012. The event will feature Dr Bryan Hannegan, Vice President, Environment and Renewables for the US based Electric Power Research Institute who will share his insights on future energy technologies and their role in the future energy mix.