The MEF Energy Forum 2023 is a premier event focused on energy resilience and green transition of the Western Balkans. The forum provides a platform for policymakers, experts, and stakeholders to discuss the challenges and opportunities in the energy sector and share ideas on the theme of enhancing the ‘Policy-Finance-Energy Technology’ triangle for energy resilience and green transition.
The fireside chat titled “How can we make policies, energy technologies, and finance work together for a resilient and prosperous energy future?” will be one of the opening sessions of the event. The session will feature the host of MEF23 Deputy Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Mr. Fatmir Bytyqi along with several international speakers from various sectors. The discussion will focus on the challenges of combining these three sectors to achieve energy resilience, which is a key aspect of transitioning to a green economy. The speakers will discuss ways in which policy, energy technologies, and finance can work together to support innovation, accelerate clean energy deployment, and foster economic growth. The fireside chat is expected to set the tone for the event and provide an overview of the main themes and issues that will be discussed throughout the event.
Panel 1 “MEF Ministerial Panel – Policies and Technologies towards Decarbonization” will bring together ministers and officials from the Western Balkans region and beyond, who will share their views on policies and technologies necessary for the decarbonization of energy systems in their respective countries and the broader region. The panel will explore policy tools that work and do not work for energy resilience and energy transition, as well as identifying what is missing in the policy toolbox to effectively deal with energy challenges. The discussion will also delve into policy planning, data collection, and identifying best practices for developing sustainable energy policies. The panelists will share their experiences in implementing decarbonization policies, and discuss their successes, challenges, and lessons learned. The panel will provide a platform for regional governments to exchange ideas and best practices, as well as identify opportunities for regional collaboration to accelerate the decarbonization process.
The side event, made possible by YEO, is dedicated to empowering women in the just energy transition process. It will feature women from different sectors dealing with energy such as private companies, regulatory bodies, international organizations, civil society organizations, and policymakers who will discuss how they got into the energy sector, the skill set required to work in the sector, the challenges women face, how to expose more young women to the sector, how women in energy can organize better, and what male allies can do to support them.
Panel 2 titled “Financing the Energy Transition” aims to explore and analyze what has been learned so far about financing energy resilience and energy transition, and what financial instruments are necessary to accelerate the energy transition for both the public and private sectors. The panel will include experts from the public and private sectors who will share their insights and experiences with financing the energy transition. They will discuss the challenges that arise in financing energy transition, the successes and failures of current financing models, and the innovative financial instruments that could be utilized to fund energy projects. The discussion will focus on identifying new and creative ways of financing the energy transition, and how to leverage financial mechanisms to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources and energy-efficient technologies.
Panel 3 titled “Democratizing Energy: Innovative Models for Community Energy Generation and Citizens’ Engagement” is made possible through the support of the Open Society Foundations and aims to discuss how WB countries can democratize energy generation and reinforce the concept of energy communities. The panel will feature experts from academia, industry, and civil society who will share their insights on how to make energy generation more accessible to citizens and communities. They will discuss the current state of energy democracy in the region and explore innovative models for community energy generation. The panel will also explore ways to engage citizens in energy-related decision-making processes. Panelists will share their experiences of successful community energy projects and highlight the challenges that need to be addressed to scale up these initiatives.
HE Stevo Pendarovski’s special address on day 2 of the MEF Energy Forum 2023 is expected to focus on the geostrategic challenges facing the WB region in the context of energy transition and decarbonization. The region faces significant challenges in terms of energy security, including a heavy reliance on fossil fuels and an outdated energy infrastructure. Additionally, the region is strategically located and has been the focus of geopolitical tensions in recent years. The President’s address is expected to explore how the energy transition can help address some of these challenges and how the region can work together to ensure greater energy independence and security. The speech is also expected to touch upon the role of international partners such as the EU, NATO, and the US in supporting the WB region in its efforts towards decarbonization and energy transition
Panel 4, titled “Energy Diplomacy of WB6 in Emerging Times of Energy Conundrum,” and held in partnership with the Bled Strategic Forum, will focus on the geostrategic challenges and opportunities related to energy in the WB6 region. The panel will discuss the role of international organizations such as the EU and NATO in supporting North Macedonia and the WB6 region towards more energy independence and less vulnerability from third geopolitical forces. The panel will explore if formal and swift EU membership is a viable guarantee that reduces the region’s exposure to mal influences radiating from third countries. The discussion will include perspectives from high-level policymakers and experts from the energy sector, diplomacy, and security. The panel aims to provide insight into the challenges and opportunities in the WB6 region, highlight the role of diplomacy in energy transition, and identify ways to strengthen energy security and resilience in the region.
Panel 5, titled “Technological Innovations for Energy,” and powered by the UK Embassy to North Macedonia aims to explore the latest innovations and technological advancements in the field of energy and how they are shaping the industry. The panel will mainly feature speakers from the private sector who will share their insights and experiences in implementing new technologies in their businesses and how they are contributing to the global transition towards cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. The panel will focus on specific examples of innovative technologies that are being developed and deployed, such as advanced hydrogen technologies, battery storage systems, smart grids, renewable energy sources, and carbon capture and storage.
Panel 6, titled “Energy Transformation through Local Climate Action,” organized in partnership with Eko-svest, will focus on the role of local climate action in promoting energy transformation and achieving broader national and international climate policy goals. The panel will explore how local communities can engage with and educate their residents to promote climate action, as well as showcase successful examples of local climate action. The panel will also delve into the challenges faced by local governments and communities in implementing climate action plans and strategies, as well as the opportunities for collaboration between different stakeholders.
MEF23 will once again serve as a platform for participants to exchange ideas, share best practices, and explore innovative solutions for energy transition and resilience. The event is expected to attract high-level participants from government, industry, academia, and civil society. The forum will be an excellent opportunity to network, learn from experts in the field, and contribute to the global conversation on energy transition and resilience. Overall, the MEF Energy Forum 2023 will be a crucial event for policymakers, investors, and other stakeholders looking to stay up-to-date on the latest developments and trends in the energy sector. With a focus on enhancing the policy-finance-energy technology triangle, the forum will provide valuable insights and practical solutions to support energy resilience and green transition in the region.