Lawrence E. Jones 20190930 144920 2 | CHARGE Energy Conference

Lawrence Jones

Vice President, International Programs at Edison Electric Institute

Lawrence Jones, USA
Vice President, International Programs at Edison Electric Institute

Connect with Lawrence Jones

Why are you attending CHARGE?
I’m very interested in the issue of branding in energy, and how to tell the industry stories in general.

What do you think of the programme?
I think the programme is well-structured. This is my first time attending such a conference. As I am live in the US and work with electric companies around the world, I thought it would interest to learn how energy companies in different countries talk about their brand.

Tell us something about your background?
I was born in Liberia, West Africa, and have been in the energy sector most of my life, as my father was an electrical engineer and worked at an electric company. Like in many countries in Sub-Sahara Africa, electrification is a major problem in Liberia. As a result of the nearly 10 years of civil war in the country that destroyed the entire energy system, today less than 20% of the population has access to electricity. Professionally, I like to challenge of solving complex problems – and providing universal access to reliable, affordable, and clean energy is such a problem for Africa, but for the entire world.

What does the future of energy look like?
The future of the energy sector is going to be mixed, and each country will have its approach based on its resources and other local factors. In general, everyone is headed in the same direction, but they will take different pathways. Ultimately, I think in the next 30-40 years, we will see a different global energy system.  Energy companies will be telling different stories in terms of what they and what customers and society expect from them.

How do we get to the future system?
One issue we have today is that everyone wants change, but not many people are prepared to make the sacrifice to realize the transition that is necessary. For example, moving renewable requires that we take holistic approaches that ensure the change is inclusive and equitable. This is discussed in books, articles, and speeches I have given on the subject. However, we must also be prepared to have an honest and sometimes difficult conversation about the economics of transitioning to a future energy system.

What kind of conversation should we have be having at CHARGE?
Amongst several issues, we should be discussing how we transition to future energy systems that are inclusive, just, and equitable. How should a developing country modernize and industrialize its society without access to abundant electricity? Are the richer developed countries prepared to lower their carbon footprint while the developing countries increase theirs so that they can accelerate their industrialization and reduce poverty? How we transition to a resilient system while dealing with risks of climate change and other natural and man-made disasters? At CHARGE, we should discuss difficult and inconvenient questions.  

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