About the conference

The Atlantic Council is organizing a Clean energy outlook conference in Istanbul on October 10-11, 2022. This timely event, organized by the Atlantic Council IN TURKEY and the Council’s Global Energy Center, and in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, will convene leaders from government, business, and research communities to discuss clean, secure, and sustainable energy developments.

Russia’s war in Ukraine exacerbated the ongoing energy crisis, which has reached unprecedented levels of volatility, threatening energy supplies and affordability across Europe,  and leaving consumers saddled with sky-high energy bills and facing potential rationing in the winter. This emergency demands both a focus on immediate energy security needs and emphasis on the transition to a decarbonized and sustainable energy system in the medium to long-term. In the lead up to COP27, the time is right to accelerate the progress on decarbonization in the region, while exploring how clean energy solutions can contribute to addressing high prices and the supply crunch in the near-term.

Regional energy markets are faced with diverse, unique challenges in bolstering energy security while decarbonizing their economies. This conference will serve as a platform for discussions of regulatory changes, financing mechanisms, and clean energy technologies necessary to drive the energy transition while improving security and resilience of the energy systems. Participants will brainstorm ideas on how to expedite the adoption and deployment of clean energy technologies and sustainability solutions, including efforts towards the circular economy.

The conference also features a private ministerial session covering Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Balkans on the implications of the Paris Agreement, COP27, and the EU Green Deal, as well as a public discussion on the regional clean energy outlook. These exclusive sessions are organized by the Atlantic Council and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a leading financier of clean energy projects and climate change mitigation efforts throughout the region.

Conference Agenda

More speakers to be announced. All times local.

DAY ONE (Monday, October 10, 2022)

12:45 – 1:00 p.m Welcoming Remarks  

Defne Sadıklar Arslan, Turkey Representative and Senior Director, Atlantic Council IN TURKEY, Atlantic Council  

Arvid Tuerkner, Managing Director for Turkey, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 

1:00 p.m. Implications of Geopolitical and Energy Market Volatility to the Clean Energy Transition 

Geopolitical crises, primarily the Russia-Ukraine War, have roiled energy markets in 2022 causing a spike in oil and gas prices, supply disruptions and rising inflation. For many countries, the volatility, coupled with political concerns, have underscored the need to decarbonize energy systems and diversify fossil fuel supplies in the interim. In many cases however, the short-term imperative of finding reliable and acceptable sources of energy outweigh the long-term and ultimate goal of decarbonization, the result being a lack of action and progress towards an energy transition. 

Ana Palacio, Board Director, Atlantic Council

Erika Olson, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, US Department of State

Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General, Directorate-General for Energy, European Commission

Olga Bielkova, Director on Corporate and International Affairs, Gas TSO of Ukraine

Moderator: Nick Butler, Visiting Professor, King’s College London and Founding Chairman, King’s Policy Institute

2:00 p.m. How to apply nuclear reactors in the developing needs of developing countries 

With global electricity demand projected to double by 2050, the nuclear industry is seeking a new approach to designing, building, and commercializing nuclear energy technologies. Small modular reactors (SMRs) hold the potential to help decarbonize the power sector and can also aid in decarbonizing several hard-to-abate sectors like desalination, process heat, and synthetic fuels production. With lower capital costs and smaller geographic footprints than traditional light water reactors, SMRs can play a crucial role in meeting electricity demand from developing countries, which are projected to account for 90% of global electricity demand growth to 2040 and standing at approximately 14 TWh today, and in energy-intensive sectors like data centers. 

André Pienaar, Founder and Chief Executive, C5 Capital

Teresa Carlson, Corporate Vice President and Executive-in-Residence, Microsoft

3:30 p.m. Remarks by Richard L. Morningstar, Founding Chairman, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council

3:40 p.m. Financing the Phase-out of Coal 

A key imperative of the energy transition is moving away from the most polluting sources of energy, such as coal, to clean and more efficient resources. In many countries however, for political, economic, and societal reasons, coal remains an important component in the energy mix. The panel will discuss the opportunities, and challenges ahead for phasing coal out of the energy mix ahead and how to balance the calculus behind decision making, from energy security to economics and financing and highlight progress made such as the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) with South Africa.  

Ebru Özdemir, Chairperson, Limak Holding

Moderator: Matthew J. Bryza, Regional Director, Ballard Partners

4:40 p.m. The Role of the Energy Transition in East Med Energy Security 

The East Med has a huge renewable energy potential and in particular solar energy. Even though adoption of renewables has been increasing over the last few years, it is important that the pace picks up a lot faster as we approach 2030. During energy transition this can be backed up by natural gas – substantial resources have been discovered so far, but there is potential for substantially more. With energy security at center stage, the East Med should prioritize development of its renewable and natural gas resources, something that can also contribute to regional stability. There are also developments afoot to use abundant solar energy to produce green hydrogen for export to Europe, to expedite transition to clean energy. 

Charles Ellinas, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council

Ariel Ezrahi, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Middle East Programs, Atlantic Council; Former Director of Energy at the Office of the Quartet

Moderator: Harry Tzimitras, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council

DAY TWO (Tuesday, October 11, 2022)

10:00 a.m. Keynote Remarks  

Alparslan Bayraktar, Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Republic of Turkey

10:45 a.m. Private Atlantic Council-EBRD Ministerial: The Paris Agreement, COP 27 and the EU Green Deal: Regional implications  

During the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26), countries committed to several goals with aim of reducing emissions and joining forces to fight climate change. However, efforts around the globe to meet these goals are not enough. These goals were set to “revisit and strengthen” governments’ 2030 targets by the end of 2022 to align them with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. Now, one month away from COP27, concrete steps the globe can take to minimize the impact of climate change will be discussed. Additionally, The European Green Deal addresses climate and environmental challenges with the EU’s strategy of zeroing net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, creating jobs, and improving quality of life while reducing emissions. In relation to the Paris Agreement and Green Deal, Turkey and regional actors aim for a transition to a more sustainable, resource-efficient, and green economy. To reach the goals, regional actors should pursue and strategize cooperation and partnership opportunities in achieving necessary actions such as limiting carbon emissions, a green and circular economy, green financing, a clean, economic, and safe energy supply, sustainable agriculture, sustainable smart travels, combating climate change, establishing diplomacy principles, and raising awareness regarding European Green Deal. 

10:45 a.m.  Circular Economy and Financing Models 

The United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Report 2020 highlighted the need to innovate and implement the transition to a circular economy to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Circular economy strategies aim to reduce overconsumption, design-out waste, and restore and regenerate ecosystems and natural capital. With these ideals, the global community strives to achieve net-zero carbon neutrality to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The key strategies behind circular transition are rethinking present economic models to close the resource cycles on the smallest scale possible, extend the lifespan of materials in use, and design waste and pollution out of the system. These require fundamental changes in production and consumption systems and advances in technology. Circular economy and financing models also bring monetary and reputational benefits, make circular businesses safer from linear risks, and represent secure investments.

Thamir Alshehri, Senior Research Associate, KAPSARC

Louisa Vinton, Resident Representative, UNDP Turkey

1:00 p.m. EBRD Panel 1: Clean Energy Outlook for Central Asia and the Caucasus 

Clean Energy Outlook looks hopeful for the future of Turkey and nearby countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, as they are becoming more aware of the necessity and benefits of the transition to clean energy. By increasing the usage of renewable energy, governments can meet climate goals, enhance energy security, and reduce cost of electricity to end consumers. This can be done by developing a long-term strategy for renewable energy scale-up, establishing clear targets and signal for investors, creating an enabling regulatory environment, and accelerating the adoption of emerging technology. However, there are challenges that should be solved for an easier transition to a clean energy system – from building awareness and overcoming the dominance of hydrocarbons, to strengthening the grid capacity to absorb intermittent renewables, to tackling the growing supply costs increases and disruptions in manufacturing supply chains, to mobilizing various sources of capital. The panel is a forum for regional actors to share their experiences, plans and ambitions.

H.E. Doskul Bekmurzaev, Minister of Energy, Kyrgyz Republic 

Romeo Mikautadze, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Georgia 

Elnur Soltanov, Deputy Minister of Energy, Republic of Azerbaijan 

Moderator: Aida Sitdikova, Director Energy Eurasia, Middle East and Africa, Sustainable Infrastructure Group, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

2:00 p.m. EBRD Panel 2: Clean Energy Outlook for Balkans and Eastern Europe

Clean Energy Outlook looks hopeful for the future of Turkey, the Western Balkans, and Eastern Europe as they are becoming more aware of the necessity and benefits of the transition to clean energy. By increasing the usage of renewable energy, governments can meet climate goals, enhance energy security, and reduce cost of electricity to end consumers. This can be done by developing a long-term strategy for renewable energy scale-up, establishing clear targets and signal for investors, creating an enabling regulatory environment, and accelerating the adoption of emerging technology. However, there are challenges that should be solved for an easier transition to a clean energy system – from building awareness and overcoming the dominance of hydrocarbons, to strengthening the grid capacity to absorb intermittent renewables, to tackling the growing supply costs increases and disruptions in manufacturing supply chains, to mobilizing various sources of capital. The panel is a forum for regional actors to share their experiences, plans and ambitions.

H.E. Ervin Ibrahimović, Deputy Prime Minister for Regional Development and Minister of Capital Investments, Montenegro 

George Sergiu Niculescu, Secretary of State, Ministry of Energy, Romania 

H.E. Naser Nuredini, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, Republic of North Macedonia 

Moderator: Grzegorz Zielinski, Director, Head of Energy Europe, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

3:20 p.m. Clean Energy Technologies and Financing Mechanisms 

Technological change and advancement will continue to be one of the key driving forces behind the proliferation of clean energy across the globe. Panelists will discuss the impact of the latest and ongoing developments in energy storage systems, batteries, electric vehicles, carbon capture and small modular reactors (SMRs) on the energy transition. 

Lee Beck, Senior Director in Europe, Clean Air Task Force

Sinan Ak, CEO, Zorlu Enerji

Özgür Kartal, Business Development Director, IC Energy

Gianpiero Nacci, Acting Director for Green Economy and Climate Action, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Moderator: Eser Özdil, Nonresident Fellow, Atlantic Council IN TURKEY

4:20 p.m. Hydrogen: what role in the clean energy transition? 

Hydrogen energy is a key component in combating climate change and helping with decarbonization in the energy system. Innovating and implementing hydrogen technologies will help with the transition to a clean, sustainable, low-carbon energy system. To increase the use of hydrogen, governments should find strategies and ways to cooperate in solving significant challenges around the energy transition. 

Mehmet Erdem Yaşar, Associate Director, Energy Eurasia, Middle East and Africa, Sustainable Infrastructure Group, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Moderator: Bina Hussein, Nonresident Fellow, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council

5:20 p.m. Closing Remarks  

Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council 

Previous Conference

The conference will be the second cooperation between the Atlantic Council IN TURKEY and EBRD following a successful joint conference in February 2020 on regional renewable energy outlook.

Organized by

The Global Energy Center promotes energy security by working alongside government, industry, civil society, and public stakeholders to devise pragmatic solutions to the geopolitical, sustainability, and economic challenges of the changing global energy landscape.

The Atlantic Council in Turkey aims to promote dialogue and strengthen transatlantic engagement with the region through research, programming and high-level discussion forums to address critical issues around energy, economics, migration, and security.

In partnership with

Interested in the conference?

To learn about partnership opportunities, attendance and media participation, please contact Grady Wilson at [email protected] and Paddy Ryan at [email protected].