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The Challenge of Our Time

The EI premiered a specially produced documentary at COP26 in Glasgow, chronicling a 500-mile road trip across Scotland’s future energy landscape by a team of young Scottish energy professionals passionate about playing a practical role in combatting climate change.

Transported by ferry, train and Tesla, the group visited some of the most innovative, essential and dramatic energy projects, from biomass in Shetland and tidal in Orkney, to carbon capture and storage off Aberdeen and wind energy at Whitelee. It was a journey of discovery. Through what they saw and heard interviewing fellow young professionals and senior leaders on site, they arrived in Glasgow with findings they believed can help the UK and global community on the urgent race to net zero.

The project is part of the EI’s Generation 2050 initiative and its partners, with special thanks to Worley and all of the companies visited in the film.

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Generation 2050 Manifesto

Climate change is an intergenerational emergency that requires urgent action. It affects us at local, national and global levels as we consider the challenge of adapting our habits as a world community. This is compounded by the need to meet growing global energy demand, particularly for many millions still living without adequate access to energy.

We are Generation 2050. Young professionals embarking on their careers in energy today, and we will be the industry’s leaders in 2050. We will inherit a sector that will be judged on how it has responded, so it’s crucial that our knowledge is utilised, and our concerns are heard.

Through this Manifesto, we are reverse mentoring our political and industrial leaders; giving a collective voice to tomorrow’s energy leaders and providing fresh views on the skills we will need to meet global net zero targets.

As we approach critical decisions in the lead up to COP26 and for the recovery from the global pandemic, there hasn’t been a more important time for the voices of Generation 2050 to be heard.

Sinead Obeng

Sinead Obeng AMEI, Chair, Energy Institute Young Professionals Council

Industry and political leaders respond to the Manifesto

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"The power to bring about change is in everybody’s hands - I couldn’t agree more! I was inspired by this statement and the full message in the Generation 2050 manifesto - written by over 1,000 young leaders.

The energy transition will require collaboration, diversity and original thinking - and this document is a brilliant example of all three areas in action. BP shares the same passion to reimagine energy and I am excited to see these young leaders help us, and the world, reach net-zero."

-Bernard Looney FEI, CEO, BP

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"I welcome this powerful Manifesto organised by the Energy Institute. It is imperative that we listen to the voices of those who will lead the next phase of the energy transition. I strongly agree that greater pace and ambition is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, and that enabling universal access to energy - using low-carbon and renewable sources where possible - is fundamentally important for a sustainable future.

I give you the only response that is acceptable: I hear you, Shell hears you, and that’s why we have an ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business, by 2050 or sooner, in step with society."

-Ben van Beurden, CEO, Shell

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"Those just embarking on their careers in energy today will inherit the sector by the middle of the century. They’ll inherit all the progress I believe we will have made, but also any challenges that are left unresolved.

I’m very encouraged to see the Generation 2050 initiative giving young people in the sector a voice to express their views and perspectives to leaders in the sector."

-Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, UK Government

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"The Generation 2050 manifesto rightly calls for a collaborative and expeditious approach by industry and government to tackle the challenges our world faces.

The young professionals, whose views are reflected in this manifesto, are well equipped to take this industry forward, as we transition to a lower carbon future. It is crucial their voices are heard."

-Jim House, CEO, Neptune Energy

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"Today’s young professionals are the future leaders of the energy transition so it is fantastic to see ‘Generation 2050’ champion universal access to energy, investment in technology and infrastructure plus immediate action on climate change.

“We must take urgent and radical action if we are to tackle climate change so it is encouraging to know that the reigns will be handed over to a generation who consider this a shared, global challenge requiring shared, global solutions."

-Emma Pinchbeck, CEO, Energy UK

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"The Generation 2050 Manifesto is comprehensive in laying out the challenges of the main issues facing our industry today: pace and needed actions on addressing climate change, energy equality on a global scale and the empowerment and skill development of the next generation of the industry.

The Manifesto both reinforces to us that we are taking the right steps as a business and also inspires us to continue to challenge ourselves and our industry to be more ambitious and move quicker."

-John Pettigrew FEI, CEO, National Grid

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"At the heart of a Green Recovery and combating climate change is the necessity to reach net zero by 2050. This is a challenging, but achievable target.

Young energy professionals are central to the debate about how we achieve this change, they are in a unique position to help shape the outcome for our planet. Generation 2050 is a fantastic contribution to that process and we look forward to working with the Energy Institute and its member on this exciting project."

-Duncan Clark, Head of UK Region, Ørsted

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"I welcome and am humbled by the enthusiasm of the army of young energy professionals ready to join the energy industry at such a crucial time to save our planet from irreversible adverse consequences. We have been such a large part of the problem, we are now called to be an even larger part of the solution!"

-Simone Rossi, CEO, EDF Energy

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"Young energy professionals are central to the debate about how we achieve this change, they are in a unique position to help shape the outcome for our planet. Generation 2050 is a fantastic contribution to that process."

-Hayaatun Sillem CBE, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering

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"It’s fantastic to hear the views of so many future leaders of the energy industry. The actions we take now will determine the state of the planet they inherit, and so it’s no surprise they want greater pace and ambition on both climate change and universal access to energy."

-Keith Anderson HonFEI, CEO, ScottishPower

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The Generation 2050 Manifesto is a great initiative giving a voice to the next generation of leaders in the energy sector. They identify five key themes which resonate strongly with me, particularly the need to make big decisions now in order to decarbonise and deliver the green economy of the future.

-Will Gardiner, CEO, Drax Group

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"It’s critical that today’s energy leaders understand what the energy leaders of the future think about the global energy transition.
And the message is clear and stark. We are off target and time is not on our side - we need to do more to accelerate the energy transition, we need to do more to give universal access to clean energy, and we need to do more to train the workforce of the future to deliver the transition.
In short, we need to raise our collective ambition level."

-Michael Lewis, CEO, E.ON UK

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"Generation 2050 in the energy industry know what they’re saying: more needs to be done, faster, to drive towards a fairer, more sustainable industry future. While the pace of change is accelerating, it still falls far short of what is needed and there are so many ’no regrets’ options which governments could pursue. Thankfully, demography is on our side, as younger people see this so clearly. But time is not. We must all do what we can to drive change - fast."

-Joan MacNaughton CB HonFEI, Chair, Climate Group

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"The next generation of energy leaders have delivered a clear call for change; for us to better align our business plans with a fair and sustainable future.

Generation 2050 are right to say that we are not yet doing enough, and I fully support them in this challenge to our sector.  We must respond to it, so that we continue to play a positive role in society and so that we retain and best work with the talent and enthusiasm of our young professionals."

-Dr Joanne Wade OBE FEI, Chief Strategic Advisor, ADE

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"Building and retaining skills, recovering from the pandemic and keeping our eye on long-term climate goals are the defining challenges of our time. Young people get it. With will and determination, we can win on all counts. We mustn’t let the next generation down."

-Prof Jim Skea CBE FEI, Chair, Just Transition Commission

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"The Energy Institute Generation 2020 Manifesto highlights the clear voice of our Gen-Z and future leaders in the Energy Sector. I am excited by their passion, power, vision and focus which positions them to make the world a better place with energy-related jobs of the future. Hearty congratulations on this most inspiring document."

-Dr Ibilola Amao FEI, Principal Consultant, Lonadek

Join the debate on social media

Please help us amplify the voice of Generation 2050. Share the link to the manifesto and your own comments on social media – whether that’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook. Tag the Energy Institute @energyinstitute and use #Generation2050.

EI Podcast takeover

Energy in Conversation is a plain-speaking, thought-provoking look into our energy future, through the eyes of the people leading the way. Season 2 explores the views and hopes of young energy professionals from around the world, as part of the EI's Generation 2050 initiative. From the future of the electricity grid, to low-carbon finance, to the development of new energy technologies like carbon capture and storage, our guests chat about the biggest changes and challenges facing the sector.

Generation 2050 in the news

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Energyst, November 2020

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With thanks to our supporting partners:

IBM logoRepsol SinopecOrstedNeptune EnergyVattenfallEYHarbour EnergyBPWorley

With thanks to our supporting networks:

YEP Logo BLUEUADTA logoSEDET logoRAEngEnergy JoblinePOWERful WomenNuclear Institute Young Generation Network

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