- Vienna Energy Scholars 2022
Vienna Energy Scholars 2022
A day in the life at the OPEC Fund The OPEC Fund hosted a group of young professionals from the second
Vienna Energy Scholar Programme (VESP) in late September. The initiative offers a knowledge and networking platform focused on energy access, security and transition, as well as environmental challenges and is held annually with OPEC, the Austrian energy company OMV Group and Austrian government entities.
Senior Communication Officer Başak Pamir kicked off proceedings with an introduction to the work of the OPEC Fund, running through its near halfcentury in development, footprint per sector and contributions to the 2030 Agenda, particularly SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy. She closed with case studies on the OPEC Fund’s impact around the world, presenting results from Nicaragua to Haiti, Côte d’Ivoire to Mozambique, Egypt to Nepal.
Country Manager Sasaenia Paul Oluwabunmi introduced public sector operations, which he stressed “are an important catalyst for change in the global economy, particularly via publicprivate partnerships.” He gave a case study on the Mozambican economy and energy sector, including the recent investment in the Temane Transmission Project, the construction of a 563 km, 40 kV transmission system to boast energy security. The ensuing discussion focused on project risks from natural disasters to construction delays.
Portfolio Management Director Said Taufik Ridha explained the OPEC Fund’s work in the private sector and trade finance. He chose Jordan’s economy and energy sector as a case study, highlighting the additional demand for electricity from 1.4 million refugees from Syria, but also Jordan’s 300 days of sunshine per annum and high average wind speeds – ideal for renewable energy generation. He closed with a quiz on power plant “bankability”, covering everything from shareholder capacity to interconnection to community impact.
Questions again came thick and fast, including on the technical side: Do sandstorms interfere with the energy generation of solar panels? And is the technology in place to address such problems?
The final presentation was led jointly by Head of Development Effectiveness Ulrike Haarsager and Senior Advisor for ESG Somnath Basu who touched on, among many other things, what concrete changes do projects make in people’s lives, what are the outputs in terms of deliverables and how does the OPEC Fund add to, and not crowd out, commercial financing.
Rounding off the day, the students were invited to an energy-related quiz with topical questions such as how many people lack electricity worldwide, and how many kilowatt hours per week does a shower consume? Three smart and lucky winners walked away with their prizes – but all the scholars seemed to leave with smiles on their faces.