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22 Facts for the 22nd World Energy Congress


To mark the 22nd World Energy Congress, the organisers of the world’s most prestigious energy event today released 22 facts that help tell the story of this remarkable gathering and the Korean ‘solar city’ of Daegu in which it will take place from 13 to 17 October 2013 [see Notes to Editors].

The fascinating 90-year history of the World Energy Congress has seen contributions from brilliant scientists such as the great physicist Albert Einstein, inspirational speakers including International Space Station astronaut Steve Maclean, and the first discussions of natural gas and nuclear fusion as future energy sources.

This October’s Congress theme of ‘Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today’ will continue that pioneering tradition with sessions on renewable energy, smart grids and future technologies. Host city Daegu, famous for its industry, innovation and culture, is a global renewable energy hub while the EXCO Centre where Congress will meet is one of the world’s leading green convention venues.

Hwan-eik Cho, Chairman of the World Energy Congress 2013 Organizing Committee, commented:

“The dynamic city of Daegu is an appropriate venue for discussions on the future of world energy. Here our visitors from across the globe will see practical demonstrations of tomorrow’s energy today, from the energy-efficient convention centre to an impressive array of the renewable energy technologies that will help power the cities of the future.”

Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, added:

“Throughout its long and distinguished history, the World Energy Congress has always been a forward looking event. Our predecessors were not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom in tackling the pressing energy issues of their day, and brought some of the world’s most brilliant minds to their debates. Daegu will continue that tradition with a visionary agenda and compelling speakers from across the world of energy.”

The World Energy Congress will take place from 13-17 October 2013 at the EXCO Exhibition & Convention Center in Daegu, South Korea.

22 Facts for the 22nd World Energy Congress

  • The origins of the World Energy Congress go back to shortly after the First World War, when Scotsman Daniel Dunlop, a visionary working in the British electricity industry, decided to bring together leading energy experts to discuss current and emerging energy issues.
  • The brilliant scientist Albert Einstein and Sir Arthur Eddington, a distinguished astrophysicist who first explained Einstein’s theory of relativity in English, both gave speeches at the Berlin event in 1930.
  • The 1950 Congress in London was the first to discuss natural gas and atomic energy as potential energy resources, amid concerns over the security of the world’s oil supplies. There are clear parallels to the context within which this year’s Congress takes place.
  • ‘Energy Olympics’, the nickname for the World Energy Congress, was first referred to at the 1980 Munich Congress by the Mayor of Munich. He was talking about the competition among nations for energy resources, and the fact that success or failure was, by many national regimes, seen in terms of national survival – similar to athletes at the Olympic Games.
  • Canadian astronaut Steve Maclean gave the opening address to the 2010 World Energy Congress in Montreal on the use of space technologies for energy and environmental needs.
  • The first conference was held in London in 1924. Since then, it has taken place in Berlin, Washington DC, Vienna, Melbourne, Moscow, Bucharest, Detroit, Istanbul, Munich, New Delhi, Cannes, Montreal, Madrid, Tokyo, Houston, Buenos Aires, Sydney and Rome.
  • Only two cities have hosted the World Energy Congress more than once – London (1924, 1950) and Montreal (1989, 2010).
  • Daegu is only the second East Asian city to host the World Energy Congress. The first was Tokyo in 1995.
  • The major industries of Daegu are automobile parts, metals, machinery and textiles. Around 700 companies in Daegu supply the core parts to neighbouring industrial cities such as Gumi (LG, Samsung), Changwon (GM Daewoo, Rotem), Pohang (POSCO), Ulsan (Hyundai) and Busan (Renault-Samsung).
  • Daegu was designated a Solar City by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in recognition of its eco-friendly energy management.
  • Daegu has built an array of renewable energy facilities including the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell power plant (11.2MW) and Korea’s largest tower-type solar power plant (200kw).
  • Each year, Daegu hosts Asia’s largest renewable energy exhibition, the Green Energy Expo Korea.
  • The 22nd World Energy Congress will take place in Daegu’s EXCO centre. With more than 22,000 square metres of floor space and 34 conference venues, EXCO is one of the world’s leading green convention centres. Its renewable energy facilities include a 222 kW photovoltaic system – the largest in a single building; 122 solar daylighting panels; a 27 RT-capacity geothermal heating and cooling system; and a 204m2 solar water heating system.
  • Recent international events hosted in Daegu include the FIFA World Cup, the International Solar Cities Congress, the Green Energy Expo, the IAAF World Athletics Championships, and the International Congress of Entomology.
  • A wide variety of cultural events are held regularly in Daegu, including international music and opera festivals, a medicinal herb festival, and the world’s largest body painting festival.
  • Located within a 90-minute drive of Daegu are several UNESCO World Heritage sites which embody the profound Buddhist and Confucian culture that developed during Korea’s 5,000-year history. They include the Haeinsa Temple, home to the Tripitaka Koreana, a sacred Buddhist text.
  • Daegu arboretum was formerly a waste landfill. The 230,000 m2 site is now a splendid park with more than 1,000 species of plants, flowers, and trees, greenhouses, herb gardens and picnic areas.
  • Daegu has been a major centre of oriental herb medicine for more than 350 years. Its reputation has spread beyond Asia as far as Hollywood, where the legendary actor Anthony Quinn (Zorba the Greek, Lawrence of Arabia, La Strada) had various herbal remedies shipped from Daegu.
  • Daegu’s first Western-style hospital was founded in 1899 by Dr. Woodbridge O. Johnson from Missouri, USA. It has since been converted into an historical museum.
  • Daegu is becoming one of Asia’s leading medical hubs, treating patients from across the continent including China, India and Southeast Asia. The city boasts five medical universities, 29 general hospitals, 30 oriental medicine clinics and 18,000 medical personnel, including more than 6,000 doctors.
  • The traditional folk village of Otgol, located just outside Daegu, was built in 1616 by a Confucian scholar. Today it is home to the Otgol Village Festival where visitors can witness life as it was led in Korea 400 years ago.
  • Daegu has been called the ‘Milan of the East’, home to the latest fashion trends as well as more traditional Korean costumes.



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