A brief snapshot of some of the general and parallel sessions, plus some interventions by DecarbEurope partners.
Key statements from the opening session
The integrated National Energy & Climate Plans (NECPs) seem to be gaining increasing interest. They cover a 10-year period and provide an overview of the current energy system and policy situation. They also set out national objectives for the five dimensions of the Energy Union.
“As such, the NESPs are key to meet climate targets,” says Miguel Arias Cañete, and suggested that an additional investment of 180 billion euros per year are necessary to meet their objectives, through smart public funding. It is important that no region of Europe is left behind in the energy transition, which will require new initiatives to monitor energy poverty.
Claude Turmes, Minister for Energy, Luxembourg, is looking ahead to the setup of the next Commission, which he would like to see addressing five specific action areas:
- An industrial policy vision for a target of net zero emissions across Europe. He would like to see Europe as developing a series of “firsts” such as the first to make zero carbon steel, the first medium-distance electric aircraft etc. He believes Europe can be the industrial policy leader in many areas, but maybe needs to less naïve when it comes to global trade agreements. He would like to see up to 100 GW of offshore wind developed for the quick decarbonisation of the electricity system.
- Affordable housing, involving net zero buildings, where he believes Europe has failed to make sufficient progress. He would like to see the next Commission developing a major EU renovation program, with new logistics and centres of excellence (e.g. the Dutch Sprong program).
- Increased development of urban centres. Many city mayors see a huge opportunity to move their cities towards zero carbon energy systems but they need a strategic agenda with a structured and coordinated urban program encompassing buildings and mobility.
- A new deal with rural areas. A globalised approach to farming has not left rural areas of Europe in a good shape. Young people are migrating to the cities. A new policy is required for rural areas, developing these areas to help provide sustainable, high-quality food with more added value to the cities. Cities cannot provide 100% renewable energy due to the high population density; they need to work with rural areas for the production and transmission of energy.
- The East-West divide needs to carefully monitored, by improving housing for example. Also, he pointed out that diesel cars being removed from (e.g.) Germany should not end up in Eastern European cities such as Warsaw or Sofia as this just places the burden elsewhere. Policies are needed in this respect.
All in all, however, he is rather optimistic that Europe will be a global leader in the fight against climate change as it is leading in wind, has a lot of expertise photovoltaics, has developed good integration with smart grids, offers advanced mobility in certain urban centres, as has leading cable companies.
Other interventions of interest
Francesco La Camera, Director General, IRENA pointed out that Europe is not in line with the Paris Agreement, but 90% of the reductions needed will be possible if we invest in the electrification of the energy system, fuelled by renewables.
Eric Scotto of Akuo Energy gave an optimistic view, saying that Europe has strong industrial leaders, an amazing R&D force, committed architects, gifted financiers, and citizens demanding more green energy. Personally he would like to see diesel trucks changing to hydrogen trucks at a faster pace.
JerzyBuzek from the European Parliament gave the reassurance (that was appreciated by the audience with a round of applause) that the general support for shaping Europe’s energy future within the European Parliament will be the same as for the last five years.
Debate with Ambassadors
Four EUSEW19 Ambassadors were on the podium to share their inspiration to be involved in sustainable energy, and talk about how they became advocates for accelerating the energy transition.
Here are some soundbites:
- Monica Frassoni, President, European Alliance to Save Energy (EU-ASE), commented that there is a serious lack of urgency at all levels when it comes to addressing climate change. She would like to see the end to fossil fuel subsidies and greater promotion of energy efficiency.
- Monique Goyens, Director General of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) pointed out that Europe needs a stronger push for implementation of the legislation that is already in existence.
- Miriam Dalli, Member of the European Parliament, insists that The Polluter Pays principle has to be implemented now rather than in years to come.
- According to Pirjo Jantunen, Member of Board, World Energy Council Finland, for citizens to be empowered to make more sustainable choices they need a systemic transition in key areas such as food, housing, mobility, finance and energy. She brought up the topic of energy communities as key to the next steps of the Energy Transition, which is good news for REScoop.eu
EU Sustainable Energy Awards
These highlight new ways to shape Europe’s energy future. 12 finalists were selected from a shortlist of the year’s most successful projects for clean, secure and efficient energy. Prizes were awarded in the categories of Engagement, Innovation, Leadership and Youth by an expert jury and European citizens via a public vote in May. This year’s Awards Ceremony also featured a special category for Eastern Partnership countries.
- Engagement Award: Bardzour France
- Innovation Award: Transition Zero from France
- Leadership Award: Avia for a Good Climate, Spain
- Youth Award: ClimAct Portugal
- Eastern Partnership Award: Georgian Vine and Wine Company.
- Citizens Award: Avia for a Good Climate, Spain
Selected interventions from DecarbEurope partners
- RESCoop.eu at Energy Poverty session: The main aims of @RightToEnergy are clearly outlined: Ban disconnections, renovate homes, and put energy in people’s hands. And what causes energy poverty? Three interconnected causes: high energy prices, low incomes, and energy inefficient housing.
- Hydrogen Europe at Hydrogen enabling the energy transition: Hydrogen Valley in the northern Netherlands makes green hydrogen from offshore winds. They are also developing a hydrogen infrastructure through northern Netherlands for buses and cars, and are also developing it as energy storage.
- SolarPower Europe: Solar and decentralised clean energy solutions are at the core of a consumer-focused and smart energy transition. They are the gateway to a green economy, local job creation and offer direct economic benefits to citizens and businesses alike.
- COGEN Europe calls for greater focus on energy efficiency in sector coupling for resource efficiency and cost-effectiveness purposes. Foster level playing field for solutions like cogeneration integrating locally and efficiently heat, electricity & gas.
- Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Secretary General, Hydrogen Europe: Producing hydrogen via the grid: to use or not to use? Avoid using the grid and produce hydrogen directly, with a distinct hydrogen capacity to fulfil deep decarbonization.
- WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson: The draft National Energy & Climate Plans don’t get Europe to 32% renewables by 2030. And they’re badly lacking when it comes to specific policy measures.
- REScoop.eu on NECPs: We see a meagre appetite for developing community renewable energy. This is a tremendously wasted opportunity to put energy owned and run by communities at the centre of Europe’s fossil-free transformation.
- Transport & Environment: The EU Commission has published a list of projects that can be deemed ‘green and climate proof’ – in a much needed attempt to stop greenwashing, genuine mistakes and inconsistencies in the financial sector’s investment criteria: Our reaction: transenv.eu/2WQcz7l
- Walburga Hemetsberger, Chief Executive Officer, SolarPower Europe: “Solar skins are the perfect match for carbon neutral buildings and can maximize cost efficiency and socio-economic benefits of renovations.”
Check the DecarbEurope blog tomorrow for highlights of Day Two at EUSEW19!