Hundreds of energy leaders from all across the world gathered in Copenhagen for the 11th Energy Efficiency Global Forum, making it the most global “EE Global” do date. Here are the highlights from the first day of the conference, which took place at the UN City and also included the Nordic Clean Energy Week Opening Reception.
Opening Plenary at the UN City in Copenhagen
The biggest market in the world. That’s the opportunity businesses and governments have in transforming the global energy system, and energy efficiency should be center stage, speakers told Monday’s plenary session.
“We need this pioneering spirit. We need a sense of exploration,” said Dr. Bertrand Piccard, initiator and chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, who regularly emphasizes the pivotal role of energy efficiency in the success of his pioneering flight around the world without fossil fuels. Piccard said the world’s approach to energy is like continuing to fill a leaking bathtub instead of fixing the leak. “We always want to produce energy when instead the goal should be to consume less,” he said. But “it’s clear that the biggest market today in the world is to replace the outdated systems we use with clean new technologies.”
Other speakers echoed his call to action. “Energy efficiency is center stage,” said Susanne Hyldelund, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs state secretary for trade. “We need more global partnerships … and we need them faster.”
The EE Visionary Award
Piccard was awarded this year’s EE Visionary Award, recognizing outstanding contributions to the advancement of energy efficiency, for his efforts launching the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions, which will be selecting 1000 solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way. The solutions will be presented to world leaders at the COP24 climate talks in December to encourage the adoption of more ambitious environmental targets and energy policies.
Innovation at work
Plenary session attendees also heard quick “Take 10” presentations from corporate leaders at Microsoft, thyssenkrupp Elevator – MULTI, and E.ON-Denmark, a mobility company, about the work they’re doing to develop these markets. Bert Van Hoof, a partner at Microsoft, noted that the world will have 1 million devices coming online per hour by 2020. Michael Cesarz, CEO of thyssenkrupp Elevator – MULTI, said globally we’re constructing the building equivalent of a new Manhattan every day. This level of growth presents tremendous challenge and opportunity around managing energy consumption. Van Hoof said the key is “getting to scalable and repeatable solutions that are profitable and economically viable.”
Intensive Learning Sessions on Energy Efficiency Trends and Opportunities
During the afternoon, attendees spread across the state-of-the-art UN City campus for intensive learning sessions on various efficiency trends, with a focus on financing, investment and global markets.
The session on “Overcoming Barriers to Investing in Energy Efficiency” looked into barriers to investing in energy efficiency and ways to overcome them. UNECE organized the session jointly with the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency and Institute for Energy Efficiency in Production (EEP). UNECE’s Oleg Dzioubinski presented findings from the joint UNECE/Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency publication on the topic, and Stefan Buettner from EEP talked specifically about the role of increasing investments in industrial energy efficiency. Ksenia Petrichenko of the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency highlighted how the bundling of municipal energy efficiency projects can offer an optimal way to attract investments for energy efficient retrofits of residential and municipal buildings. The panelists from Armenia, France, Georgia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (an ESCO company in India), and Philips Lighting agreed that raising awareness of the multiple benefits of energy efficiency can be considered as one of the most important sources of increased investments.
Danida and the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency jointly hosted a session on “Danish Government Support for Energy Efficiency in Developing Countries”, which examined the development priorities of the Danish Government as they relate to energy efficiency, and pointed to some examples of its work in the field. Mark Lister from the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency moderated the session, which included participation from Asser Rasmussen Berling (Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs) on The World 2030: Danish Development Strategy, Jesper Ditlefsen (Danish Energy Agency) on DEA’s work on building Energy Efficiency through the case of Mexico, Lily Riahi (UN Environment) and Julia Panzer (Danfoss) on public-private partnership in action and the case of district energy systems, and Milan Rusnak together with Per Wretlind (UNEP-DTU) on linking SDG7 and SDG13 through the ADMIRE project.
Nordic Clean Energy Week Opening Reception
In continuation of EE Global, the Nordic Clean Energy Week Opening Reception took place at the UN City. The Director of UNEP-DTU John Christensen moderated the opening statements delivered by the Danish Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Chr. Lilleholt, the Head of the Board of Directors of Vestas Bert Nordberg and the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Høybråten.