An exhilarating week of energy events in the Nordic cities of Copenhagen and Malmo drew to a close last Friday. Known as Nordic Clean Energy Week, the event gathered an influential and broad group of actors from the energy sphere, ranging from energy ministers and researchers from G20 economies, to companies and investors with the common goal of accelerating the global transition to a world powered by renewables.
Nordic Clean Energy Week (NCEW) took place against the backdrop of the high-level Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and Mission Innovation (MI) meetings. Held concurrently in Copenhagen and Malmo, which lie on opposite sides of the Oresund, NCEW consisted of over 140 different events. Encompassing a range of different formats, the week involved the presentation of green solutions from the Nordic countries and stimulating discussions regarding the optimal way to increase the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and improve the innovation system for clean energy solutions.
As the coordinator of the week, State of Green presents you with some of the highlights from the week below.
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New Global Initiative to Drive Clean Energy Investment
A key focus of the week was the issue of how to heighten global investment levels in clean energy. This theme took centre stage in the Clean Energy Investment Forum (CEIF), which was held on Tuesday May 22. An official CEM side event, institutional partners included international organisations such as the OECD, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the International Energy Agency. A number of speakers such as Dan Brouillette, the Deputy Secretary for the US Department of Energy, Lars Chr. Lilleholt, the Danish Minister for Energy, Utlilities and Climate, Stephanie Maier, Director of Responsible Investment, HSBC Global Asset Management, Andrew McDowell, Vice President, European Investment Bank and Senior Director Riccardo Puiliti, Energy & Extractives, World Bank, CEIF discussed which policies, instruments and initiatives that enable clean energy investments could be applied at both a national and global level. The event culminated in number of international organisations expressing their support for strengthened collaboration to boost global clean energy investment in a joint communiqué. The partners welcomed the new Clean Energy Ministerial Initiative on Clean Energy Investment and Finance led by the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate. The initiative seeks to drive clean energy investment in the world’s leading economies and outlines priority areas where they will cooperate to accelerate clean energy investment.
Launch of International Energy Report
During the week, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), which is ranked one of the top ten universities in terms of energy research on a global level, launched its International Energy report 2018, as a contribution to the Mission Innovation summit.
Titled Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution – Perspectives on Innovation Challenges, the report features perspectives on Research and Development (R&D) challenges in respect of the Innovation Challenges from leading researchers. The report also describes the R&D challenges that relate to energy storage. It demonstrates that research into emerging energy technologies, from universities and industry alike, has never been closer to mitigate and combat climate change. However, the report also stresses that further research and accelerating the rate of technology transfer is much needed.
-Since its launch in 2015, the research communities and industries engaged in international cooperation in energy technology have harbored great expectations of Mission Innovation, says Birte Holst Jørgensen, senior researcher and lead editor of the report. But things are changing as the United States in particular has chosen to step out of the Paris agreement and cuts to R&D projects are common in other countries. A key conclusion in this report, therefore, is that, Mission Innovation needs to consolidate and deliver a concerted international contribution. The race to accelerate the clean energy revolution must be conducted with committed pledges and activities by all parties, governments, industries and research communities alike, Holst Jørgensen concludes.
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The Role of Energy Efficiency in the Clean Energy Transition
Improving energy efficiency will be a key factor in limiting global warming and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Energy Efficiency Global Forum is an annual event that gathers industry professionals, academics and policy makers to discuss the role of energy efficiency and which policies, solutions and technologies can spur progress.
Sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNEP DTU & Alliance to Save Energy, the theme of this year’s forum was Energy Efficiency: Innovation, Investment and Impact. Taking place over a two-day period with plenary sessions, presentations, intensive learning sessions on a number of energy efficiency trends and so-called fireside chats, the Forum also discussed how to hasten the transfer of leading energy efficiency practices to the cities and countries of the developing world, so that uptake is accelerated towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was emphasised that global platforms and partnerships can and should be leveraged to create momentum in achieving energy efficiency gains. Here, the global initiative, P4G – Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 was discussed as a tool to reach the SDG goals and SDG7 in particular. In addition, participants were treated to an update on the European Union’s efforts to implement the Paris Agreement.
Dr. Bertrand Piccard was awarded the 2018 EE Visionary Award, which recognises outstanding contributions to the advancement of energy efficiency. Founder and chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, Dr. Piccard highlighted the pivotal role energy efficiency played in the success of his pioneering flight around the world without fossil fuels when accepting his award.
Clean Energy Hack: Engaging the Talents of Tomorrow to Solve the Problems of Today
Climate Change will disproportionately affect coming generations. Therefore, it makes sense to involve them in formulating solutions. As the only student event during NCEW, approximately 50 students were selected to devise solutions to challenges put forward by the cities of Singapore, Hamilton, Stavanger and Umeå during the Clean Energy Hack. The event took place at DTU’s campus in SkyLab, the university’s innovation space.
The students split into 11 groups and pitched their solutions at the end of the day before a panel consisting of representatives from the main sponsor of the hack: ROCKWOOL and Climate-KIC. Out of the 11 groups, four teams were selected to pitch their solutions the following day to representatives from the cities and participate in workshops. The winner of the Hack was Team Urban Blocks, who responded to the Singapore Challenge. Consisting of Charlotte Frejlev, Line Lauritzen, Pradeep Kadam, Pransi Verma, their winning solution to Singapore’s challenge consisted of micro-grids of multiple east-west oriented solar panel systems on rooftops with a blockhain-based system for energy trading. The rooftops of buildings could be leased out to agribusinesses for controlled urban farming. As their prize, the team won a trip to the the Smart City Expo World in Barcelona in November to pitch their solution at the Nordic Pavilion. They will furthermore receive support from the Clean Energy Hack’s sponsors to work further on their idea to tackle Singapore’s challenge.
Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: Klima100 Showcases Danish Municipalities’ Climate Solutions
In 2013, it became obligatory for Danish municipalities to devise a climate adaptation program. The results have borne fruit, with municipalities embracing the opportunity to apply innovative solutions that not only tackle climate change, but also address other challenges, such as maintaining natural habitats, securing recreational spaces for residents and managing groundwater.
A new report launched during NCEW, Klima100 (Klima is the Danish world for climate), documents some of the solutions Danish municipalities have devised and implemented. Financed by Realdania, the publication covers a myriad of innovations, including energy efficiency measures in municipal buildings, nature preservation, and ambitious climate plans that light the way to a fossil free future. The Klima100 projects are divided into 12 categories: Responsible Procurement and Buildings, Green Behavior and Education, Renewable Energy, Green Spaces and Recreation, Climate-Proof Cities, Energy Efficiency and Technology, Climate Action Planning, Coastal Protection, Climate Adaptation of Streams and Lakes, Transportation, Sustainable Communities and Circular Economy.
The publication also maps out the 100 local success stories in relation to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Klima100 demonstrates how locally governed climate projects across Denmark are also contributing to solving some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges.