At a critical juncture in climate change negotiations and as energy policy matures, the importance of developing sustainable sources of energy is increasingly clear to all. For example, the EU is investing over EUR 33 billion in sustainable energy from 2014 until 2020. Using those funds, it is estimated that the EU can create 4.4 million jobs in the renewable sector, cut 371 million tonnes of oil imports and generate EUR 9.6 billion of savings in gas imports.
The EUSEW programme in Brussels (15-19 June) featured a range of debates tackling key issues, such as energy efficiency, investments in renewables, smart cities, decentralised energy and smart-energy solutions.
A total of nearly 700 Energy Day events took place across the EU throughout June. Exhibitions, online events, performances, guided tours, open door days, workshops, media campaigns and concerts were hosted by a wide range of stakeholders, both public and private entities, to help promote secure, clean and efficient energy.
Highlights of the Policy Conference
A key moment of the Policy Conference (16-18 June) in Brussels was the opening debate about energy efficiency. This featured MEP Claude Turmes whose rap ‘Don't cap renewables!’ was a viral hit. The session also featured Eric-Philippe Vinesse, Senior Vice President (Research and Development) at Michelin, Monica Frassoni, President of the European Alliance to Save Energy, and Sylvia Maurer, Head of Sustainability and Safety at BEUC, the European consumer organisation.
Another highlight was the presentation of the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2015 Special Report on Energy and Climate. That debate featured Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU’s Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Tord Lien, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Fatih Birol, Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics at the IEA and Dominique Ristori, the Director General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy. Another key speaker was Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union who spoke about his ‘realistic dreams’ of a better energy future in Europe.
During the conference, Commissioner Cañete singled out energy-efficient buildings, appliances and transport as having the greatest potential for savings – on energy and energy bills. His confirmation that the A+, A++ and A+++ grades would be removed from appliance energy labels was greeted with applause. This move was also welcomed by BEUC’s Sylvie Maurer who called for better planning and consumer advice to reduce energy footprints.
MEP Claude Turmes described EUSEW 2015 as ‘an opportunity to reach out to citizens’. However, he also said that the Commission’s 27 % target for energy efficiency and renewables is not ambitious enough, describing it as an effective ‘cap on renewables’.
The IEA’s Fatih Birol began his speech with some good news: ‘Governments are becoming more and more active in energy efficiency and the energy industry is starting to engage.’ More than two-thirds of the world’s countries have already made pledges for the UN Climate Change Convention Conference of the Parties 21 (COP21) in Paris, he said, which – if delivered – will have a material impact on the already changing energy sector.
The IEA has proposed four measures to signal a firm commitment to climate goals: a peak in emissions around 2020, based on demand-side measures; cleaner energy production and phasing out fossil-fuel subsidies; pledges to be reviewed every five years to account for changing energy production conditions; concrete, clear CO2 reduction goals; and a fixed process for tracking the energy transition.
More highlights on the EUSEW website in the 'News and views' section
EUSEW Policy Conference in numbers
- Over 2700 people attended the Policy Conference in Brussels, including delegates, the press and leading politicians
- There were around 60 sessions at the Policy Conference and nearly 700 Energy Day activities Europe-wide
- Over 2300 people followed the three days of the conference via web streaming
- The first-ever Networking Village at EUSEW attracted significant attention:
- Around 550 people signed up to use the match-making tool
- Over 500 likes and 1500 profile views in the system
- Some 37,000 page views using the match-making platform
- Around 10,000 twitter mentions (some 6500 as retweets)
- A potential reach of nearly 8 million Twitter accounts
- Top tweeting countries: Belgium, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Spain
- Most covered session: opening session on ‘Energy Efficiency First’ with Commissioner Arias Cañete: 975 tweets
- Top users tweeting about #EUSEW15: @worldbank @eu_commission @jerzybuzek @europarl_en @dublinairport @iea @corinnelepage
- Top overall tweet: the energy efficiency rap by MEP Claude Turmes: https://twitter.com/euenergyweek/statuses/610733153049792512
2015 Sustainable Energy Awards
A short film introduced a crowded auditorium to the nine nominees chosen from a record 373 submissions – three from each of the three categories. The three winners were:
Project name: Co-operative Energy’s User Chooser
Category: Renewable energy
Location: Warwick, UK
By putting the customer in control of the energy mix and promoting community-based generation, a UK co-operative has established a model for citizen-centred energy supply.
Co-operative Energy enables customers to decide on the mix of electricity they buy via their unique online User Chooser facility. Consumers can select the generation type they prefer and even determine the specific site, such as a wind farm in Cumbria or a solar installation in Somerset.
Project name: The Desendolla’t Project
Category: Cities, communities and regions
Location: Vic, Spain
The Desendolla’t Project is a local Catalan project that has shown that schools can unlock capital for educational purposes through the intelligent use of energy. The project to improve the energy efficiency of public school buildings in Osona, Spain has resulted in a 21 % average energy saving across 27 schools after just two years. This translates into a cost saving of just over EUR 281,000. Energy savings were made through the installation of smart meters and remote central heating, as well as through workshops on better management techniques.
Project name: ecoGator – A smartphone app building on the EU label
Category: Energy efficiency
Location: Vienna, Austria
Developed through the myEcoNavigator project, this new smartphone ecoGator app offers consumers a low-cost means of achieving energy efficiency with every purchase. The app scans the label using a smartphone’s built-in camera, provides a traffic light rating system and offers a simple comparison with other products on the market. ecoGator was launched in October 2014 and, by February 2015, some 12,000 users had already installed the app on their smartphone. The potential for expansion remains huge, and it is hoped that the project will produce accumulated energy savings of 1.95 TWh by 2020.
To know more:
For more media information:
Laure Vandeghinste – firstname.lastname@example.org – +32 (0) 2 893 98 76 – www.eusew.eu
About EU Sustainable Energy Week
EUSEW is the premier event for public authorities, energy agencies, private companies, NGOs and industry associations engaged in helping to meet the EU’s energy and climate goals. It features activities dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions all over Europe. First launched by the European Commission in 2006, the event is organised with the support of the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME).