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SMART 2020 Brussels

12:00AM, 11 December 2008
12:00AM, 11 December 2008
To Be Confirmed
SMART 2020 Brussels

SMART 2020 Brussels was the culmination of a series of four global outreach events following the launch of the SMART 2020 report in June 2008 (produced by The Climate Group and The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).

The aim of the event was to facilitate dialogue between key stakeholders in Brussels at a time when the EU Council was debating the climate and energy package, and in time to inform upcoming policy decisions on ICT and climate change.

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and the Media spoke after Luis Neves, Chair, GeSI, opened the meeting.

The Commissioner emphasised that though the focus is now on the recovery package, medium and long term economic stability will require a focus on climate change policies. She noted that we now have a chance to rethink our societies with climate change as a centerpiece to policy decision-making going forward, where the value of savings is becoming more part of mainstream thinking. "Measurement is key - we need to have the figures," she said in praise of the SMART 2020 report.

Though the sector is united in willingness to innovate, challenges remain, and she suggested that new partnerships, experimentation at the city level, and a 'lasting framework' on ICT and energy efficiency at the EU level would be needed to realise the opportunities set out in the report.

In a follow-on discussion, the following speakers presented their views:

* Larry Stone, President, Group Public and Government Affairs, British Telecoms Group

* Andy Lockhart, Vice-President Europe, Cisco Systems

* Albert Esser, Vice-President Power & Infrastructure Solutions, Dell

* Ignacio Campino, Board Representative for Sustainability and Climate Change, Deutsche Telekom

* Klaus Hieronymi, Chairman of the Environmental Board, EMEA, Hewlett-Packard

* Gordon Graylish, Vice-President, EMEA, Intel Corporation

But in the case of power grids or transport systems, energy efficiency is not a job for ICT companies alone, but a job for organisations working in partnership. Standards often facilitate this coordinated (if not collaborative) diffusion of innovation.

Larry Stone of BT, the company facilitating the ITU standards gap identification, set out a vision: "Imagine if anything with a IP address had a standardised way of reporting its utilisation factor (ie how much work it had done per unit of electricity consumed) and how much electricity it had consumed, then we could monitor (and control) really complex networks in real time." A platform for energy management becoms possible.

Andy Lockhart said that one such platform is the smart grid, which can reduce transmission and distribution losses -- these T&D losses can be as high as 25% of generation. Cisco's Connected Urban Development Programme also shows how cross-sector and public-private partnerships can deliver a platform for urban living which is based on an intelligent infrastructure.

Finally, Gordon Graylish emphasised that Intel is currently putting $4 billion into R&D each year, developing the energy efficient processors that will underpin the SMART 2020 opportunities. These technologies exist, but they need to be deployed for energy efficiency.

Ignacio Campino noted that Europe needs to address energy efficiency while also delivering on the Lisbon agenda, and suggested a cross-sector group similar to what already exists within the Commision for disscussing ICT strategy. Could an ISTAG (Information Society Programme Advisory Group)-style group work together across industry silos? Klaus Hieronymi also emphasised the importance of policy but believes that procurement is the most powerful tool government has to incentivise new product and service development by ICT companies. Government may in fact contribute 40% of Europe's total IT spend. Albert Esser from Dell noted that by applying efficiency to their own data centres, they have saved $29 million, something governments could learn from. Crisis has helped them to deliver productivity fast.

If all the companies - 6 in total - represented on the panel are investing approximately $4 billion into R&D, that's close to $24 billion each year being invested into technologies that -- with the right incentives in place -- can be deployed for energy efficiency. Industry appears ready to work in partnership with government and other sectors to capitalise on this potential.

If in fact the financial crisis is the kiss that wakes the (energy efficiency) sleeping beauty, we may see the need for these incentives and new partnerships to develop more rapidly in the near future.

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