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Energy experts argue for greater efficiency in Europe

Date
03 April 2014
Energy experts argue for greater efficiency in Europe

LONDON: Almost 200 European policy and decision-makers from private, public and civil society met in Monaco last week for the fourth Euro-Mediterranean Energy Efficiency Forum, where it was agreed greater energy efficiency is needed in Europe. 

The annual conference, which is jointly organized by The Climate Group, Johnson Controls and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, aims to facilitate discussion on best practice for energy efficiency and economic growth. It provides delegates with the opportunity to look at energy investment in a comparative context to see how greater energy efficiency can be achieved.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco gave a succinct summary of the necessity of such a forum: “At a time when the future of our planet is subjected to significant threats, at a time when energy-related strategic issues appear to be more controversial than ever before, above all at a time when Europe is struggling to find the mainsprings of new economic growth, this is an objective which we should target together. In this way, we will make energy efficiency a genuine source of shared hope for our planet.”

The focus of the event was on the future and opportunity the low carbon economy presents. Adrian Joyce, campaign director of Renovate Europe, acknowledged that for Europe to meet its 2030 targets, the retrofitting of old buildings was paramount. He said that to effectively tackle greenhouse gas emissions a binding target for the energy consumption of buildings of 55% should be introduced. "We should not be talking about burden sharing, but opportunity sharing," the campaign director affirmed.

Michael Geissler, CEO of the Berlin Energy Agency, noted that the situation in the Ukraine ensures dialogue on energy efficiency - and the security it offers - is now more relevant than ever: "Given the tensions between the EU and Russia, energy security may become more important in the next months and perhaps the next few years.”

Panellist Agostino Renna, CEO of GE Lighting in Europe, re-iterated Mr Geissler’s calls for greater energy efficiency, and highlighted that now is the ideal time to grasp the opportunity. He pointed to the heightened awareness of climate change, the growth of the "industrial internet" and corporate innovation, as factors which bode well for future energy efficiency.

Innovator Awards 

A distinctive feature of the conference is the emphasis it places on recognizing the efforts of individuals and organization in promoting greater energy efficiency.

Now in its second year, the Energy Efficiency Innovator Awards program honoured Patrick Fankhauser, Co-Founder and Fund Manager SUSI Energy Efficiency Fund, Marieke van Schaik, Managing Director of the Dutch Post Lottery and environmental journalist Arthur Neslen for their sustainability efforts.

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By Alana Ryan

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