Clean energy in the limelight: Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue & 2nd meeting of the ...

31 Mar 2017

Clean energy in the limelight: Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue and 2nd meeting of the G20 Energy Sustainability Working Group

Last week, IPEEC actively participated in the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD) and the 2nd meeting of the G20 Energy Sustainability Working Group (ESWG) in Berlin, Germany.

The annual Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue was at its most international and active ever, with over 2000 high-level participants from 93 countries attending the conference and over 3000 people following the live stream.

Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sigmar Gabriel, formerly of BMWi (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy), and the BMWi’s current Minister, Mrs. Brigitte Zypries, opened the BETD. Both ministers used their respective keynote speeches to highlight the need for a global energy transition that ensures compatibility between energy security, economic competitiveness, affordability and social equality – with digitalisation as a key driver.

This year’s conference focused very much on implementation, looking at the energy system holistically and exploring long-term outlooks for planning and investment. Energy efficiency featured high on the agenda, not least with Mr. Bertrand Piccard, pioneer of Solar Impulse - a long-range airplane which flew on solar energy alone for a year- emphasising the need for a paradigm shift towards more energy efficiency and a focus on developing solutions, rather than discussing problems. His apt metaphor captured the point: “when a bathtub is leaking, we should fill it by repairing the leak, not by turning on the tap even more”.

This was supported by the latest analysis on the decarbonisation of the energy sector, which was conducted jointly by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The study showed that energy efficiency investments need to increase by at least a factor of five in order to achieve the emissions reductions needed for a well below 2 degree Celsius scenario, which is the climate goal outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The following day, IPEEC’s Executive Director Benoit Lebot moderated a panel discussion on industrial energy efficiency. Speakers from five countries, representing both the public and private sectors, outlined the challenges and opportunities linked to increasing energy efficiency in industry, which included fostering an enabling policy and investment framework for energy efficiency and addressing the lack of awareness about available efficiency solutions among industry professionals. Innovative technology was also raised as an important point, as was the need for international cooperation among countries to further the take up of energy efficiency in this sector.

The BETD set the scene for the 2nd ESWG meeting and provided much food for thought for delegates from G20 countries and beyond. G20 ESWG members exchanged experiences and discussed the collective action needed from the group to decarbonise the energy sector. As a significant input, the G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group (EEFTG) [our website link] presented its proposed G20 Energy Efficiency Investment Toolkit, which was welcomed by many countries as a useful set of voluntary options to address the many challenges linked to a successful energy transition.

The third and final meeting of the G20 ESWG this year will take place on the 3-4 May in Hamburg, preceded by the G20 Energy Efficiency Forum on 2 May – a full-day, high-level conference on energy efficiency hosted by the G20 Presidency. The international energy efficiency dialogue is as strong as ever and IPEEC looks forward to continue supporting it further.