Speakers and moderator at the side event. From left: Justin Perrettson (Novozymes A/S), Morten Wetland (Norway's Ambassador), Elizabeth Heider (Skanska). 
Photo: Norway UN Mission/Sigrun Agøy Engum.Speakers and moderator at the side event. From left: Justin Perrettson (Novozymes A/S), Morten Wetland (Norway's Ambassador), Elizabeth Heider (Skanska). Photo: Norway UN Mission/Sigrun Agøy Engum

Successful side event on Sustainable Energy for All

Last updated: 3/30/2012 // “Sustainable Energy for All” was the theme of the Nordic side event held Tuesday 27th of March. The side event was arranged during the informal negotiations leading up to the Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development. This side event can be seen as a reflection of Norway strong focus on sustainable energy.

People from several member states and none-governmental organizations gathered in Conference Room B at the UN Headquarters on Tuesday 27th, placing themselves around the table, along the wall and some of the late-comers even sat on the floor. They were all assembled to listen to Nordic representatives from the private and public sector. The side event was moderated by the Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, Morten Wetland.

Skanska on energy-efficiency

Elizabeth Heider, Senior Vice President of Skanska, spoke about energy-efficiency in the Empire State Building and in New York City. She said that today 79% of the CO2 emissions come from buildings and only 21% from transportation. By making buildings more eco-friendly one can make a serious reduction in the buildings energy consumption and water use. This will be money saved for the owner of the building. Therefore, even if it costs money to do green remodelling, the investment pays back. Skanska is also in favour of reporting on the performance of buildings and make these reports available for the inhabitants of the city. This might initiate a competitive situation, where the building owner or developer wants to perform well on ratings. However, 70% of buildings are not engaged in this issue at the moment.

Novozymes - make products more environmentally friendly

Justin Perrettson, Senior Advisor for Public Affairs at Novozymes A/S spoke about how bio technology can drive renewable energy and make consumer products more environmentally friendly. He used laundry detergent as an example. By making the detergent more effective one can save production costs, lowering the volume of transportation and the user can turn the dial down to 30 degrees. All of these things reduce CO2 emissions. Sustainable energy is all about thinking new and innovative, Perrettson stated.

The Norwegian Energy+ initiative

Petter Nore, Director and Head of Department at Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, held his presentation on the Norwegian Energy+ initiative. He spoke about how increasing energy access in least developed countries is important, and also focused on reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases. To achieve these goals one must work on capacity building. Energy + is country-driven, working with a sectoral approach.

Geothermal Power Generation - an overview

Magnus Gehringer, Senior Energy Specialist at the World Bank / ESMAP, gave an overview to the Geothermal Power Generation. He stated that geothermal renewable energy sources are often forgotten, but they possess an enormous potential. They are based on something our own planet provides; heat. Geothermal energy is clean, cheap and has a reliable base load. Test drillings are, unfortunately, extremely costly: 20-30 mill dollars at first drilling. However, there are 40 countries that can cover their entire need for energy with geothermal, something that makes up for the investments.

Policy solutions

Tarja Reponen, Ambassador for Sustainable Development, rounded off the presentation by talking about how policies can stimulate more innovative sustainable development solutions, and the crucial role that the public sector plays for facilitating private investments. This is an important aspect of the Rio +20 conference.

Following the presentations the audiences were eager to get their questions answered, and there was hardly enough time to let everyone speak. After the event the discussions continued among the listeners as they left Conference Room B and headed for their afternoon appointments.

See pictures from the side event here.

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