EUFORES 12th Inter-Parliamentary Meeting on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
"Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency - Ways out of the economic crisis!"
EUFORES 12th Inter-Parliamentary Meeting took place on Friday, 23rd of November and Saturday, 24th of November in the Hellenic Parliament in Athens. This meeting of the most active parliamentarians in Europe in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency was also attended by officials of national governments, the European Commission, experts and selected representatives from industry, the scientific sector and NGOs. The one-and-a-half-day conference was accompanied by a welcome reception, a gala dinner in the Dionysos Restaurant, with a breathtaking view of the Acropolis, and a lunch at the sea-side.
IPM12 raised essential issues and questions, with tough and educational discussions which faced problems and presented solutions. The conference was extremely forward looking, regarding future targets as well as presenting innovative ideas. Moreover, the attendance was great, with around 50 representatives from 15 national parliaments and 110 participants in total, as well as the atmosphere during the conference.
The first day of the conference focused on several topics, with speakers coming from a variety of backgrounds in order to get a comprehensive overview of the renewable energy situation in Greece and in Europe in general. The conference was opened by the kind welcome addresses of Anni Podimata, a Member of the European Parliament, Vice-President of EUFORES and Vice-President of the European Parliament; Evangelos Meimarakis, the President of the Hellenic Parliament; Yannis Maniatis, a Greek Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Host of IPM12.
After the inspiring key-note speeches from Claude Turmes, a Member of the European Parliament and President of EUFORES, and Asimakis Papageorgiou, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, a look into the Greek case was taken through a lively debate, discussing government funding systems, feed-in tariffs, taxes and building permits for renewable energy sources projects. The aim of the discussion was to consider renewable energy sources projects as a way out of the economic crisis. Both the electricity sector and heating and cooling sector were reflected upon. In the session thereafter, the role of structural funds, the investment mix of public/private funding and access to capital were extensively covered.
Furthermore, a think-outside-of-the-box speech was held by Peter Economides, Brand Strategist and CEO, Felix BNI, Ginetai. He gave an original and moving presentation on the way renewables should be viewed and could be branded. The first conference day also accommodated regional workshops which provided constructive discussion platforms with representatives from the respective regions (Southern and Mediterranean, North-Western, Baltic and Scandinavian, Central and South-Eastern Europe). These were set-up in the framework of our Keep-on-track! project as well as the following session on the Renewables Directive and the evaluation of the implementation of EU Member States´renewable energy policies in relation to the 20% renewable energy target by 2020.
On the second day of the IPM12, the conference was devoted to energy efficiency discussing the implementation of the Energy Services Directive and transposition of the new Energy Efficiency Directive.The panels were balanced out with representatives from the European institutions, Members of Parliament, scientists and industry representatives.
In his key-note speech, Yannis Maniatis, Greek Member of Parliament and Former Deputy Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change stressed the huge untapped potential for energy savings in Greece. He concluded his speech with the vision of Greece as an energy-self-sufficient country.
Then, Nils Borg (eceee) and Efthimios Vidalis (Sustainable Development Committee of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises) presented the basics of energy efficiency and introduced its potential. Nils Borg argued that energy efficiency should be our main strategy as it is the way to tackle our current challenges such as climate protection, energy security, air quality and related health problems, economy growth and job creation.
Another valuable contribution to the conference was made by Stefan Thomas (Wuppertal Institute) who showcased the status of energy efficiency policies in Europe. He presented the results of the screening of National Energy Efficiency Action Plans as well as results of the survey on the implementation of national energy efficiency policies in the EU27. The full survey report is available here.
In the last session, Paul Hodson made a thourough overview of the new Energy Efficiency Directive and explained some of its binding measures. He also added how the EU will provide guidance to the Member States in implementation of the directive. Hans-Josef Fell encouraged policy makers to implement the directive as soon as possible so that the European economies can grow.
Through our IPM12, we hope to have inspired policy makers to draft renewable energy and energy efficiency friendly policies, to restructure, rethink and reinvent Europe´s energy set-up.
Please see the programme here: