World Sustainable Energy Days 2020: nearly 600 participants gathered in Wels to advance the Energy Transition

The World Sustainable Energy Days (WSED) are one of Europe’s largest annual conferences in this field. The 2020 conference will take place from 04 – 06 March 2020 in Wels/Austria.

World Sustainable Energy Days 2020: nearly 600 participants gathered in Wels to advance the Energy Transition

FEDARENE participated in the 2020s edition of the World Sustainable Energy Days. The 3-days conference gathered more than 600 participants, from business stakeholders engaged in the energy transition to representatives of local and regional governments. 

The policy focus of WSED this year was, of course, the new Green Deal adopted by the European Commission, and the commitment of the European Union to be the first Climate-neutral continent by 2050. “Energy Efficiency First”, and “Global leadership in renewables” were at the centre of the discussion, allowing various stakeholders involved in the energy sector to demonstrate what steps are taken toward this path. The European Energy Efficiency Conference provided attendees with a comprehensive package of conferences, workshops, networking events and on-site visits. It also showcased an exhibition on building efficiency and renewable energy. 

Energy Efficiency is a central topic when it comes to the industry and its role in the Energy transition. With that regard, the Industrial Energy efficiency conference presented strategies implementing Artificial intelligence, International collaboration and R&D solutions to work towards decarbonisation. This conference was of particular interest for business actors willing to showcase the steps they are taking in building the “Industry 5.0”. It was also the occasion for Francisco Puente, representative of ESCAN, to address the question of Decarbonisation with Industrial heat and cold in an inspiring presentation.

Two workshops were of particular interest to FEDARENE members during the conference.

  • The workshop “New opportunities for Energy Agencies” was organised in the context of the ManagEnergy initiative. Christiane Egger, the conference director and FEDARENE Vice-President for Energy Efficiency, presented the ManagEnergy initiative and its potential for Energy agencies. The event gathered  58 people from 23 countries, including around 17 European regional and local energy agencies and several other non-European agencies and relevant local actors. This workshop aimed at providing Energy Agencies with tailored solutions to embrace new opportunities in the framework of the Green Deal. The workshop was moderated by Vlasta Krmelj, who underlined the key role of Energy Agencies “in catalysing change for the Energy Transition”. Then a series of presentations took place, including a presentation by Rados Horacek (DG ENER, European Commission) on opportunities brought by the European Green Deal, and several presentations on inspiring projects implemented by energy agencies. The event was focused on exchanges of views and peer to peer learning between those organisations, in a practical approach. The main objective of the session was to underline new fields of interest for Energy Agencies to be able to develop their action working towards energy-efficient targets. Several FEDARENE members took this opportunity to enlighten their achievements: KSSENAMENEA, the Cyprus Energy Agency, the Bucharest Energy Efficiency and Environmental Protection Agency and the Greater Stockholm Energy Agency. All presented illustrations of the opportunities open for Energy Agencies regarding the Energy transition in various domains, from the hydrogen economy to youth employment.
  • The question of financing was tackled during the “Green Financing Workshop”. It was organised in the context of the PROSPECT H2020 Project. The workshop focused on useful tools and smart financing instruments for Energy-related projects. The ELENA Facility was presented by a representative of the European Investment Bank. Several speakers from local and regional authorities and energy agencies had the opportunity to present their views on their own successful experience. Note for example the intervention of the host, the OÖ Energiesparverband, on facilitation services for scaling up green financing, or the Girona Province which presented its experience with BeEnergi in the installation of biomass boilers through several financing sources.

The Energy Efficiency Policy Conference gave space for “Young Voices for the energy transition” during an interactive exchange to provide inputs on what are the priorities according to young people in research and industry. Vlasta Kremlj, director of ENERGAP and  FEDARENE Vice-President for Financing and Investment, gave an insight on her own experience, from an engineer and energy agency director to becoming a mayor of the Selnica ob Dravi Municipality. Her inspiring talk developed on the central role of Energy efficiency on her career path, but also the creation of a better community image in this field. This conference was organised in the context of the Energy Efficiency Watch 4 project, funded under the Horizon2020 budget. This project aims at developing narratives for a better understanding of energy efficiency at both national, regional and local levels.

Other events and conferences took place during the week, such as the European Pellet conference underlying the role of Biomass in the clean energy transition, and presenting Pellets as an important solution of climate policy; The Young Energy Researchers Conference; the E-mobility Conference, presenting for example how the energy transition in the mobility sector is progressing. This conference is related to circular economy objectives, especially stressing the importance of life cycle assessments and possibilities for the reuse of car batteries.

The 2021 edition of the World Sustainable Energy Days has already been announced. It will take place in Wels, February 24 – 26 2021. The call for the 2021 editions’ speakers and papers has also been launched and will remain open until October 12th 2020. Further information will be available on WSED2021’s website later on.