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Haitze Siemers

Head of Unit for "New energy technologies, innovation and clean coal", Directorate-General for Energy, European Commission
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Leading the energy transition

Haitze Siemers, Head of Unit for "New energy technologies, innovation and clean coal", Directorate-General for Energy, European Commission

Opinion 20 August 2019

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A Call to the EUSEW Community

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) 2019, taking place in Brussels and marked by Energy Days across Europe. Organized by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, in close cooperation with the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), this fourteenth edition of EUSEW is the flagship annual event for those working to build a secure energy future for Europe. It brings together public authorities, private companies, NGOs and others, to promote initiatives to save energy and move towards renewables for clean, secure and efficient power.

Through the many activities in EUSEW, including the Energy Days, the Sustainable Energy Awards, the Networking Village and the policy conference, we highlight the successes and the challenges of the energy transition that is taking place across Europe. This transition to low-carbon energy systems is essential for reducing carbon emissions, limiting global warming and ensuring our common future.

There are many reasons to hope and continue working for a better world. Europe now has the most advanced climate and energy legislation in the world, as exemplified by the Clean Energy for All Europeans package. At the global level we are seeing a major shift in investment flows. This shift is supported in Europe and accelerated by initiatives such as the Sustainable Energy Investment Forums, which is bringing bankers, businesses and local authorities together to boost large-scale investment and financing.

These investments pay dividends at many levels: in our homes, our neighborhoods and our cities.

Take for example, the challenge of decarbonizing our buildings, a theme which is highlighted in several articles in this magazine. This requires a collective effort – and also represents a golden opportunity for us to improve sustainability and social inclusion and create job and growth opportunities. It means more comfortable, warmer homes, lower bills, cleaner air, quality jobs – and a livable future. This is just one way in which members of the EUSEW community are shaping Europe’s future.

The energy transition is not only a challenge, it is also a huge opportunity to improve sustainability, social inclusion and job opportunities across Europe.

The energy transition is not only a challenge, it is also a huge opportunity to improve sustainability, social inclusion and job opportunities across Europe. Over the past year, we have seen more and more of our citizens becoming increasingly concerned about the future, and actively voicing their concerns about climate change. Our children are marching every week in the streets of Brussels and in other cities, and this calls upon us to raise people’s awareness of what we are already doing, such as the new highly ambitious targets for 2030 that have been agreed at EU level for energy efficiency and renewables, and keep up the pressure on national and regional governments to meet these goals. And to make a deeper, stronger personal commitment on what we can all do in the future.

The future is in our hands. But we cannot wait until tomorrow. I call upon the EUSEW community of practitioners who have chosen to work for a better world, to take the future into your own hands, to continue to lead the energy transition, to work collaboratively and to share best practices, and to take advantage of cross-border cooperation and highlight how we are better if we work together at EU level. The energy transition is not only a challenge, it is also a huge opportunity to improve sustainability, social inclusion and job opportunities across Europe. Together we can show the world the power of change.

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