The bi-annual eceee Summer Study is now over. Participants have gone home or have taken an extended holiday in the south of France. Most are quite tired from the myriad of panel session presentations, informal sessions, solutions workshops, plenary sessions and chats during the coffee breaks. But it is a good tiredness. The organisation and venue were excellent. There was record attendance with more than 450 from Europe and abroad. The weather co-operated to the delight of those who wanted to shake off the scars of a tough European winter and spring.
It is remarkable to think that eceee has been organising these for 20 years. The summer study has grown from strength to strength.
So, where are we?
Well, there is definitely a thriving and growing energy efficiency community and it is sorely needed. It has to be more motivated after this week, confident that there is a growing body of intellectual support for their efforts back home.
The peer-reviewed papers delivered covered all end-use sectors except for industry that now has its own summer study on alternate years. And the policies, programmes and analysis were examined in many ways including through the lens of monitoring and evaluation, long-term and short-term approaches, behaviour analysis, modelling and much more.
There was some concern raised that much of the analysis presented needed to go through another filter to help policymakers. Yes, some of the papers were very academic and necessarily so, but not all were. Yet, they all had an intellectual rigour regardless who they were pitched to. But, some of that concern can be addressed through communicating some of the major themes – and stories – to different audiences to get the messages better understood and accepted.
Yet, many of the informal sessions brought that link to policy development. I was particularly interested in how the Pas de Calais region is working on Jeremy Rifkin’s concept of a third industrial revolution. I was also pleased at the session on whether there should be binding targets for energy efficiency in Europe for 2030. And if so, what should they be based on: energy consumption? Energy savings? Energy efficiency? That same session also reflected on the European Commission’s President, Mr. Barroso’s statement to the European Parliament last week when he said that the US has its shale gas revolution but Europe has its energy efficiency revolution. Has the revolution now started at the summer study? Hmmmm.
There were some worrying trends when we see the latest figures and impact assessment in the UK showing quite disappoint results. One hopes this is isolated but member states are pre-occupied with the current financial crisis. There were many discussions, however, on the role more ambitious activity in energy efficiency can actually be part of the solution. Politicians have been reluctant to understand that.
One expression especially interested me: ad hocery and political amnesia. This came from Jan Rosenow, in describing the lack of learning from past experience as the UK developed its current package of measures to improve the energy performance of buildings.
There were many good expressions and catch phrases this week and we need more as we grapple with turning the messages into forms that can be understood and embraced by policymakers.
No doubt you will hear more stories from colleagues who attended. They all have much to tell. And we have to thank all at eceee for the effort that was made to make this so successful. We cannot let the afterglow from this summer study lose its shine.
Over upcoming weeks, EiD will do its best to present some of the golden nuggets from the Summer Study. You can certainly send in yours.