Connie Hedegaard, European climate action commissioner, said that solutions to the economic crisis and green growth have to go hand in hand. She spoke on Thursday at a Danish presidency dialogue on smart cities and green growth. The event aimed to discuss the potential of integrating private and public sectors, combining ICT, renewable energies and resources, while keeping in mind some of the barriers that prevent this from happening.
With holding this EU council presidency and Denmark already leading the way on renewable technologies, Europe gets a lot of opportunities to take big steps in changing the way energy is produced. Europe could reduce dependence on non-sustainable sources which could also mean reducing costs since Europe’s fuel import increases year-on-year.
Solutions for renewable energy should become part of the growth strategy of cities. We already have sustainable and renewable technologies but we need to use these better to meet the increasing demands for energy. Hedegaard thinks governments and political leaders need to be aware and appreciate that renewable energy can also lead to economic benefits since there is a growing demand for energy within cities. There is a potential to create jobs within ICT, health, green solutions and other industries.
Hedegaard also expressed that there is a need for European targets to guarantee that the EU and member states prove long term commitment to renewable energy. EU targets can properly focus attention on the energy problems.
Another statement came from Graham Watson, chair of Climate Parliament. He spoke of the many advantages of smart grids, which are self-monitoring digitalized electricity grids that can distribute electricity according to demand, cost, supply and many other conditions. These smart girds create a much more efficient system. He said that there is no excuse for cities not to become a smart city and he spoke of the importance of informing customers and citizens about the benefits of such systems.