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Energy crisis shows need to build resilient energy systems now

Energy crisis shows need to build resilient energy systems now

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Building resilient energy systems to address the ongoing global energy crisis will be top of the agenda of the upcoming Sustainable Energy Week (19-23 September). Representatives from UNECE's 56 member States will discuss how to ensure energy for optimal social, economic, and environmental development. Initiatives to improve environmental sustainability, energy security, and affordability will be presented.  

“Energy resilience is critical when people across the UNECE region are counting the cost of rising energy bills. Our region faces a number of crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the consequences of climate change and ongoing geopolitical crises, all of which pose a significant challenge to the current energy system, exposing its vulnerabilities and fragility. We need to collectively focus efforts, resources and expertise on addressing the range of crises in an integrated way. The Committee on Sustainable Energy offers a unique platform to do that” observed Charlotte Griffiths, Acting Director of the Sustainable Energy Division. 

The opening two days of the Week are dedicated to the 18th Session of the Group of Experts on Cleaner Electricity Systems, during which the results of UNECE’s “Carbon Neutrality” project will be presented. The project is helping countries to develop, implement, and track national sustainable energy policies to mitigate climate change and contribute to sustainable development. Deep electrification of the energy system in the UNECE region and the emerging trends in the transport and buildings sectors will be discussed in depth. Together with a range of international financial institutions, the financing of cleaner energy technologies in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development will be explored. The outcomes of this discussion will feed into the UNECE Regional Forum on Climate Initiatives to Finance Climate Action and the SDGs that will be held on 17 October. There will also be a focus on the opportunities and challenges of digitalizing electricity systems, including the benefits of effective policymaking to increase energy system efficiency, to make the electricity systems cleaner and increase resiliency.  

The 31st session of the Committee on Sustainable Energy taking place from 21-23 September will cover a range of sustainable energy themes: 

Achieving high performance buildings will offer multiple benefits related to energy and climate, resilience, health, water, resource conservation, mobility and technology access, and UNECE’s High Performance Building Initiative is well positioned to help member States reap these benefits. 

Modernizing resource management will be discussed, in response to increasing calls to implement the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC), an international scheme for the classification, management and reporting of energy, mineral, and raw material resources. 

Addressing methane management has become a top priority for many member States, as evidenced by the Global Methane Pledge – announced at COP26 in 2021 – which more than 30 UNECE member States have already joined.  Available UNECE guidance can help countries achieve reductions in the fossil sector, which is a priority area for the 40-45% reductions needed by 2030 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5° C.    

Hydrogen is already strongly present in the mainstream media, often coded by colour – such as green, blue, yellow, or grey – to refer to different production methods. This segment will explore how to develop a comprehensive classification for hydrogen, as part of a resilient energy system, that goes beyond colours. For this, Specifications for the application of UNFC to hydrogen projects could be developed.  

Understanding subsidies and carbon pricing – the Committee will continue to study how best to address efficient use of energy resources and the impact of energy subsidies, taxes, duties and carbon pricing, including those that support end-use consumers, fossil fuels and renewables. 

The 31st session of UNECE’s Committee on Sustainable Energy and the 18th session of the Group of Experts on Cleaner Electricity Systems will take place in Geneva and online. Registration is mandatory.