COP 23: Bellona gathers industry and policy makers to discuss plug in solutions on land and sea

Bellona's Pauline Kajl moderates panel discussions, 16 November 2017, Bonn, Germany
Bellona's Pauline Kajl moderates panel discussions, 16 November 2017, Bonn, Germany

Publish date: November 21, 2017

Infrastructure needs, synergies between land and sea transport infrastructure, as well as the need for policy coherence were at the core of the discussions during Bellona’s side event on 16 November,  at this year’s UN Climate Summit, COP23, in Bonn. Co-organised with the Nordic Council of Ministers, this event took a closer look at current legislative and technological developments for land and sea transport electrification, and took stock of what is needed from decision makers to enable the electro-mobility market to take off. The event concluded with interventions by policy makers from Norway, Germany and the EU on the latest developments as well as shortcomings in their respective regions.

Solutions for small island developing states most affected by climate change

The event kicked off with a topic of particular interest to this year’s climate summit themed around small island developing states affected by climate change. CEO of Plan B Energy Storage (PBES), Brent Perry held a presentation on the construction of a zero emissions power plant in hurricane ravaged Caribbean island Barbuda.

Brent Perry, PBES PBES CEO Brent Perry, 16 November 2017, Bonn, Germany Credit: Teodora Serafimova

PBES provides energy solutions to optimise power systems on marine, grid and heavy industrial applications. “With climate change manifesting itself, a solution needs to meet the reality of today and tomorrow” said Brent Perry. “In the current hurricane season, many small Caribbean islands have seen total destruction of their capacity to produce energy, a setback that may take months to repair”.

The new power plant storing renewable energy in batteries, will not only reduce emissions by 75-80%, but will also reduce the cost of electricity by half.

Policy coherence for land transport in the EU

Bellona Europa’s Electro-Mobility Policy Manager Teodora Serafimova focused on what is needed in terms of infrastructure roll-out at EU scale and what is currently being done. “In Europe transport is the only sector that hasn’t observed a significant drop in CO2 emissions over the past decades. At the same time, the global car fleet is predicted to double from 800 million to 1.6 billion vehicles by 2030” said Serafimova.

The deployment of an interoperable electric infrastructure remains a key pre-condition to accelerating the transition towards electro-mobility in the EU. “But investment in public charge points will need to be accompanied by stable supply of EVs to reduce investor uncertainty and help make the business case for charge point operators” she commented.

Teodora Serafimova Bellona Europa's Policy Manager Electro-Mobility, Teodora Serafimova, 16 November 2017, Bonn, Germany Credit: Pauline Kajl

“Public charging infrastructure is key to addressing consumer anxieties, but will be only part of the picture” said Serafimova, noting that the majority of EV charging takes place in buildings, thus underlining the crucial importance of getting buildings adequately  pre-equipped in line the electro-mobile future.

Bente Hagem, Director of Statnett Norwegian system operator gave an uplifting speech where she emphasised the power sector’s readiness for the transition towards electro mobility. A complete electrification of transport increases the need for grid capacity in Norway and will necessitate increased investment especially on the distribution grid level. “The future is electric and we are prepared”, concluded Hagem.

Maritime sector doing its share

Norway is recognised for its leading role in transport electrification and has over the last years also earned the title of a global leader on electrification of the shipping sector. As highlighted at  an earlier Bellona side event during the COP 23 summit, Norway has the political will and financial support needed to accelerate this development.

Egil Hystad general manager at Wärtsilä presented the latest charging technologies for an integrated land and sea transport charging system. He shared the newest developments within inductive charging for marine vessels and shore charging arrangement. “Reliable, safe and automated fast charging systems will be key and there is already a market developing”, concluded Hystad.

Vice Director of Color Line Helge Otto Mathisen Vice Director of Color Line Helge Otto Mathisen, 16 November 2017, Bonn, Germany Credit: Pauline Kajl

Many harbour cities are heavily affected by local air pollution from large ships coming into the ports. Vice Director of Color Line Helge Otto Mathisen talked about the building of the world’s largest hybrid ferry, with capacity for 2 000 passengers and 500 cars, to be operational from 2019, between Norway and Sweden. “Color Line shall be at the forefront of the green transition of the maritime industry. As large as the oceans might be, they are also fragile and essential to our future. So, we must act carefully with respect and concern to preserve the delicate balance in nature” said Mathisen.

The event was concluded by the interventions of Norwegian and German members of Parliament Ole Elvestuen and Klaus Mindrup, and Member of European Parliament and former chair of the Parliament’s Dieselgate Committee Kathleen Van Brempt on the latest policy developments in their respective countries or regions.

“We need a firm regulatory framework which includes mandates on car makers to produce zero emission vehicles” commented Van Brempt in reaction to the European Commission’s recent Transport Package. “We want our electric vehicles to be produced at home, in Europe, not in China” concluded Van Brempt.

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