Industries of the Future - Symposium
A symposium on "Industries of the Future: Economic Growth through Clean Energy and Clean Jobs" took place at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia on 9 May 2011 as a part of Georgia Tech's Europe Day Celebrations. The event was hosted by Ecologic Institute, the German Embassy, the German Consulate General Atlanta, Georgia Tech's European Union Center of Excellence, and the German American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta. It brought together business leaders and policymakers from Georgia and Germany, who examined the current situation and potential opportunities for clean energy development in both countries.
In his keynote speech, Christian Egenhofer, Senior Fellow and Head of the Energy and Climate Program at the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, set the scene on the prospects and challenges of the green growth agenda in Europe. He maintained that while green growth is already a reality, its implementation is far more complex than is often presented.
During the first panel discussion on "Successful Policy Frameworks for Clean Energy in the US and Europe", Georgia State Senator Doug Stoner spoke about the regional and state differences in energy production regulation in the US, explaining that Georgia’s current energy mix is dominated by coal and nuclear power sources. Jill Stuckey of the Center of Innovation for Energy at Georgia Environmental Finance Authority outlined the enormous potential that Georgia offers, particularly with respect to biomass from forestry.
Friedo Sielemann from the German Embassy in Washington DC, and Thierry Buttin from the French Embassy in Washington DC provided the European perspective. Both Germany and France are focusing on the development of their renewable energy sectors, in improving the energy efficiency of new buildings and are transformimg their transport sectors.
France is extending its high-speed rail and has introduced incentives for buying cleaner cars. Germany has consistently reduced its greenhouse gas emissions in recent years whilst enjoying record economic growth. Friedo Sielemann said the German Renewable Energy Act, which gives price certainty to producers of renewable energy, is one of the main drivers in Germany’s emissions reductions success. Both Buttin and Sielemann emphasized that these efforts are currently leading to the creation of thousands of new jobs.
The second panel discussion focused on the private sector and on 'Business Opportunities and Job Creation through Clean Energy Development in the US and Europe'. Peter Evans, Director of Global Strategy and Planning at GE Energy described the large potential for global renewable energy development and the ways of accelerating its deployment. Thomas Orberger, Business Manager for Hybrid Drives with Siemens Industry, provided a number of real life examples of Siemens' environmental portfolio worldwide such as sustainable power train solutions and green buses without emissions or noise. And Costas Simoglou, Director of the Center of Innovation for Energy, shared a vision for Georgia and the surrounding states to become the future Greentech corridor of the United States.
The audience engaged in a lively question and answer session with the panelists following each panel discussion, touching upon issues such as nuclear power in the US and Europe, feed-in tariffs and the decentralization of the power grid. It was concluded that the renewable energy sector holds tremendous potential for business opportunities and for the creation of jobs in both the US and Europe, and that learning from each other and working together will be key in making this potential a reality. The symposium was followed by a reception.
- The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)
- The Transatlantic Climate Bridge
- The German Embassy in Washington, DC
- George State Senator Doug Stoner
- Embassy of France in Washington, DC
- Georgia Tech’s European Union Center of Excellence
- The German Consulate General
- German American Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta
- GE Energy
- MAGE Solar US
- Center of Innovation for Energy
- Siemens Industry