Initiative for smart power launched by European Climate Foundation and Stiftung Mercator
Smart Energy for Europe Platform (SEFEP) will promote practical solutions for the decarbonisation of Europe’s energy system
The European Climate Foundation (ECF) and Stiftung Mercator have joined forces to create the Smart Energy for Europe Platform, or SEFEP. Based in Berlin, SEFEP will become a major resource supporting the formulation and advocacy of policy that can drive low-carbon prosperity and energy security for Europe. Together, Stiftung Mercator and ECF will invest about 5 million Euros in the creation of SEFEP.
“SEFEP will work as a “broker“ and bridge-builder, advocacy platform and grant maker to support and stimulate structural changes in the power sector in Europe” said Kristina Steenbock, Executive Director of SEFEP. “We will help to create the enabling environment to identify challenges, stimulate solutions, concepts and agreements for political decision makers, industry and civil society in Europe. We offer a platform for the development of next-step proposals and the exchange of expertise/experience in order to accelerate the path to a fully decarbonised, largely renewable power system in Europe."
As a joint initiative of the European Climate Foundation and Stiftung Mercator, SEFEP is an organisation that will take a truly European approach to the energy revolution. “In the decades to come, we anticipate a transformation in energy as profound as the shift from horses to cars, steamships to aeroplanes, or typewriters to computers,” said Dr. Bernhard Lorentz, President of Stiftung Mercator. “This transformation will be marked by a switch of the electricity system from one relying on fossil fuels to one relying on renewable energy sources. Together with the European Climate Foundation we have established SEFEP to support and accelerate this change.”
One of the main drivers for the energy transformation is the need for industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 in comparison to 1990 levels in order to avoid dangerous climate change. The power sector is critical to the decarbonisation of the EU economy and a prerequisite for decarbonising transportation, buildings and industry. In Europe renewable resources are abundant and sufficient to satisfy very high percentages of total electricity demand in 2050. Recent studies from the European Climate Foundation and leading consultancy firms, KEMA, McKinsey and also from PricewaterhouseCoopers, have demonstrated that, in Europe, it is technically feasible and economically possible, to build a power system that is largely based on renewable energy sources.
“Our work on Roadmap 2050, showed us a clear vision of how the power sector can transition to a zero-carbon system. Furthermore, it showed that this transition is vital to the future success of Europe’s economy,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the European Climate Foundation. “There is a vital role for a vibrant multi-stakeholder dialogue to enable real transformation in Europe’s power systems – I am delighted that in creating SEFEP we can move forward this critical debate and drive the decarbonisation process.” Pieter van Geel, Chair of the advisory board of SEFEP said: “SEFEP’s driving principle is that pragmatic solutions and new alliances are needed across business sectors and society to achieve decarbonisation of the power sector. It is those solutions focussed alliances that SEFEP will build.” Three steps are key to this transformation: channelling investment in renewable generation and electricity transmission, build up of suitable grid infrastructure, and developing the necessary policy frameworks.
1) Investments decision today will define the future. The age profile of current European power infrastructure offers an opportunity to transit to fully decarbonised power generation by 2050. Investment choices in line with long term targets will not only ensure an adequate response to the challenges posed by climate change, but also will contribute to maintaining competitiveness on global markets, guaranteeing a sustainable level of employment and stable and predictable energy prices.
2) The grid is an essential component to access renewable resources where they are abundant and to transport electricity over long distances from stranded generation sites to load and storage centres. What is needed is a large intelligent grid: a pan-European Super and Smart grid capable of integrating both utility scale and distributed generation and capable of high degree of load management.
3) Political leadership is required at Member State level to drive this transformation, but this must be matched by a strong integrated European strategy. Europe has a leading role in developing harmonised support mechanisms for generation and political frameworks to address the challenges of planning, building, financing and managing a cross border grid. SEFEP is a European organisation based in Berlin (Mohrenstr. 59, 10117 Berlin). The newly founded organisation is led by Kristina Steenbock, Executive Director. Prior to her position at SEFEP Kristina worked as a consultant, was co-Executive Director of the German Energy Agency, head of division in the German ministry for economics, political director of Greenpeace Germany and representative of Greenpeace International to the UN.
SEFEP's advisory board is chaired by Pieter van Geel. He chaired the Dutch Parliamentary Party CDA in the House of Representatives, and served as State Secretary of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment. During the presidency of the Netherlands of the EU (2004), he was president of the European Council of environment ministers.
Thematic Cluster Climate Change
Kristina Steenbock, Geschäftsführerin SEFEP. Tel.: +49 (0)173 6140 947 oder +49 (0)30-767 719 452. Mail: kristina.steenbock (at) sefep.eu
Rebecca Collyer, European Climate Foundation, Tel.: +31 70 711 9616, rebecca.collyer (at) europeanclimate.org