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26 September 2011



 Making innovation happen for a sustainable world


 A: We have asked our speakers to help us identify the biggest issues that they are currently facing and how they feel they could make a difference. Here’s what they said…


Prof. Mario Paolone, Distributed Electrical Systems Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL):

1. Improvement of structure and operational practices of electrical distribution network to maximize the penetration of non-dispatchable power production systems essentially coming from renewables.

2. Low-cost and long-life storage systems (essentially distributed rather than centralized).

3. Maximizing the integration of electrical and transportation systems.


Professor Steven Griffiths, Executive Director, Office of Institute Initiatives, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology:

A major issue is the need to accelerate the pace at which clean technologies are deployed in advanced as well as developing economies. Without a sharp increase in the rate of deployment, the problems of climate change and energy poverty will become greatly exacerbated.

There is a broad awareness that the deployment of clean energy technologies is critical to addressing concerns about climate change mitigation and adaption, energy security, universal energy access and low-carbon social and economic development. However, market failures, such as inability of private firms to appropriate the returns from clean technology innovation and the lack of accounting for the full social and economic cost fossil fuel energy sources, have created substantial gaps in access to the financial resources for broad demonstration and deployment of clean technologies.

In order to overcome the stated issues, transparent, stable and predictable government policies must be implemented to provide both market pull and technology push (i.e. R&D) stimuli for clean technology research, development, demonstration and deployment.


Nick Beglinger, President, Swiss Cleantech:

Creating a regulatory framework to support decentralized production, intelligent networks, geothermal, local/short-term energy storage and seasonal energy storage.

Renat Heuberger, Chairman, Southpole Carbon Asset Management:

Ensuring economic development without piling up burdens for coming generations. A joint approach with respect to carbon emissions, biodiversity and prosperity for all mankind is the big challenge for all of us.


Peter Johnson, VP Smart Grid Business Development, Alcatel-Lucent:

The future of energy is a mix of alternative energy sources and changing demand so that it tracks supply.  Nothing innovative there.  But what has to be addressed and where innovation is needed are the three key enablers to make this happen. 

1. The first is regulation.  Today`s regulation is enabling investment in the periphery:  encouraging alternative production and demand management.  It also needs to focus on the bits in the middle: transmission and particularly distribution.  Only regulation can enable and encourage the necessary investment required to make these areas capable of intelligently handling the innovations in production and consumption. 

2. The second enabler is the distribution communication network.  It is often said that the distribution network was designed as a one way path for energy.  This is true and it is equally true that it will become a two way path.  With embedded generation, demand management and electric vehicles, system management is going to become increasingly distributed and automated.  Communications is already spreading to the periphery of the distribution network, but for these sorts of applications it will have to become not just universal but extremely robust.

3. Finally there needs to be focus on the consumer.  In the telco network it took some time for the "subscriber" to become a "customer".  This has to happen in the energy market and utilities will have to go through the same revolution in consumer handling as telcos did with subscribers.  Why is this a key enabler?  Because with an increasingly energy savvy customer base, with Electric Vehicles (EVs) liable to take off, driving the need to be able to manage the load created by these vehicles, the utility is going to have to take the consumer into their confidence and partner with them to manage their energy networks. That way the consumer will understand the options and will make commercial decisions about how they use energy that can benefit the utility. The alternative is a standoff, where the utility is liable to lose.


Giacomo Benvenuti, CTO, 3D-Oxides and Founder at ABCD Technologies:

Energy is a central point in our world. The reserves are decreasing, while the consumption is increasing. Provide enough energy is a real challenge to foster economical and industrial growth and conserve our comfortable leaving. At the moment there are no technologies, or group of technologies, able to provide a long term solution to the problem. 

Soon or later we will have to reduce our consumption unless new technologies will allow us to harvest new forms of energy and with enhanced efficiencies and reduced costs. There are mainly 3 challenges:

1) As efficiencies will be at best enhanced by a factor of 3 to 10 in all known fields investigated today, harvesting costs optimisation in renewable energies are in the end strongly related to the reduction of raw materials use. At this level the costs can still be improved by orders of magnitude as miniaturization in microelectronics has demonstrated in the past.

2) A second challenge is to integrate the energy harvesting infrastructures into our living. This has not to be to the detriment of our leaving space, food cultures, or other useful gound surface and at the same time it should be accessible to convey the energy where it will be used. Efficient energy transportation from "non-exploitable lands" to our cities will be the second big challenge.

3) The third challenge is related to the impact on our world to harvest such very large quantities of energy. Whatever the collecting or production modes it will definitively have an impact when carried out at large scale. Today it is called CO2 and nuclear wastes, but what will be tomorrow wastes? Even renewable energies like photovoltaics, that is regarded as "safe", may have drawbacks due to the chemical species involved in the production processes. How can be CdTe cells considered as a clean, green, and sustainable technology? 

Pollution may not be only related to chemical or radioactive species, but could also be related to thermal pollution (strong variations of local temperatures), macroscopic effects on air and water flows and circulation, drastic reduction of raw materials over exploited in such production processes. I believe that as many approaches as possible will have to co-exist to limit any kind side effects. This can only be achieved by diversifying the research approaches and avoid targeting only one efficiency optimized technology.


Juan Diego Diaz Vega, Marketing Director, Gamesa:

To find a cost efficient energy mix, reliable, predictable, environmentally friendly and without compromising the future.


How do you think we can make a difference?


Prof. Mario Paolone, Distributed Electrical Systems Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL):

1. Integrating multi-disciplinary knowledge within the fields of engineering, physics and applied maths.

2. Promote large initiatives (sponsored by EU, Nation Government and, above all, companies and investors) for the deployment of available technologies into the development and operation of electrical and transportation infrastructures.


Professor Steven Griffiths, Executive Director, Office of Institute Initiatives, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology:

We must continue to provide forums for exchange of knowledge and information that will facilitate the R&D and policy development activities required for clean technology deployment. Such dialogues are critical for coming up aligning key stakeholders with plans that are action-oriented and correctly targeted.


Nick Beglinger, President, Swiss Cleantech:

Political lobbying for sustainable policy and through a network of leading cleantech companies


Renat Heuberger, Chairman, Southpole Carbon Asset Management:

Everybody can think about small but effective steps in their personal lives – as an example, I just turned to efficient light bulbs in my apartment. But way more important is finding the most efficient ways to turn down carbon on a large scale for the emerging economies` path to prosperity. Responsible business leaders can give answers already today.

Peter Johnson, VP Smart Grid Business Development, Alcatel-Lucent:

There are three things that we can do. 

1. Engage in the future of energy now.  In Alcatel-Lucent we are doing just that where in Bell Lab`s Murray Hill, NJ, headquarters we have installed a 1.2MW solar panel array as part of our commitment to environmental sustainability. 

2. Engage in the network.  The energy network is going to get far more complicated.  It needs to be simple to manage.  Companies such as Alcatel-Lucent are dedicated to making sure, through our communications and data management solution that it becomes more simple to manage.

3. Engage with the consumer.  Get the consumer on our side and understanding the issues involved.  Allow the consumer to be in control, but make it simple for the customer to engage.  As simple as choosing between "economy" and "comfort": just those two parameters will make all the difference to realising energy efficiencies for the consumer.  Alcatel-Lucent and Bell Labs are engaged in just such projects with a number of our customers.  For example we are bringing communications technology to the smart grid allowing customers to make energy choices—in real time, online, from anywhere—empowering them to save energy and money every day. All while helping support their mission-critical operations with uncompromised reliability and security.  Alcatel-Lucent is running more than 80 mission critical networks and smart grid transformations worldwide.  And with our new Bell Labs innovation - advanced analytical techniques and tools, utilities can mine the wealth of information from smart meters, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and other data to provide the utility with the ability to measure, monitor and control their electricity distribution network in real time with unprecedented levels of detail. 


Giacomo Benvenuti, CTO, 3D-Oxides and Founder at ABCD Technologies:

I believe that a forum like EFEF can contribute to the exchange of ideas between the actors in the field: science, finance, and politics to discuss and progress hand in hand towards a solution as this must be clear that none of those parties can manage such a challenge alone.


Juan Diego Diaz Vega, Marketing Director, Gamesa:

Making every technology to show real performance in terms of cost efficiency, reliability, predictability and environmental friendliness and make decisions based on this energy technology score.




A: The European Future Energy Forum (EFEF) is the younger relative of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) - the energy `Davos` - that is held annually in Abu Dhabi. This year by moving to Switzerland and appointing the André Schneider as Conference Director (ex-MD of the World Economic Forum), we are expecting to build on previous events by creating an `idea storm` that is not to be missed.


Out with the old, in with the new

In 2011 the European Future Energy Forum will be focussing on technology, providing a valuable insight into the ideas and innovations that will evolve and disrupt the energy markets of the future. We’ll also debate the policy frameworks and infrastructure required to make a difference and how to assure return on investment whilst avoiding the pitfalls of the past.


A number of inspirational keynote sessions will also give a glimpse of the world through the eyes of visionary thinkers and hear their predictions for the future. At the same time the organisers are creating a much more interactive programme than in previous years with audience participation actively encouraged through panel debates and the opportunity to arrange 1-2-1 appointments with hundreds of international delegates.


Standing out from the crowd

The European Future Energy Forum attracts the highest level of decision makers, creating an environment where large international business relationships are developed and business deals are done. EFEF looks at the big international picture – looking at creating solutions through technology, policy, finance, infrastructure and getting the energy mix right through production and security.




A: In 2010, EFEF was held in London with the support of the UK government, who took the opportunity to showcase the new coalition government`s policies on renewable energy as well as London`s strategies for sustainability, through presentations by Prime Minister David Cameron, Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.


Highlights included the `Movers and Shakers` debate that kicked off the conference saw European ministers, industry leaders and NGOs debate the issues in terms of policy, financing and infrastructure following a disappointing round of negotiations in Copenhagen, with predictions made for Cancun. Whilst Portuguese Vice Minister for Energy and Innovation, Carlos Zorrinho showing faith that `Cancun can!`, the session concluded that it was essential for Europe to continue to lead by example in creating a global model for the rest of the world.


Chris Huhne, showed commitment to the cause by affirming that the relatively new UK coalition government would be sticking to its promise to be the greenest ever despite huge cuts in public spending. Whilst government departments were slashing their budgets by 25-40% in order to reduce the UK`s national deficit and amid concerns that renewable energy schemes would be affected, Huhne stated `we`re not going to be put off by the small matter of the public spending review`.

Siemens signed a multimillion-euro contract with Masdar - the largest cleantech research and development deal to date for Siemens who will be rolling out smart grid, advanced building technologies and carbon capture and storage (CCS) for the Masdar City Project. "As we build out Masdar City, we are constantly looking to keep pace with technology innovations," said Masdar chief executive Dr. Sultan Al Jaber. "We are pushing the frontiers of science, technology and engineering to not only redefine sustainable urban development, but also to create a thriving research and development centre that will help turn Abu Dhabi into a technology develop and exporter."


MIRA Ltd and GEVCO Ltd also signed an agreement to collaborate on the development of a technologically advanced ‘white label’ electric vehicle that will require ‘zero compromise’ from drivers and successfully compete with petrol and diesel-powered equivalents. GEVCO founder and CEO Steve Woolley commented: “This collaboration will lead to the creation of a vehicle that achieves a step-change in the way society views personal mobility. We aim to create a Global Electric Vehicle that is technologically advanced, can be personalised to reflect people’s lifestyles and social values but is also cool and fun to drive – a car for the iPod generation.”


It is important though to emphasise that EFEF is different from other events within this market place as we really focus on getting a wide range of the highest decision-makers together from all over the world in order to create not only a platform for debate, but also an environment where real networking can be done in order to create partnerships which will enable and create investment opportunities and business deals of the future. In 2011, we are introducing 1-2-1 networking sessions in association with Cleantech Switzerland and Cleantech Alps, whereby delegates can arrange private meetings with each other in addition to attending the various more social functions at EFEF.



Geneva is home to many NGO organisations such as the UN and a large number of corporate headquarters offices; as such it provides a multi-lingual international hub within easy reach for a global audience. Furthermore, the state of Geneva and the Swiss government are providing fantastic support for the European Future Energy Forum in 2011, as Cleantech becomes a fast growing industry across Switzerland.


How Geneva is positioning, itself for the growth of cleantech


“Environmental is the next challenge,” says Daniel Loeffler, Director of the Geneva Economic Development Office, “and we must develop an industry able to respond to this shift. That means new business opportunities in terms of environmentally friendly energy and waste treatment.”


The Lake Geneva Region is positioned to have a privileged corner on the development of cleantech. First, Geneva is a major economic hub of a nation that itself has an enviable position. Some 160,000 Swiss (4.5 percent of the country’s total employment) are already active in cleantech and Switzerland has a reputation for both performance and innovation, obvious prerequisites for excellence in this new field.


Second, any new industry needs money and cleantech needs more than most. Geneva is fortunate in that the Swiss have a track record in sustainable and cleantech investing. Geneva-based private bankers Lombard Odier Darier Henstch and Pictet et Cie were among the first banks to offer socially responsible investment funds, while one of the top venture capitalist firms, Index Ventures, is also based in Geneva.


Third, the Lake Geneva Region has top research universities and labs and innovative companies that can bring their findings to market. “Geneva has the concentration of knowledge to develop a cluster with key players like Dupont and ABB Secheron, innovative new companies like Dalkia, an excellent R&D base and the stimulus of public and private projects,” says Daniel Loeffler.


Fourth, Geneva is a hub of research, lobbying and planning concerning the environment and sustainability-related issues. Such international organisations, NGOs and innovation/trade actors as the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the International Emissions Trading Association (working to develop an active, global greenhouse gas market), the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, and the WWF all have headquarters or major offices there.


“Convinced that it is both possible and necessary to reconcile environment and economic value creation, the Swiss authorities, both on national and federal levels, have undertaken concrete steps to promote the development of the clean technologies. In this context, hosting an event of such statue as the European Future Energy Forum is appropriate to embody our commitment towards those aims" says Pierre-Francois Unger, Minister of Regional Affairs, Economy and Health, Republic and State of Geneva




A: The different discussions around climate change have shown the importance of the introduction of new energy sources and the development and management of existing ones. The challenge of the coming years will be to identify innovations that will make a difference, how to implement them and, even more so, to understand what will be the disruptive developments in this field. The European Future Energy Forum will allow you to explore potentials and discuss the crucial ingredients to make change happen, through a wide range interactive sessions to encourage debate and networking.


The conference programme will be spread over 3 days (Monday 10 – Wednesday 12 October) and will include presentations from visionaries who are looking to make a difference such as Bertrand Piccard, President of Solar Impulse, technology inventors with very new ideas that could create interesting opportunities and industry leaders who explain business projects that work, ideas that didn`t and predictions for the future.


Running alongside the conference is an international cleantech exhibition where attendees can view demonstrations, speak to suppliers and innovators, find new business opportunities, source solutions and network on an international level. Features include the Green Mobility Pavilion showcasing and demonstrating the latest designs and ideas in low carbon transport, the Swiss Pavilion showcasing the companies making a difference in Switzerland and a fringe programme of free workshops.


For more information please see www.EuropeanFutureEnergyForum.com


-       ENDS-

 Please note more images available on request.

Please contact:

Maude Hug, Senior Consultant, Dynamics Group [email protected] +41 22 308 62 23 or

Jo Tyler, Event Director [email protected] +44 1444 240254

Apply for press passes free of charge now online at www.EuropeanFutureEnergyForum.com/Media 


Notes –

The European Future Energy Forum (EFEF) is an initiative developed with Masdar - Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted, multi-billion dollar investment in the development and commercialisation of innovative technologies in renewable, alternative and sustainable energies. EFEF was launched in 2009 following the success of the World Future Energy Summit held annually in Abu Dhabi. Now established as an annual event in its own right this will be the 3rd European Future Energy Forum following high-quality forums in Bilbao and London.


The move to Geneva in 2011 will create a central hub for international business and government leaders to once again meet and find solutions to the Future Energy issues that we continue to face. The theme for the Forum this year will be ‘Making Innovation Happen for a Sustainable World’ with a conference programme that aims to generate inspiration and knowledge transfer across energy sectors and geographic regions, whilst bridging the gap to actually finding solutions to turn the big ideas into feasible results.


This event brings together businesses and organisations that have solutions and opportunities for the global renewable energy and environmental technology market with large international investors and government decision makers.  For further information see www.EuropeanFutureEnergyForum.com 



Established in 2006, Masdar is a commercially driven enterprise that operates to reach the broad boundaries of the renewable energy and sustainable technologies industry – there by giving it the necessary scope to meet these challenges.


Masdar operates through five integrated units, including an independent, research-driven graduate university, and seeks to become a leader in making renewable energy a real, viable business and Abu Dhabi a global centre of excellence in the renewable energy and clean technology category. The result is an organisation greater than the sum of its parts and one where the synergies of shared knowledge and technological advancement provide this commercial and results-driven company with a competitive advantage that includes an ability to move with agility and intelligence within an industry that is evolving at great speed.

This holistic approach keeps Masdar at the forefront of this important global industry, while ensuring it remains grounded in the pursuit of pioneering technologies and systems that also are feasible. As a result, it delivers innovation to the market while deriving profits for its shareholders.

Masdar is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Government-owned Mubadala Development Company, a catalyst for the economic diversification of the Emirate


For more information about Masdar please visit www.masdar.ae 



The European Future Energy Forum is a joint venture between Turret Middle East and Bilbao Exhibition Centre. Turret Middle East a leading organiser of events and foundation partner of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, launched the World Future Energy Summit and series of events with Masdar in 2007, before selling a share of the portfolio to Reed Exhibitions. For more information see www.turretme.com


Bilbao Exhibition Centre was host to the first European Future Energy Forum and continues to be a major stakeholder in the organisation of the event. As well as being one of the most modern trade fair and congress venues in Europe, they also organise a number of leading events of international profile in various sectors. For more information see www.bec.eu



Future energy is a central issue and concerns us all. This debate therefore requires a central location with easy access. Geneva is an ideal spot at the crossroads of southern and northern Europe, and the Palexpo Fair and Conference Centre is readily accessible by air, rail and motorway.


While the aim of EFEF is to enhance the discussion and the exchange of ideas between researchers, politicians and business representatives, Palexpo has pledged since its beginnings to develop an environment fostering dialogue and trust between the different players. It wants to be the ideal venue for positive discovery, exchange and interaction.


Palexpo organises the annual Geneva International Motor Show, which is not only one of the most important and attractive events in the automobile world, but also one of the most “leading-edge” with a dedicated pavilion and conference to green mobility.


Furthermore the state of Geneva and the Swiss government are providing strong support for the European Future Energy Forum, as Cleantech becomes a fast growing industry across Switzerland.