The fifth and last meeting of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS) was held in Thessaloniki on 19-21 September 2017.
The conference was opened by His Excellency Panos Kammenos (Hellenic Minister of National Defence), Mr Jorge Domecq (Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, EDA), Mr Tudor Constantinescu (Principal Adviser to the Director-General Energy of the European Commission) and Professor Athansios Konstandopoulos, the Chairman of Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH). Mr Dominique Ristori, the Director-General of the Directorate-General Energy of the European Commission, greeted the participants by video message. It was closed by Mr Denis Roger, the European Synergies and Innovation Director at the EDA.
Opening the conference, EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq thanked the participants for the active involvement in the Forum over the last two years. He also used the opportunity to give direction for the future: “As we move to the next phase of the Consultation Forum, we need to focus on defence energy projects and their funding. We need to focus on results.”
As possible project areas, Mr Domecq highlighted infrastructure improvements leading for example to the refurbishment of buildings to Nearly Zero Energy Building standards. Projects relating to the assessment of renewable energy technologies could be analysed for where investments could be made to make commercial renewable energy technologies suitable for military use. Finally, there could also be scope to develop policy tools and training on raising energy awareness as well as the development of tools for optimum technology selection.
European Commission Director-General Dominique Ristori said the energy transition was a “top priority of the European Union”. “It is not only about energy and climate alone. It is about accelerating the fundamental modernisation of Europe's entire economy, making it low-carbon, energy and resource efficient, in a socially fair manner. And making it less dependent on imports. It requires the transformation of the whole energy system. All sectors need to contribute and to reap the benefits. I am therefore very pleased that we will continue with the second phase of the Consultation Forum as of October. This would allow, inter alia, a deeper analysis of the issues at stake and the identification of bottlenecks that need to be resolved to allow the defence sector to benefit fully from sustainable energy and to use the energy transition as a major economic opportunity”, he stated.
The aim of this week’s last meeting of the Consultation Forum was to reach agreement on the content of final report with recommendations for a more implementation focused second phase. The conference was attended by around 100 experts from government administrations, as well as industry, academia, NATO representatives and the European Commission. In total, there have been five conferences of this first phase of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector.
In closing the conference, Director European Synergies and Innovation Denis Roger highlighted, that “we have built a defence energy community which did not exist before”.
The second phase of the Consultation Forum will have an implementation focus to take the knowledge developed in the first phase and turn this into results. The focus will remain on energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, and the protection of critical energy infrastructure in relation to the implications of relevant EU legislation when applied to the defence sector’s infrastructure. This means that results will have direct benefits for the delivery of defence infrastructure capability, while contributing to the broader objectives of the Energy Union.
The Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector is a European Commission initiative managed by the European Defence Agency. It brings together experts from the defence and energy sectors to share information and best practice on improving energy management, energy efficiency, and the use of renewable energy. The Consultation Forum has taken place in a series of five plenary meetings over 24 months, and its first phase will be concluded in October 2017.
The work is carried out in three parallel working groups each with a particular focus: (1) Energy Management, (2) Energy Efficiency & 3) Renewable Energy. There was also a Protection of Critical Energy Infrastructure PCEI) Experts Group which developed a conceptual paper on PCEI.