Ashden Conference: are we on the brink of a sustainable energy revolution? 19 June.
Morning chair: Jonathon Porritt - Forum for the Future.
Afternoon chair: Michael Keating, Senior Consulting Fellow, Chatham House
Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1.
There is growing momentum for change happening in sustainable energy, both in the UK and around the world. People are waking up to its myriad benefits. As well as cutting carbon, equally important is how it helps lift people out of poverty, brings communities together, creates jobs, saves money and will help secure a more sustainable future for all.
Through a mixture of films, presentations and discussion, this year’s Ashden Award finalists shared their experiences and the lessons they have learned, and told us what they think needs to happen next to take sustainable energy into the mainstream.
Jonathon Porritt, who chaired the morning session focusing on UK and travel finalists, is convinced we are on the brink of a sustainable energy revolution. One of the reasons for this, he said, is the “extraordinary” innovation pipeline that exists. “That pipeline is what gives people confidence that if we continue to innovate there’s a huge amount we can still achieve.”
Another reason lies in the additionalities created by sustainable energy. Porritt said: “It’s about all the added societal, personal and economic benefits that flow from it sustainable energy, which our six finalists have given us wonderful insight into.”
Michael Keating, Senior Consulting Fellow at Chatham House, chaired the afternoon session, which focused on hearing from finalists for our international and small island developing states awards. He was also convinced of the multiple benefits of sustainable energy, including: “saving money, cleanliness, hygiene, gender equality, creating livelihoods, bringing communities together – creating opportunities for people as well as environmental and climate change benefits – truly extraordinary.”
Key to success, said Keating, include the use of business-based approaches, good marketing skills, distribution networks, focusing on product quality and getting the finance right, all of which our international finalists demonstrate. But crucial also to achieving scale is having a supportive legislative environment in the countries themselves, as well as at the global level.
This year we were very grateful for the support of a number of organisations who share our commitment to raising awareness of the potential for clean energy to improve lives and tackle climate change.