Optimising Energy and Empowering Nature

7th December 2021 • 10:00 - 14:45

Watch the webstream
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About

In the wake of COP26 in Glasgow, we are hearing many urgent calls to scale up and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and electricity grid infrastructure.

This will be a vital step forward on our pathway towards decarbonisation. At the same time, infrastructure development must be complemented with actions to protect and enhance nature and ecosystems, if we are to achieve our shared global goals for sustainable development.

To address this important issue, the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are hosting the hybrid conference ‘Optimising Energy and Empowering Nature’ on Tuesday, 7 December 2021 from 10 am to 2:45 pm. The event is being co-organised by ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators, and will be live-streamed from a studio at their Brussels premises.

We will bring together on stage representatives from the spheres of nature conservation and energy infrastructure to put forward solutions and best practices that contribute to thriving ecosystems while also significantly advancing the energy transition. Opportunities for improvement in the policy framework will be addressed.

The different conference sessions will revolve around the following topics:

  • Pathways to the future: Planning energy in harmony with biodiversity standards
  • Optimising planning to achieve net zero and net biodiversity gain
  • Optimising space: Needed actions, roles and responsibilities

Furthermore, the event will host RGI’s award ceremony for the Good Practice of the Year award 2021, where the winners of the three categories – Environmental Protection, Communication & Engagement and Technological Innovation & System Integration – will be announced.

Agenda

10:00

Welcome by RGI, IUCN and ENTSO-E

Antonella Battaglini | CEO, Renewables Grid Initiative
Stewart Maginnis | Deputy Director General, IUCN
Sonya Twohig | Secretary-General, ENTSO-E


10:10

Keynotes: The importance of optimising energy while empowering nature for a fast and successful energy transition

Bruno Oberle | Director General, IUCN
Hervé Laffaye | ENTSO-E President


10:45

‘Good Practice of the Year’ award ceremony

Award keynote given by:
Virginijus Sinkevičius | Commissioner for Environment, EC

Moderator:
Antonella Battaglini | CEO, RGI

Jury members to present the award winners:
Jean-Michel Glachant | Director, Florence School of Regulation / Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies / European University Institute
Rachel Asante-Owusu | Programme Manager, IUCN
Susana Batel | Integrated Researcher, Centre for Social Research & Intervention (Cis) / University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE)


11:15

Pathways to the future: Planning energy in harmony with biodiversity standards

  • The need to address the double crisis of climate change and biodiversity and understand how to optimise energy infrastructure via innovative technologies and approaches and solid planning
  • Reasons for protecting nature while deploying energy infrastructure
  • How do we ensure that we can develop a culture of planning across energy and nature and implement the needed approaches?
  • Which policy gaps do we still need to close for successful and timely implementation?

Moderator:
Antonella Battaglini | CEO, Renewables Grid Initiative

Panelists:
Gerhard Salge | CTO, Hitachi Energy
Dolf Gielen | Director, IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre
Humberto Delgado Rosa | Director Natural Capital, DG Environment


12:00

Lunch break incl. best practice fair


13:00

Optimising planning to achieve net zero and net biodiversity gain

  • How to scale new approaches, test and mainstream those that work? What type of resources and regulatory settings are required?
  • What are the best technologies and opportunities for nature?
  • What can be done on policy level to roll the best practices out across Europe?

Moderator:
Rachel Asante-Owusu | Programme Manager, IUCN

Panelists:
Ilse Tant | Chief Community Relations Officer, Elia
Eva Philipp | Director Environment & Sustainability Unit BA Wind, Vattenfall
Leon Bennun | Chief Scientist, The Biodiversity Consultancy
Martin Harper | Regional Director, Europe & Central Asia, BirdLife


13:45

Optimising space: Needed actions, roles and responsibilities Short pitch presentations on existing best practices

  • How to develop a European approach for site allocations for economic activities to achieve climate neutrality and for nature protection?
  • How can we ensure that the plans for our future energy system are optimised with regard to the space we have available?
  • How can we achieve a truly European approach for site allocation and transfer of best practice within Europe? Which actors need to be involved?
  • How can policies better support integrated spatial and system planning and its implementation?

Moderator:
Gerald Kaendler | Chairman, ENTSO-E System Development Committee

Panelists:
Audrey Zibelman | Vice President, X’s Electric Grid Moonshot
Nathan Cummins | Great Plains Renewable Energy Strategy Director, The Nature Conservancy
Heleen Vollers | Senior Project Lead Nature-Friendly Energy, North Sea Foundation
Christoph Bals | Policy Director, Germanwatch


14:30

Joint call to action: committing to principles in biodiversity protection & benefit creation / asking policy makers and practitioners to raise the bar

Antonella Battaglini, Stewart Maginnis, Sonya Twohig


14:45

End of conference


Speakers

Antonella Battaglini

CEO, RGI

Audrey Zibelman

Vice President, X’s Electric Grid Moonshot

Bruno Oberle

Director General, IUCN

Christoph Bals

Policy Director, Germanwatch

Dolf Gielen

Director, IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre

Eva Philipp

Director Environment & Sustainability Unit BA Wind, Vattenfall

Gerald Kaendler

Chairman, ENTSO-E System Development Committee

Gerhard Salge

CTO, Hitachi Energy

Heleen Vollers

Senior Project Lead Nature-Friendly Energy, North Sea Foundation

Hervé Laffaye

President, ENTSO-E

Humberto Delgado Rosa

Director Natural Capital, DG Environment, EC

Ilse Tant

Chief Community Relations Officer, Elia

Jean-Michel Glachant

Director, Florence School of Regulation / Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies / European University Institute

Leon Bennun

Chief Scientist, The Biodiversity Consultancy

Martin Harper

Regional Director Europe and Central Asia, BirdLife

Nathan Cummins

Great Plains Renewable Energy Strategy Director, The Nature Conservancy

Rachel Asante-Owusu

Programme Manager, IUCN

Sonya Twohig

Secretary-General, ENTSO-E

Stewart Maginnis

Deputy Director General, IUCN

Susana Batel

Integrated Researcher, Centre for Social Research & Intervention (Cis) / University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE)

Virginijus Sinkevičius

Commissioner for Environment, EC

Registration