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Global Sustainable Cities Network Releases Country Snapshots for Waste-To-Energy and Demand-Side Management Efforts

Report presents successes, challenges experienced in the United Arab Emirates, China, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Global Sustainable Cities Network Releases Country Snapshots for Waste-To-Energy and Demand-Side Management Efforts

A new report prepared by the Global Sustainable Cities Network (GSCN) highlights waste-to-energy and demand-side management efforts in five GSCN participating countries.

Successes and challenges for advancing the sustainability of cities in two key focus areas are highlighted in the Country-Level Snapshots report compiled and recently released by the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Global Sustainable Cities Network (GSCN). Showcasing waste-to-energy and demand-side management efforts in cities, the snapshots featured in the report were also presented during the first meeting of the GSCN, which took place 4–5 June in Stockholm, Sweden.

The snapshots reveal a variety of successes. For example, in the Finnish region of Lahti, 90% of waste produced is recycled or used in energy production. In Denmark’s city of Sonderborg, ProjectZero has already resulted in a 16% reduction in carbon emissions, helping the city make progress toward its goal of zero emissions by 2029. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Estidama pearl rating system, which enhances the energy performance of new buildings, is now required for new construction in Abu Dhabi. And in Sweden’s city of Linköping, all municipal buses are powered by biogas produced from wastewater treatment plants and landfill waste.

Some of the overarching challenges noted in the snapshots include the lack of enabling policies, energy subsidies, high capital costs, the complexity of reconciling interests of various stakeholders, and the difficulty of identifying future opportunities.

The snapshots were presented during the first meeting of the GSCN, which took place 4–5 June in Stockholm.

Launched in 2012 at the third Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM3), the GSCN is a multi-country partnership that aims to provide an open platform for sharing knowledge and experience on urban sustainability initiatives throughout the world. It works to facilitate the sharing of objective and comparative performance data in some priority focus areas on products, suppliers, regulatory options, and technologies. Governments participating in the initiative include China, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the UAE, and the UAE’s Masdar serves as the GSCN Secretariat.

The GSCN meeting also featured workshops focused on identifying areas of interest and possible cooperation among the participants. Demand-side management discussions touched on topics such as design and planning, consumer outreach and behavioral change, and high-impact technologies. Waste-to-energy topics included technologies, business models, and regulatory actions. Bilateral and multilateral meetings also occurred to follow up on specific ideas, including co-investment.

Meeting attendees also conducted site visits to explore real-world applications related to the two focus areas. The demand-side management group visited the Stockholm Royal Seaport, a flagship resource-efficient city district with holistically integrated energy, water, waste, and social systems. A second group visited the Igelsta combined heat and power plant, which incinerates waste for electricity and district heating applications.

The meeting's closing session highlighted the steps that the GSCN will take until its next meeting, which will be held in the UAE during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January 2014. These steps include developing an inventory of "city-approved" suppliers of waste and energy efficiency services and products, developing a proposal for an exchange program among government agencies and entities working in waste and energy demand management, and distributing concise market overviews.