Energy Day at COP27

Vera van Zoest, researcher at Uppsala University, visited the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el Sheikh on behalf of StandUp for Energy during the final week of the negotiations. She shares her experiences of the climate summit and the Energy Day:

”It has been an amazing experience to be able to take part in such a global event. The entire city turned into a conference and has been completely renovated to welcome the 40.000 participants. Even in the hotel it was clear that the beach resort welcomed no tourists for two weeks, but only COP27 participants. This created a very nice atmosphere, strangers joining each other for breakfast and dinner, as everyone is part of the ’COP family’.

The negotiations are of course the centre of the conference, and as an observer it felt like an honour to be allowed to watch some of these sessions, in which even the press is not allowed. But apart from the negotiations there were a lot of side events, like seminars and panel discussions in meeting rooms. Several large halls were filled with country pavilions from all over the world, showcasing their achievements and developments, as well as having their own seminars. Imagine a conference with 50-100 parallel sessions! A lot to choose from and a lot to plan.

Tuesday 15 November 2022 was Energy Day at COP27. It has been an inspiring day with lots of interactive sessions and knowledge sharing from all around the world. The main message is that we need to scale up the amount of renewable energy fast, while at the same time becoming more energy efficient. There was also a focus on the importance of data, and even more importantly to make sense of data through models and decision support systems.

Planet, Microsoft and The Nature Conservancy jointly presented the Global Renewables Watch, a decision support tool measuring the world’s clean energy resources from space through remote sensing and AI. They mentioned that 60% of the solar capacity is in Africa, but only 1% of the global solar power is actually located in Africa, so there is a lot to gain there.

An iLab session on scalable energy systems emphasized the need for partnerships. Integration exists at the utility side, but there is a need for integration of technology and policy implementation. Furthermore, they stressed the need to look differently at project-level risks if the zero-action alternative has global risks.

In the afternoon, Arup presented the SCALE tool in a nice interactive session. This tool provides geospatial optimization of offshore wind energy localization under different constraints such as environmental, fishing, shipping, and coastal buffers. With the message that maps speak to everyone, and digital tools are crucial to support decision making.

Furthermore, it was of course amazing to see all new technologies shared on the country pavilions. Smart city technology is everywhere. Japan’s pavilion showed how they are developing electric engines for airplanes. If it’s up to them, we will be flying electric planes by 2040. Integration has been mentioned many times: food-water-energy nexus but also integration between technology, policy and people.

Besides attending the conference, I had the honour to be invited by the Swedish Embassy in Egypt to a museum tour and reception, and a digital meeting with our new climate minister Romina Pourmokhtari. Overall it has been an overwhelming but great and inspiring experience, and I would like to thank StandUp for Energy for providing me this unique opportunity!”

To read more about Vera’s experiences, you can read her blogs on Twitter: @standup4energy or LinkedIn: