Member Elyse Bilardo, serving at the Energy Coordinating Agency in Philadelphia recently had a chance to attend the United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s (UNIDO) Sustainable Energy Symposium, part of their Sustainable Energy For All initiative. It was presented in partnership with The Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) of Allentown, PA.
The Sustainable Energy Symposium was held on December 10, 2012 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA, a fitting place to hold such an important discussion. This was a free symposium open to all who registered. Dr. George Assaf, the Director and UNIDO Representative to the United Nations and other international Organizations, moderated the panel discussions.
After the initial welcoming, the President of the Sustainable Energy Fund, Ms. Jennifer Hopkins, went over some of the financial and education barriers and how to potentially break these down.
A panel discussion was then started, and the following are some of the comments that were expressed by the international, high level, panel members.
Ambassador Carsten Staur, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, discussed the desires for renewable energy and stated that local energy production creates jobs, makes countries energy independent, can be viable on all scales making energy consumption possible in least developed countries, and will keep our global temperatures at acceptable levels.
Former Governor of PA, Mr. Ed Rendell, made an appearance and discussed his views on sustainable energy for all. He stated that as the U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of energy, there is great need for conservation and sustainable energy production at a large scale.
Lastly ,Vatsal Bhatt an Energy Policy Analyst from the Brookhaven National Laboratory addressed the need for participation from all levels of society, including local communities and institutions. The lack of this has created a barrier to sustainable energy for all.
Also on the panel were
Dr. Robert F. Ichord Jr. – Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Energy Resources, US State Department.
Mark Alan Hughes – Chief Policy Adviser to the Mayor (since 2009) and the founding Director of Sustainability (since 2008) for the City of Philadelphia.
Andrew Stein – Principal of Stein Consulting Group
After the panel discussion, individuals from all sectors of employment were given the opportunity to participate and make comments or ask questions. Some questions included the need for more collaboration between sectors and the need for a tax shift to allow tax revenue to be used for sustainable energy technology and away from the gas and oil companies. In addition, participants addressed climate change and how natural disasters mitigation may disrupt funding for sustainable energy, in light of the recent Hurricane Sandy. It seems that this symposium was a success and everyone walked away with a better sense of the challenges of implementing sustainable energy at the global and local level.
Elyse grew up in Aston, PA and graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) with a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Systems, and a minor in History. She is now pursuing her M.S. in Environmental Policy from Drexel University (graduation summer, 2013). Some of her previous internship experiences include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on their Urban Waters team in Washington, D.C., and the Academy of Natural Sciences, in their Center for Environmental Policy in Philadelphia, PA. Elyse is excited to serve as an Energy Corps member at the Energy Coordinating Agency in Philadelphia, and she is eager to engage communities and schools in energy efficiency practices. She enjoys playing sports, especially soccer and loves to cook and be outdoors. After serving, Elyse hopes to travel.