“Many solutions contribute to a low-carbon energy transition, but experience shows that you get the best results if your approach is cross-disciplinary”.
That was a main conclusion from Ramboll CEO Jens-Peter Saul at yesterday’s sessions at the World Climate Summit held in Bonn, in connection with the UN’s Climate Conference COP23:
“We need to move on from a silo mentality towards holistic masterplanning. We need to forge connections between the technical solutions, the governance structure and the social and cultural offerings, if you are to create cities that are sustainable and liveable”, Jens-Peter Saul stated.
For several years, Ramboll has worked with the city of Copenhagen on cross-disciplinary climate solutions that do not only include for example hydraulic expertise but are also optimised socially, environmentally and economically.This broad sustainability approach has led to New York City choosing Ramboll on a similar climate project in Queens.
Jens-Peter Saul participated in the opening ceremony ‘Building a New Coalition – The Role of Alliances and Bottom-Up Actions in the New Era of Climate Leadership’ – with H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma from Burkina Faso and Director-General Thorsten Herdan from the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in Germany among the other participants.
A flexible power grid
Ramboll’s CEO was also key speaker at a Roundtable Discussion with Danish companies Danfoss and Kamstrup on ‘How to combat climate change with digitalization and low temperature district heating’.
At the roundtable Jens-Peter Saul shared the Danish success story about decarbonisation: Denmark has enabled a green transition while securing continued socio-economic growth, thanks to an increased use of high-efficient district energy among other things.
The Greater Copenhagen part of the district heating system now supplies heat to a floor area of more than 70 million m2 – with more than one million citizens connected and a 2025 carbon neutral target.
The system is moving towards the 4th Generation District Heating system, fully integrated with the district cooling, thermal storage capabilities and the power system.
“The power grid of the future is very flexible. It will absorb, transmit and distribute heat and power from various sources in most cost effective way, depending on generation and demand, storage capabilities, market prices, the weather, the season and the time of day”, Jens-Peter Saul said.
Digitalisation raises efficiency
He highlighted two innovative elements of this model:
Large thermal storages and a huge fleet of heat pumps help optimize the production from fluctuating renewable energy sources in particular. And digitalisation, where distributed energy generation systems in the future, will form ‘Energy Cells’ that connect to each other and operate like an ‘internet of energy’ – based on a secure and reliable energy supply.
“So while the Paris Agreement and local climate goals are putting pressure on energy planning, there are also solutions underway that address the issue at scale. And solutions such as these are necessary for countries, regions and cities that are concerned with the big question: how to get on the path to a low-carbon society in the most cost-efficient way – while also taking energy security into account”, Jens-Peter Saul pointed out.
Jens-Peter Saul was recently awarded ‘CEO of the Year’ by the leading business association in the engineering sector, ACE (Association for Consultancy and Engineering).