UN Environment energy initiative named best partnership

UN Environment’s District Energy in Cities Initiative, which unlocks private sector finance to cut greenhouse gas emissions from heating and cooling, has been named best partnership in the energy sector at a global summit in Copenhagen.

District energy systems heat and cool buildings across a neighbourhood or city using otherwise lost energy sources such as waste heat. The EU, for example, generates enough waste heat to heat all of its buildings were it to use district energy.

“Heating and cooling consume about 30 per cent of global energy, almost all of it from fossil fuels,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. “If we are serious about creating a better future, we need to rethink how we heat and cool our homes, businesses and cities. Modern district energy can play a huge role in cutting emissions.”

UN Environment’s District Energy in Cities Initiative is working with 36 cities across the globe to help plan for and deliver modern district energy projects. The initiative, which is backed by partners such as district energy specialist Danfoss and donors such as the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the Danish International Development Agency, and the Italian Ministry of Environment Protection, Land and Sea, encourages private sector investment by partnering early in market development to prepare financially sound projects.

The initiative has now been named best State-of-the-Art partnership in the energy sector at the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) summit in Copenhagen, which brings together world leaders, the private sector and civil society to accelerate partnerships that support sustainable development.

Presenting the award, GEF CEO and chairperson Naoko Ishii called the initiative a “stellar example of the GEF philosophy of public-private partnerships” and praised it for unlocking “financing solutions for cleaner energy and more sustainable cities”.

Image credit: Bill Ebbesen via Wikimedia Commons

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