This post was co-authored by John Wilson.
Are LEGO bricks what we need to change our energy future? And why were people playing with them at a side event at “the biggest intergovernmental meeting in history“?
The LEGO game was just one of many exhibits at the Bright Green Expo which I attended in Copenhagen, Denmark yesterday. The dynamic clean energy economy on display at the forum was a refreshing, but somewhat overwhelming in contrast to the unfounded and persistent stereotypes of energy production back in the Southeast USA.
One of the most interesting points is the close relationship between biomass-fueled electric generation and combined heat and power (CHP, also known as co-generation). We’ve been making this link for several years but haven’t been able to make much headway in the Southeast. Here, the efficiency of biopower is much higher than in the USA because they also generate heat for use in district heating systems.
There was also a strong emphasis on energy efficiency, both improved building practices and better technology. Ever heard of Z-Wave? Z-Wave is a business alliance creating products that can combine smart metering with home control solutions such as lighting, thermostat, appliance and window shade control. Window shades? Open them in the morning to light up the house, then close them during the day to keep the A/C bill low. You can even activate this system using your computer at work or your mobile phone while running errands. The Energy Aware House, very cool!
Towering over the rest of the exhibits was a model Vestas wind turbine beside a monitor showing how much energy had been generated, how many tons of CO2 had been saved, how many homes were being powered and how many turbines were being erected around the world during the 2 days of the forum – in the moments I stood beside the display, the numbers ticked upwards.
While there were some companies from the USA in the mix, this was very much a showcase of Danish and European leadership on clean energy. I was very inspired by this Expo (even staying so long I was more than 2 hours late to a briefing session with climate advocates) and will enthusiastically join the many people here in bringing back some great ideas and vision for our own leadership in the Southeast.