On the 8th of April 2019, the 60th Cairo Climate Talks celebrated the opening of the traveling exhibition “Germany’s Energiewende” at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The German energy transition (Energiewende) started in the 1970s and is an ongoing process. Germany aims at phasing out fossil fuels completely by 2050 thus reducing its emissions by 80-95% from its emissions in the 90s. However, Energiewende is not only a transition of the fuel used to produce energy, but the constant development of renewable energy technologies, the assurance of the efficient use of energy, the financial management of the energy systems in place, the social benefits of renewable energy use and ensuring citizen participation throughout the process of the transitioning.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Sabah Abdelrazik, Director of the Egyptian Museum welcomed guests and stressed the importance of cooperation in all fields. Ms. Abdelrazik also expressed her and her team’s joy with the role the Egyptian Museum is playing in hosting exhibitions and discussions. Mr. Sönke Siemon, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy, mentioned the importance of the cooperation with the Ministry of Environment. He went on to highlight the role renewable energy resources played in ancient Egypt. “They [ancient Egyptians] designed and built their houses so that the buildings stored up the sun’s heat during the day and then released it at night. Their building techniques not only kept their homes warmer at night, but also helped regulate a cooler temperature indoors on hot days. And of course, I need not mention the crucial role of the sun and of the waters of the Nile in Ancient Egypt”. Mr. Siemon called Energiewende (Germany’s energy transition) a political response for several challenges including; economic challenges, emission reduction and phasing out of coal and nuclear energy.
H.E. Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment welcomed the audience and expressed her pleasure to be hosting the opening of the exhibition. Dr. Fouad addressed the challenges that are facing the Ministry of Environment in Egypt and said the solution will always lie in building a future generation who is aware of those challenges and is capable of facing them. “We are encouraging all the youth from universities to integrate environmental aspects in their graduation projects” she added. Dr. Fouad also mentioned the projects the Ministry of Environment is currently working on and their relevance to renewable energy such as biogas units in villages. Dr. Fouad pointed out technology transfer as one of the main needs of the sector in Egypt, making this exhibition more relevant than ever before.
Mr. Nikolaus Supersberger, Sector Coordinator for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the field of German Development Cooperation and the Head of the German Secretariat of the Egyptian-German Joint Committee on renewable energy, energy efficiency and environmental protection, recalled a few anecdotes from the journey of Germany’s energy transition. Mr. Supersberger talked about how the introduction of smartphones solved some of the problems of the transaction costs in decentralized renewable energy production, stressing on the importance of using new technologies in developing energy strategies. “When talking about sustainable energy systems, we have to talk about energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is in the core of elements in any sustainable system development”. Mr. Supersburger concluded his remarks by mentioning lessons learned: e.g. adjusting plans based on changing circumstances, using new technologies that don’t come from the energy sector, addressing all stakeholders even ones that work with traditional forms of energy, and including the public in energy decisions.
The exhibition can be visited in the courtyard of the Egyptian Museum until the 20thst of April 2019.
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