More than 150 experts from 26 European countries and different institutions and organisations participate in the 4th Conference of the third phase of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS III) which opened today.
EDA is organising the 4th CF SEDSS III conference (29/ 30 June) under the auspices of the French EU Presidency and hosted by the Ministry of Armed Forces of France (FR MoD) and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). For the first time since the project's inception in 2015, the plenary conference is combined with an Energy Technology Solutions (ETS) Conference on 1 July 2022 and an onsite exhibition on 30 June and 1 July.
The two-day CF SEDSS plenary conference takes place at a very challenging geopolitical moment, with energy prices skyrocketing and many countries reconsidering their energy supplies and routes as a result of the Russian war in Ukraine. Consequently, the conference presents an opportunity for participants to finalise the first cycle of the project deliverables and explore new areas for strengthening the defence energy resilience and autonomy. The conference will also present an update on the European Commission’s 'Fit for 55’ package and the state of implementing of the EU's Climate Change and Defence Roadmap concerning the CF SEDSS associated work strands. During the separate working group sessions, delegates will share their expertise and insights on the group's work plan and support the development of the key deliverables.
In his opening speech, delivered via video message, EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý emphasised that "now more than ever, the EU needs to fast track the green transition to avoid being held energy hostage. Similarly, in the spirit of the Versailles declaration and the REPowerEU Plan, the EU needs to increase its energy security by improving energy efficiency, diversifying its energy supplies and substituting fossil fuels by renewables". Despite this political momentum, "the green transition will only be successful if we bring fully on board the defence sector, which is an energy-intensive and large consumer of fossil fuel", he said. This becomes increasingly imperative as EU member states agreed in the Strategic Compass to develop national strategies to prepare the armed forces for climate change. Mr Šedivý expressed his satisfaction with the outstanding result of the Forum's first cycle of deliverables, including more than fifteen project ideas on defence energy-related projects, analyses of six research areas in sustainable energy and initial contributions to the Guidance Document on Sustainable Energy. He also commended the Forum’s substantial input to the EU's Climate Change and Defence Roadmap and reiterated the Agency's commitment to support the Ministries of Defence in advancing sustainable and circular energy models via EDA's key channels, namely the Energy Consultation Forum, the Energy and Environment Capability Technology Group and the Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence.
In his keynote address, General Francois-Alain Serre, general officer for sustainable development at the Joint Staff of the French Ministry of Defence, expressed his appreciation for hosting this conference under the auspices of the French EU Presidency. He said the event offered an opportunity to "focus on EU sovereignty and strategic autonomy in two extremely vital sectors: energy and defence." Consequently, several topics will be addressed, including energy efficiency and building performance, renewable energy sources, resilience of defence-related critical energy infrastructure, and innovative energy technologies. He stressed that "energy and climate security are fields with a high potential for cooperation, both at the European and international levels, and that the Consultation Forum plays a major role in fostering this collaboration".
The Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS) is a European Commission funded initiative managed by the EDA. This Forum was established with the primary goal to create a defence energy-related community to share information, knowledge and best practices on improving energy management, increasing energy efficiency and buildings performance, utilising renewable energy sources in the defence sector and enhancing the resilience of defence-related critical energy infrastructure. To address these objectives, and with the support of the European Commission, EDA has implemented two phases: the first phase took place from October 2015 to October 2017 and the second one from October 2017 to August 2019. Building on the successful outcome of these two phases and to address emerging and future challenges in the field of energy, EDA and the European Commission launched on 1 October 2019 the third phase, which will run over a period of four ears until 30 September 2023. CF SEDSS phase III is funded by the European Union's (EU) horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No. 882171.