Leaders of the energy industry and government representatives from across the Nordic region met in Reykjavik, Iceland last week (27-29 August 2014) for a conference on Energy Quality Management. Director of the Society, Brian Atkin, who chaired one of the main sessions is shown with the Director-General of the Icelandic Energy Authority (Orkustofnun), Gudni Johannesson.
As the title of the conference implied, the focus was on the management of energy quality, not quality management in the energy industry. Common amongst many presentations was concern about using high-quality energy for low-quality applications. A good example – or a bad example depending on how you look at it – is use of electricity for space heating. If this is produced by burning hydrocarbons it represents a huge waste of a natural resources as well as contributing to carbon emissions and GHG. Geothermal energy, as in the Icelandic case, is responsible for something like 97% of all space heating requirements in the country. Heat pumps are another source of low-quality energy that is entirely suited to space heating, especially for domestic buildings.
The conference at the stunning Harpa Concert and Conference Centre was opened by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ragnheidur Elin Arnadottir, with an address that included details of the most recent discussions amongst the Nordic Council of Ministers on coordinated efforts across the Nordic region to make better use of available energy resources. This was immediately followed by the keynote address from Gudni Johannesson on EQM – The Nordic and Global Perspective. This gave an excellent overview of what is needed, what is possible and what should be done to reduce energy use by ensuring that energy quality is better matched to the applications that consume it. Exergy is the energy that is available for use during a process and is a concept that is central to understanding available energy.
The next session was a panel discussion, led by Brian Atkin, and which included energy leaders from Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Hördur Arnarson, CEO of Landsvirkjun, The National Power Company of Iceland; Hans Jörgen Koch, Director of Nordic Energy Research; and Erik Brandsma, Director General of the Swedish National Energy Authority. Aside from questions to the panel on Nordic energy policy, there were a few to Brian on the UK's position on renewable energy sources.
The closing session included a summing up by Gudni Johannesson and an invited contribution from Brian Atkin on possible next steps from a strategic management perspective that included a call for an international standard on Energy Quality Management that outlined key principles and which would provide useful guidance to governments, agencies, energy producers and distributors, industry representative bodies and consumer bodies on how to establish workable energy policies and schemes.