Fehmarnbelt Days 2016

Fehmarnbelt Days panel
Jakob Lagercrantz, Pat Cox, Ingrid Nestle, Peter Lindlahr, Steen Bach Nielsen and Jacob Vestergaard in the panel during Fehmarnbelt Days

A better way – Alternative Energy in Transportation

What if we all drove our alternative fuel vehicles to the Fehmarnbelt Days? Is it possible today and what is needed to upscale the decarbonisation process in the EU?

On Thursday 22 September 2016, during Fehmarnbelt Days, GREAT arranged a conference on sustainable transport. Politicians and political officials from EU and regional level discussed the status of the politics on sustainable cross border road transport.

We need policy innovation

In his keynote, Mr. Pat Cox, European Coordinator for the TEN-T Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor spoke on the future of the corridor and how it can support decarbonisation. Despite the fact that we have seen much technical improvement in vehicles over the last 20 years, transport still keeps moving up as a CO2 contributor. Decarbonisation of the transport sector must be achieved by using a combination of alternative fuels, a modal shift from road to rail and other sustainable transport modes. It’s not only important to have an innovations policy to support for instance alternative fuels, even more important is to have policy innovation in order to adapt to a changing environment.

Mr. Cox also mentioned the fact that there in the future might be a need for a malus system, providing fiscal disincentives for those not adopting to the policy of decarbonisation.

A change is under way

The keynote by Mr. Cox was followed by a panel discussion that started with short speeches by the participants. The discussions was led by the moderator Jakob Lagercrantz. With a solution based and forward looking perspective they all shared their view on the progress that is being made in the corridor.

Ms. Dr. Ingrid Nestle, State Secretary for energy issues, Land Schleswig-Holstein reported on the somewhat problematic fact that Land Schleswig-Holstein produces enough sustainable energy to cover 100% of its energy needs but they are still dependent on oil for the transport sector. To help speed up the shift Land Schleswig-Holstein has just procured 60 chargers and made them available to the municipalities in the region on a first come first served basis.

Mr. Steen Bach Nielsen, Chairman of STRING, Member of the regional council, Region Zealand talked on the importance of the Fehmarn belt fixed link as a tool for decarbonisation of the transport sector in the corridor. This will be achieved by shifting to alternative fuels as well as multimodal transport solutions. Mr. Bach Nielsen was also positive to the idea of having a lane in the tunnel dedicated to AFVs as well as sustainability based tariffs for the crossing.

Mr. Peter Lindlahr, Managing Director, hySOLUTIONS showed how Hamburg has supported the shift to electrical vehicles through a high availability in charge spots. They are also at the forefront in supporting hydrogen as an alternative fuel. Something that can also be used in the port for inland barge transports. Mr Lindlahr also mentioned that unfortunately the German federal government has been to slow in supporting the shift to alternative fuels. The new financial incentives to support AFVs that was set in place in 2016 have yet to show real impact on AFV sales.

Mr. Jacob Vestergaard, Managing Director, STRING finally drew attention to the customer perspective. The real importance lays in achieving a change in the behaviour of the market and the end customer. Only then will the real shift towards AFVs occur as the forces of capitalism have been the most successful drivers for change in the last century. Here Mr. Vestergaard pointed to GREAT as an example of a project dedicated not only to infrastructure building but also to the necessary change in customer behaviour.