Welcome to our special publication documenting the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit that took place in New York between 4 and 7 April 2011.
The fourth annual Summit, our second since New Energy Finance became part of Bloomberg in December 2009, took place in New York in April. The first three, all in London, had been very successful but we wanted to set ourselves a new challenge for 2011 – and introduce a blast of fresh American air to the discourse on the future of energy. Summit 2011 surpassed all our expectations, with some 500 thought leaders and invited delegates convening in the ornate surroundings of New York’s Pierre Hotel for a series of fascinating debates and interactive sessions. Many of them stayed through to the very special Roundtable Day on Climate Finance and Energy Access which we ran on Thursday in the Central Park Boathouse in association with the UN.
The abiding message from this year’s event was that developments – particularly in technology and in the spread of clean energy to developing countries – are taking place at a speed that the wider energy industry, policy-makers and business community have not appreciated. Yes, there are questions and uncertainties over the future of subsidy support, over low natural gas prices in the US, over international agreements on emission reductions, and over the provision of finance for particular locations and types of project. But none of these is preventing clean energy from advancing strongly on many fronts.
I was struck by what we heard on the reduction in costs of clean energy, progressing at a speed that would make fossil-fuel energy advocates choke on their cornflakes if they were tracking it, and the coming-to-market of a range of exciting new technologies, among them the launch of the first mass market electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, as well as those represented by our latest Bloomberg New Energy Pioneers.
The Summit as a whole must have impressed on all present – as well as those who were following the proceedings on BloombergTV, on the terminal or via Twitter or various blogs following the event – that the US is fertileterrain for clean energy, despite the arguments in Congress and the scepticism about climate change in the opinion polls. From second-generation biofuels to rooftop solar, from gasoline-electric hybrids to geothermal power and the provision of venture finance, the US is a force – and in some cases, the force – to be reckoned with.
The UN Roundtable Day on Thursday 7 April was perhaps the biggest surprise of the week. As we put together the agenda for a day on climate finance and energy access, I confess there was some doubt in our minds about whether we could put policy-makers and investors in the same room and expect the discussion to take off. And after three days of our Summit, we worried that delegates would be tired and seats would be empty.
In the event, the main room in the Central Park Boathouse was bursting at the seams, to the point where most of my Bloomberg New Energy Finance colleagues had to give up their seats and stand. As a World Bank speaker put it, one of the big problems in climate finance for developing countries is that governments and financiers are simply not talking with each other – “except in this room”. The UN Roundtable Day is recalled in an article on page 22 of this book, and a more complete write-up is contained in a separate document.
We hope you enjoyed the Summit as much as we did, and would welcome any feedback and ideas you have. We are already working on the fifth Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit, which will take place in the second half of March 2012 in New York. Let me close by thanking our Summit partners and sponsors for making the event possible, and the delegates for accepting our invitations.
I look forward to welcoming you to one of our Food for Thought lunches, a sectoral Leadership Forum, or the 2012 Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit next
To access the full results book please download the full report.