This blog post was originally published at ThinkCopper.org and is republished here with permission.
By Steve Kukoda, Vice President/Executive Director, International Copper Association (ICA)
I traveled to Washington, D.C., recently to speak at the annual EE Global Forum, which gathers energy efficiency leaders – including policymakers, industry representatives, and research experts— to build partnerships and to create actionable dialogue. This forum serves as a strong reminder of how many different industries and sectors can benefit from clean, efficient energy. Attendees get a firsthand look at all of the cutting edge research, projects and partnerships that are taking place.
This sense of collaboration was driven home during the morning plenary session I had been invited to speak at: Innovation, Disruption and Investment: The Road to a New Global Future. The session brought together energy leaders from a variety of different areas: U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire; Kateri Callahan, President of the Alliance to Save Energy; Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy & Finance for the State of New York; Melissa Lavinson, Vice President of Federal Affairs & Policy and Chief Sustainability Officer at PG&E Corporation; Andreas Schierenbeck, Chairman of the Executive Board at thyssenkrupp Elevator AG; and Maryrose Sylvester, President & CEO of Current powered by GE.
My fellow panelists discussed how their industries are working toward responsible energy consumption, be it through legislation, energy management for homes and buildings, new technology or modernization of the electrical grid. Throughout all of these discussions, one thing was clear: energy efficiency is happening, regardless of the current political environment. Consumers are now driving sustainability and nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have clean energy goals. In order to continue to innovate and to further push the energy transition, stakeholders, industry leaders and policymakers alike must come together to collaborate.
I was able to reinforce the important role copper plays in our global energy future. As a sustainable raw material, it powers the technology and equipment that are moving us toward responsible energy consumption. It is the material of choice for increasing the efficiency of electrical equipment and powering renewable technology, from solar and wind energy to electric vehicles. One tonne of copper in conductive applications that benefit from copper’s efficiency reduces energy costs by between $25,000 and $2.5 million. The metal itself is a renewable resource, as it is 100% recyclable. In fact, 1/3 of global copper demand is met through recycling, and 2/3 of the copper that has been produced since 1900 is still in productive use today. As global leaders in policy and manufacturing continue to work together to mitigate climate change, copper will be part of the equation.
The International Copper Association (ICA) has joined multiple collaborative initiatives and public-private partnerships that work toward these goals. We’re a founder of United for Efficiency (U4E), a global effort led by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to support energy efficiency in emerging economies. We also recently launched our own initiative, DecarbEurope, to encourage multiple groups to come together to fight climate change.
We in the copper industry take our role in clean energy seriously, and we will continue to take on a leadership role in support of energy efficiency. To learn more about how copper makes the world work better, visit copperalliance.org or sustainablecopper.org.