Energy Day 2016 – The future of private transportation
The Energy Day 2016 was a great success thanks to an amazing team of students and great speakers. We also have to thank our loyal sponsor Statkraft and this events main sponsor DNV-GL for providing the funds to make this event happen.
The event provided a lot of attending students with interesting information and different views on the transportation industry. We where able to spark an interesting debate between the speakers about the topic thanks to a great audience and Thomas Potter who moderated the conference. Needless to say we in NHHS Energi considered this event as a great success. Read on to understand why.
The first speaker at the Energy Day 2016 was Anne Aune from DNV-GL. It’s a company we know well from previous cooperation through case studies and previous conferences. She presents an inspiring vision for the future and how DNV-GL works towards goals that will realize it. With well formulated statements and confident body language she engages the audience with questions and continues to enlighten us about business opportunities for building a more sustainable future. This is the point where she goes more into the specifics about smart cities as one of the opportunities and goes more deeply into the topic for the conference. Anne breaks down the transport industry based on The Global Opportunity Report and tell us about how China is the country with the most political willpower to change its ways in regards to the transport sector. She also shows us the different possibilities to move ahead for creating a greener transport system for cleaner cities.
The next speaker at the Energy Day was Lasse Fridstrøm from The Institute for Transport Economics. In a fast pace he quickly sat the tone for a detailed and fact focused presentation. When the audience was brought up to speed on different abbreviations necessary to understanding the graphics in the presentation he went on to explaining the models he had brought with him from the Institute for Transport Economics. Based on historic numbers and including all cars and car models in circulation within the Norwegian market Lasse Fridstrøm can explain to the audience how the numbers the EU reports about emissions includes a lot of fictional results. Thankfully the Power Point works in his favor as he concludes the presentation with explaining how his models can predict, based on historic data, that the tax systems Norway has implemented makes a difference. He briefly introduces the idea of a kilometer based tax system before he answers the sub-topic of the conference: “We are not wasting billions”.
Our most profiled guest for the event was up next. The second in command of the political party Venstre, Ola Elvestuen. It’s clear from the start that he’s from a different background than the other speakers. With the Venstre logo lighting up the background Ola delivers a structured presentation without bullet points interrupting his flow. His body language also differs from the previous speakers. He is calm and composed as he talks about the recent UN climate meeting and how he wants Norway to enter the EU system for regulating emissions. He continues to tell the story about how we need to have 80-100% of the car park in Norway go on environmental friendly fuel in 10 years to reach the goals we have set for ourselves as a nation. Ola tells us about how other countries like Germany and Korea is looking to Norway and our tax regulation of the car industry to try and implement our solutions for pushing the car park into a green trend. Rounding up the presentation he tells us the truth about Norway that we are the only nation traveling by airplane across short distances like between Bergen and Oslo.
Bjart Holtsmark is the last speaker before the debate at the end. As soon as he is introduced by Thomas Potter he announces his view about the Norwegian tax break for electric cars and other tax regulations. He has a negative view about them, and will gladly tell us why as he introduces the topic for his speech: “will these policies have an environmental benefit?” As examples about how the models for measuring environmental benefit fall short Bjart mentions how the dust from wheels and road wear causes the most local pollution. He also mentions that in the entire lifespan of a car, the Tesla pollutes more than an average car with a combustion engine. The presentation proceeds with a discussion about the high social cost of implementing the taxation of cars and how the electric cars in reality drains electricity from a power grid with lack of clean energy in an international scale. The international outlook for the future energy sources will not be purely renewables and because the Norway is not a closed society our energy consumption of hydro power affects the international access of clean energy. The conclusion is that it makes more sense to have higher taxes on cars in general and focus more on higher taxes in cities and rush hours.
Next up was the debate. The participants were introduced by our moderator Thomas Potter. He starts the debate by commenting on how there is an environmental benefit from electric cars when it comes to noise reduction. The panel is filled with people who knows a lot about the topic and they don’t need more to go on than this comment before the discussion turns into a lively one. The debate is probably the most interesting in NHHS Energi history, with a lot of good points. To be sure, if you weren’t attending, you should have been there. Some of the most interesting points I picked up was how Lasse Fridstrøm agreed that electric cars aren’t the ultimate solution, but solves environmental problems for specific regions. Ola Elvestuen agreed that electric cars had to lose some benefits in the future as they are now becoming a trend and don’t need as much benefits to be preferable to other cars. Lasse also came with an interesting point about how Norway and Denmark is the only countries with this policy and also the only countries with no car industry lobby. There was a question from the audience about what the panel thought about Chinas position as a monopoly for the rare earth minerals needed for production of the electric car batteries. The panel quickly agrees that Bolivia has access to these, and are therefore not a problem. The panel also agrees on a question from the audience about hydrogen driven cars that it’s not efficient enough to be usable in domestic cars. The question sparks a discussion between Bjart Holtsmark and Lasse Fridtstrøm about electric vehicles.
Time is up for the conference and the leader of NHHS Energi, Kristian Fauske, puts an end to the conference by thanking DNV and Statkraft for the sponsorship, the students behind the conference and the speakers who attended. He then invites everyone attending to continue the discussion outside of the auditorium while eating sushi and drinking soda.