The first day of the third edition of the Swiss-US Energy Innovation Days started off with an excellent keynote speech from Mark Ferron, member of the California Independent System Operator Corporation Board of Governors, who delivered a very comprehensive and thoughtful talk about the policy challenges and possible solutions for California to move towards a low carbon economy. This has been a very useful presentation for the Swiss audience, who was not necessarily familiar with the Californian context. It also proved reassuring to see that many of the challenges that California faces happen to be the same as ours in Switzerland.
The keynote speech was followed by a very inspiring mixture of Californian and Swiss views and case study presentations on energy system developments with a particular focus on smart grid technologies, innovative mobility and smart building solutions, as well as a dive into new business opportunities in the emerging energy cloud.
We have seen that both the US and Europe are facing very similar challenges in their transition to sustainable energy systems, be it from a demand or supply side perspective. Our understanding nonetheless is that the US is leading the show when it comes to the implementation of innovative business models of shared economy solutions in the mobility sector (advanced car sharing, ride sharing, moving large groups of people and things around rapidly growing cities, etc.), while Switzerland seems to be at the cutting edge of sustainable building innovation. All in all, a very constructive exchange of ideas.
Today’s sessions have certainly been very fruitful for most participants and concrete collaboration between Switzerland and the US seems to be on good track if I believe the various discussions that were happening during coffee breaks.
Simon Büschi, Diplomatic Advisor Swiss Federal Office of Energy