An Arctic Circle off-venue event by Icelandair, SAF, ISAVIA and Landsvirkjun
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to take part in this off-venue event in connection with the Artic Circle, arranged by the joint forces of The National Power Company (Landsvirkjun), ISAVIA, The Icelandic Travel Industry Association and Icelandair. The heading of this meeting is Energy Transition in Aviation.
The topic sounded very futuristic just a few years ago, but less so today due to great strides in development in the field. The topic is of the highest importance, as there are no less than two converging forces calling for a revolution in energy transition in all sectors. All parts of the global economy must find ways to respond to the climate change challenge by reducing emissions.
Only last week the International Civil Aviation Organization came to an agreement on a Long Term Aspirational Goal for Net-zero aviation emissions by 2050. Achieving the Long Term Goal is impossible without increased development and production of sustainable aviation fuels alongside the development of cleaner energy sources for aviation, including the use of hydrogen and renewable electricity. This shows the relevance of the discussion at this meeting.
The war in Ukraine further emphazises the urgent call for renewables from reliable sources due to energy security concerns due to the ongoing war of Russia.
Iceland has set itself a clear vision for a sustainable energy future as outlined in our long-term Energy Policy to the year 2050. Two key pillars of the Policy are in fact energy security and sustainability – reflecting the need to pursue both in harmony. We have enhanced our ambition when it comes the objectives of the Paris Agreement to achieve at least 55% net greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030 compared to 1990, by acting jointly with the European Union and its Member States and Norway. Our goal is also become carbon-neutral and the first fossil fuel free country by 2040.
In Iceland we are fortunate in not being dependent on Russian oil nor gas. We are blessed with renewable energy supply, enabling us, for example, to fuel 100% of our electricity and heating needs from such resources. In Iceland we have thankfully passed many challenges that our neighbours are facing now, so that we can focus our efforts on the energy transition in transport sector. In uncertain times, we see clearly the security benefits of being self-reliant with regard to the use of domestic renewables for heat and electricity.
The energy transition of the transport sector is however no small feat. An important and revealing document was published in the beginning of March of this year, which is a Status report describing the current state of Energy matters in Iceland along with the challenges we face so as to fulfill our future goals. This report has drawn great attention, especially the scenarios for increased energy production for increased electricity and e-fuels that will serve the energy transition. Energy for electricity and renewable fuels, such as the Sustainable Aviation Fuels call for a great ramp-up of the current energy production, even double the current amount, as in one scenario in the report.
The Icelandic Energy Fund has played a significant role in energy transition on land mainly supporting infrastructure projects, such as charging stations around the country. The fund is however, more and more looking into support for transport on sea and in the air. Also, recently there has been support for renewable fuel production, such as hydrogen and it‘s derivatives. The fund will continue to be a strong ally for entrepreneurs and developers in energy transition arena.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The climate issues are challenging and of such importance that we need close cooperation between the government and private sectors. I have placed great emphasis on increased participation of the sectors, including aviation and tourism sectors in the policy work of climate change. The Ministry has commissioned a task force for the development of new initiatives in the climate area which will be based on a sector approach where new ideas and proposals for mitigation will come from this public-private cooperation.
Thank you for the opportunity to address you here today. It is inspiring to see that clean energy is entering the field of aviation for the good of our planet. I will continue to follow your endevours with great interest and do my utmost to assist in any way possible.