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UNECE and Boston University to cooperate to accelerate the clean energy transition

Published: 26 September 2018

The global transition to sustainable energy is among the major challenges of our time and is of cross-cutting importance to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly its Goal 7 which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Accelerating this shift requires enhancing coordination and partnerships and drawing on fresh insights from the latest research and innovation. 

In response to this need, the United Nations Economic Commission on Europe (UNECE) and Boston University (BU) have agreed to work together on ways to advance the clean energy transition, signing a Memorandum of Understanding. The collaboration is expected to benefit UNECE countries as well as countries in other regions. 

The cooperation between UNECE and BU’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) will focus primarily on policy design and development initiatives linked to UNECE’s Pathways to Sustainable Development programme, and support broader research, analysis and programme development concerning energy infrastructure modernization. Additional areas of possible collaboration include urban policy solutions for quality of life and climate challenges using Boston and other cities as case studies for peer learning and best practices; research on power market design exploring the impact and opportunities of big data, the integration of renewable resources into power markets, and greater involvement of consumers; flexibility in the operation of fossil fuel power plants; contribution of policy and technology considerations to UNECE’s work on energy efficiency in buildings and industry; and research and analysis on the linkages between energy and ecosystems/resource management.

UNECE Executive Secretary, Olga Algayerova, noted that “the sustainable energy transition underpins the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and requires effective cooperation among key stakeholders – including governments, industry, academia and civil society. This cooperation is at the heart of UNECE’s work on sustainable energy and we welcome this strengthened engagement with cutting-edge research through our collaboration with Boston University”.

We are honored to launch this partnership with the UNECE,” said Peter Fox-Penner, Professor in BU’s Questrom School and ISE Director. “Developing pathways to robust, sustainable economies without carbon lies at the heart of the ISE’s mission”.

The collaboration is expected to be a multi-year agreement engaging academic researchers across relevant BU disciplines, institutes, and centers, coordinated through ISE with researchers and experts supporting a range of UNECE’s projects and programmes in the area of sustainable energy.

Note to editors

About sustainable energy at UNECE

One of the UN’s five regional commissions of the United Nations, UNECE promotes international policy dialogue and cooperation among governments, industry and other stakeholders. UNECE’s work on sustainable energy is designed to improve access to affordable and clean energy for all and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the carbon footprint of the energy sector, supporting member States in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and commitments under the Paris Agreement. UNECE’s activities in sustainable energy fall into three broad areas: reducing the environmental footprint of the energy sector by improving the economic, technical, and environmental performance of fossil energy, helping countries accelerate the deep transformation of the world’s energy system to support sustainable development, and deploying procedures and systems to help countries and companies manage their resources sustainably.

About Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy

BU’s Institute for Sustainable Energy is a “thinking and doing” institute with ongoing research on climate change mitigation, the utility of the future, transportation electrification, and emerging challenges in meeting the water requirements of today’s and tomorrow’s world.  Presently, ISE is helping the city of Boston with its efforts to be carbon free by 2050.  It is also working with Columbia University and Global Energy Interconnection and Development Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), an arm of the State Grid of China, on a range of sustainable energy topics, including renewable resource requirements for high voltage transmission, interconnections, and integration into existing grids, as well as studies concerning electric vehicle deployment and electrification of industrial processes.


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