THREE QUESTIONS TO DANIËL TERMONT

“We … need to think about how to supply energy to cities.” Daniël Termont, Mayor of Ghent

Daniël Termont is Mayor of the Belgian port city of Ghent. In 2016, he became President of EUROCITIES, a network of major European cities, where he has represented Ghent since he became Mayor in 2007. He is also a board member of the EU’s Covenant of Mayors.

Ghent has a long tradition of promoting sustainable living, with the largest designated cyclist area in Europe and municipality-promoted meat-free day on Thursdays. In 2013, Mr Termont was the driving force behind the organisation of the EUROCITIES 2013 Annual General Meeting in the city, on the theme ‘smart citizens’. He is also on the board of directors of Fluxys PLC, a European natural gas infrastructure company, and is an energy supply expert in the Flemish socialist political party, Socialistische Partij Anders (sp.a).

What does sustainable energy mean to you?

Ghent aims to become climate neutral by 2050. We are therefore pursuing a transition towards fossil-free energy sources. However, making energy sustainable is not just about changing its source. It requires us to develop the means to make this energy accessible and affordable to all, such as business models, smart cooperation models, legal and financial frameworks, innovation and experimental zones.

What are the trends that we should look out for in sustainable energy? And what impacts do they have on what you’re doing now or in the future?

Heating and cooling will be a major challenge for many cities in the future. Reducing energy demand, increasing energy efficiency and enlarging renewable energy capacity are just the first steps. We also need to think about how to supply energy to cities, about the most efficient distribution systems, and how new kinds of grids can help create closed loops or further loop connectivity, e.g. between energy, water, and resources.

Do you plan to attend the EUSEW Policy Conference and if so what do you hope to get out of it this year?

I am delighted to be speaking at the opening session of the policy conference together with inspirational speakers such as Bertrand Piccard. EUSEW 2017 is a wonderful opportunity to share our experience and drive forward Ghent’s, and indeed Europe’s, transition to smart, sustainable energy.

“Making energy sustainable is not just about changing its source. It requires us to develop the means to make this energy accessible and affordable to all.”