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An Agreement on Electric Vehicles Fleet Testing and Service Network for Iceland Reached at "Driving Sustainability 2008" International Energy Congress

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REYKJAVIK, Iceland, September 19 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 200 participants from 72 companies assembled at the exclusive annual international platform for sustainable energy solutions at Hilton Nordica Reykjavík September 18 and 19.

"In the next five years or so we have to lay the fundamental groundwork of a comprehensive transformation of our traffic system, our transport, how we use the roads, how we move from one place to another, whether it is a household or a city or a country." said Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland, in his opening address at Driving Sustainability at Hilton Reykjavik Thursday.

The Government of Iceland today signed a Memoranda of Understanding with Mitsubishi Motors to test the i-MiEV electric vehicle in Iceland, and with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Corporation on the development of a service network for vehicles run entirely on electricity.

One hundred percent of Iceland's electricity generation comes from renewable energy and the country is the world's leading nation in utilizing renewable energy with 80% of its total energy consumption from hydro- and geothermal sources.

The remainder, mostly fossil fuels, is consumed by the transport and fishing sectors.

"Transport is our next target for system change to clean energy" says Teitur Torkelsson, Managing Partner of FTO Sustainable Solutions / Framtídarorka ehf., organizer of Driving Sustainability.

Invited as a keynote speaker, Dr. Bertrand Piccard, President and initiator of the Solar Impulse project shared his vision for sustainable mobility embodied in his vision of flying night and day around the world in a solar powered airplane.

"In the latter part of the 20th Century, Iceland's production of clean energy was raised to 80% of the total needs, with a strong political will. When will the rest of the world wake up and understand that the same can be done everywhere with enough of pioneering spirit?" says Bertrand Piccard.

Solar Impulse is a symbol, an example of what can be achieved with alternative energy and a way to inspire people to do the same in their daily life. In the same way, Iceland can be considered as an example to follow in terms of environmental policy.

Talking about how some oil producing states like Abu Dhabi and Qatar are already preparing themselves for the time when the oil and gas will run out, Iceland's President asked "Why aren't we, who don't have these resources, running fast to prepare ourselves for that time? I don't accept the argument that Iceland is so specific and unique that only we can do it. On the contrary I believe that how we have succeeded in transforming our energy system should be an inducement and encouragement to others to do the same."

A stark reminder of reality to participants came from Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir, Iceland's Minister for the Environment; "Of all the countries in the European Economic Area, Iceland has the highest average emission from new cars and ranks among the highest in passenger cars per capita." But at the Reykjavík meeting, the assembled group of visionaries, technology providers and politicians, were making change happen.

Referring to Iceland as a role model and meeting place on the subject on clean energy, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland stated; "We have formulated the vision and the ambition to get rid of fossil fuel completely in a reasonably short time."

Driving Sustainability contact information: http://www.driving.is

SOURCE FTO Sustainable Solutions



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