Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the World Heritage City of Graz, to the Human Rights City of Graz and to the “City of Design”!
All three titles have one thing in common; they are all connected to UNESCO. If you omit U-N-O it is about Education, Science and Culture. These are the three pillars on which the self-image of Graz is built.
Knowledge is power. Research and linked to this, a cutting edge in knowledge is the basis for continued existence in today’s global competition.
Energy systems are undergoing transformation. Away from CO2 and centralized structures towards flexible, open, democratic and yet affordable systems which interact with one another (power, heat, mobility).
Graz, for example, is in the middle of one of the most rapid transformations of heating systems in Europe. Within a few years the share of renewables in Graz’s district heating system will have increased almost ten-fold from 6% to over 50%.
Projects on a new scale worldwide are under preparation for district heating based on solar energy and seasonal storage.
The “Smart City Graz” with a smart energy concept in Graz is growing, including the first Energy Glass Tower in the world with large-scale “Grätzel cells” for power generation.
Due to the extent of knowledge which makes it increasingly difficult for individuals to gain insights into small areas let alone get an overview, it is necessary to work in networks. The networks, comprising experts, form the basis for research in cutting edge areas.
For this reason I wish your conference every success and hope that I will be able to welcome you back to our city in the near future!