Sustainable energy expert appointed Chair of UN group dedicated to increasing solar energy uptake

An academic in Loughborough University’s School of Social Sciences and Humanities has been appointed to a United Nations role that will allow her to continue pushing for solar energy uptake.

Dr Long Seng To, a RAEng (Royal Academy of Engineering) Engineering for Development Research Fellow and Lecturer in Resilient Energy Systems, has been appointed the Chair of the Solar Energy Subgroup of the UN’s Expert Group on Resource Management (EGRM).

Having joined the group as a member in 2018, Dr To has worked hard to further the sustainable energy goals of the UN, notably by helping draft the first solar energy standards for UNFC (United Nations Framework Classification for Resources) in a bid to standardise how solar energy potential is classified and reported.

The work on UNFC is overseen by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), one of the UN’s five regional commissions.

In her new role as Chair, Dr To will coordinate the efforts of the subgroup’s members and also represent the group in the EGRM Renewable Energy Classification Working Group and at EGRM meetings, such as the UNECE Resource Management Week 2021.

Of being appointed to the role and what she looks to achieve, Dr To said: “I feel honoured to be appointed as the Chair of the Solar Energy Subgroup and am excited about accelerating the transition to sustainable energy!

“After helping to develop the specifications for the application of UNFC to solar energy, which was endorsed by the UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy in September 2019, I hope to see widespread use of UNFC for solar energy.

“This will lead to greater investment in and development of sustainable energy.”

The Solar Energy Subgroup’s action statement for this year is: “By the end of 2021, we will engage with key stakeholders and demonstrate the value of adopting the UNFC solar specifications to integrated energy companies, solar project developers, financial institutions, and regulators by developing at least one case study application”.

Dr To commented: “We need leaders to apply the UNFC solar specifications to projects, processes, and policies. So do get in touch if you want to test UNFC or make a case study.”

More information on the subgroup can be found here.

Further information on the UNFC specifications – and Dr To’s role in constructing them – can be found in a press release here.