POWER-GEN Europe and its co-located event Renewable Energy World Europe, have confirmed Dipl. Ing Matthias Hartung, Chief Executive Officer, RWE Generation SE & RWE Power AG, Germany and Mr Vesa Riihimaki, President, Power Plants & Executive Vice President, Wärtsilä Corporation, Finland, as the first of its joint keynote speakers. Continue reading
POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe announce keynote speakers for 2014 conference in Cologne
The European energy market needs a stable framework so that all market players can compete on an even playing field, writes Risto Paldanius, Business Development Director at Wärtsilä Power Plants in Finland
POWER-GEN Europe Advisory Board member Philippe Paelinck, Vice President, Portfolio & Strategic Positioning at Alstom, shares his thoughts on EU goals concerning energy security and unification and how these have played out in Germany thus far.
Germany has proved a true test bed for European energy policy given the numerous changes it has witnessed recently in terms of energy policy implementation. In the past two years, the country has taken the decision to exit nuclear generation, whilst moving to an ambitious penetration target of 70 GW of renewable generation comprising wind and solar PV capacity.
POWER-GEN Europe Advisory Board member Dr. Franco Rosatelli*, of Ansaldo Energia, discusses how the integration of new generation energy still remains the most important challenge to be faced by the European Energy sector.
Up until 2010, gas technologies reigned in Europe, representing more than 50 per cent of the total power generation market. Since then, wind and solar PV have taken the place of gas technologies and in the last few years have grown to account for more than 60 per cent of the power generation market. However, since 2009, Europe’s utilities have been ranked among the worst-performing sectors in global share indexes.
In the second of our guest blog posts from our Advisory Board members, David Porter*, senior Advisor to Navigant’s Global Energy team, looks at energy independence and interconnectivity in the context of national security.
In most parts of Europe, energy issues are putting policy-makers, energy companies and customers under pressure. In the UK, where rising prices have caused so many headlines, the Labour Party promises a price freeze, pending further market reform. No less remarkably, in Germany, the Energiewende (Energy transition), which was being pursued so confidently, is now presenting serious problems with prices and raising questions about security of supply. The balance that had to be struck between decarbonisation, security of supply and affordability was always an uneasy one, but, now it looks even harder to manage – especially for customers. ‘Fuel poverty’, once thought to be a largely British problem, has become an issue for German policy-makers. So are the complaints about energy bills from German manufacturing industry, which threatens to divert some of its investment to more price-friendly parts of the world.
Renewable energy sources and, more specifically, the way in which these are integrated into existing energy markets are an ever-growing concern. Jacob Klimstra, head of Jacob Klimstra Consultancy, discusses the impact that subsidising renewable energy sources, particularly in Germany, has on the European energy market.
Germany is a prime example of a country that is disrupting its own energy markets as well as those around it, as a direct result of the renewable energy subsidies it has introduced. Naturally, it is difficult to argue against the importance of stimulating renewable energy use. Yet the impact of feed-in tariffs and other subsidy schemes on the wider energy market needs to be reconsidered. Continue reading
With change sweeping the European power industry as the integration of renewables gains pace, the debate on whether renewables should form a significant part of the future power generation infrastructure has moved on considerably. The question is no longer ‘if’ the transition will take place, but ‘how’.
This question of ‘how’ provides the central focus for this year’s POWER-GEN Europe, the leading event for power industry professionals. Taking place in Cologne, Germany from 3-5 June 2014, the conference will examine how integration, interconnectivity, and decentralisation are all essential in helping Europe move towards a low carbon future.
Nowhere has the scale and complexity of the challenge been more apparent than in Germany, where the ‘Energiewende’ has placed the delicate balancing act that Europe’s power industry must perform at the heart of business and political discussion. On the one hand, consumers want clean and affordable energy, politicians want reliable supply, greater interconnection and a single market for electricity; on the other, the rise in renewables is placing the margins of established utilities under immense pressure, whilst replacing conventional power with intermittent sources that ultimately are less reliable and more costly for the electricity system as a whole.
Certainly, utilities across Europe will need to reconfigure their business models moving forward. Their core expertise lies in constructing and operating plants, but they own assets across the value chain – i.e. power generation, transmission grid, and renewables. It will be vital for utilities to exploit this invaluable expertise and to position themselves more as enablers of the system, rather than centralised producers of power.
Decentralisation of the system is already apparent in Germany and other regions such as Scandinavia and Eastern Europe where municipal models are established. Outside these markets, other solutions will be needed. One option is greater cross-border interconnectivity, but this too can be a mixed blessing. Poland’s interconnection with Germany, for example, has seen the influx of surplus German wind power place its domestic power plants under extreme pressure.
The fact is that the European power industry has so far failed to put in place the necessary framework to support renewed investment in its ageing infrastructure. Add in the situation that modern gas-fired power plants across Europe are being mothballed or closed down because they don’t fit the current market model, and it becomes clear that the industry urgently needs renewed focus.
The economic slowdown has meant the political focus has been on financial markets, with energy pushed to the sidelines. But as the economy recovers and the banks become stronger, the power industry needs to ensure it doesn’t become the next industry in crisis. At a time when the market is in transition, and with ongoing conflict between European energy policies and those of individual member states, it is all the more important for industry professionals to come together.
To see the conference Grid-at-a-glance, please go to: http://s36.a2zinc.net/clients/pennwell/pge2014/CUSTOM/Handout/PGE%20Quick%20Grid%202014.pdf