Each year day 2 of POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy Europe is centered around the plenary debate and 2013 was no exception. This year’s topic was liberalisation and decarbonisation which was discussed by prominent figures from across the European power industry. In an open and thought-provoking debate the panel voiced their opinions on the wisdom of current policies in integrating renewables into the current system, ensuring ageing plant and infrastructure is replaced, and utilities remain solvent.
The international panel comprised:
• Peter Traupmann, Managing Director & Energy Expert, Austrian Energy Agency, Austria
• Andreo Aparo, Senior Advisor for R&D to the Chief Executive Officer, Ansaldo Energia Spa, Italy
• Susanna Zapreva, Chief Executive Officer, Wien Energie, Austria
• Wolfgang Anzengruber, CEO, Verbund AG, Austria
• Fabien Roques, Senior Director, IHS CERA, European Power and Carbon, France
• Dr Michael Fübi, Chief Executive Officer, RWE Technology, Germany
The European Commission is currently pursuing twin goals of a free power market across the EU and eliminating carbon emissions from the sector, including a significant switch to renewable energy. The panel assessed the compatibility of these goals with the policies of individual member states and the challenges of ensuring ongoing investment in order for Europe to remain globally competitive.
The panel was moderated by Stephen Sackur who is known for his provocative interview style. True to form, Sackur probed the panel with some tough questions around the future of investment in the sector in the current climate of uncertainty. While uncertainty in the market is not new, the panel shared concerns that change was being forced too quickly on a system unprepared to deal with it, which is throwing up many challenges. The issues of capacity, subsidies and pricing were identified as critical issues that need to be addressed urgently to ensure further investment and a more stable future for the sector in Europe.
The lack of political and strategic leadership was also lamented with panellists calling for brave decisions to be made around future policies and pricing as the rules of the current system have become unclear.
The plenary debate was broadcast via the internet and drew participation from 87 countries including Argentina, Bulgaria, Brazil, India and Japan ensuring the debate had a truly global perspective.