POWER-GEN Europe and its co-located show, Renewable Energy Europe opened in style today as industry thought leaders delivered keynote speeches to a packed auditorium in the heart of Vienna’s business district. An unprecedented five keynote speakers took to the lectern to provide a complete picture of the industry with opinions from senior politicians, energy providers and engineers.
Although the keynote session explored the European power generation market as a whole, with speakers hailing from across the continent, it also offered a platform for an in-depth look at the energy industry in Russia, Turkey, Austria and France. Each speaker offered a unique insight based on their experience in their respective regions.
Reinhold Mitterlehner, Austria’s Federal Minister, Economy, Family & Youth, stressed the importance of diversification and flexibility within the industry and highlighted the need for Europe to make a decision on shale gas if it is to keep up with the US and China. Next Hasan Murcat Mercan, Deputy Minister for Energy and Natural Resources, Turkey urged the EU to consider countries outside its membership when deciding on sources and buyers of energy and Russia’s State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation discussed his countries recent success meeting energy demand with sources of oil and coal yielding a record breaking number of megawatts.
Marc Hall, Director of Energy at Wiener Stadtwerke, Austria, appealed to those in the industry to look for innovative ways of saving energy whilst keeping the lights on through improved efficiency of existing power generating technologies and investment in emerging technologies like thermal generation and energy storage solutions. Philippe Cochet of Alstom Power closed the session by asking for a long term power generation strategy that looked beyond 2020 targets and allowed for the construction of power plants that can be sustainable until 2050.
Despite distinct differences in opinion, the speakers did have shared views and opinions. All called for more co-operation and integration across Europe and despite the decline in investment in renewables, it was agreed that they need to make up a more significant percentage of the energy mix in Europe as a whole. It was also agreed that the European energy industry is in a period of flux and that there are many challenges ahead as the continent works towards a common aim. Despite the expertise and insight demonstrated during the keynote speeches they generated yet more questions about the future of the industry. However, as Yury Sentyurin said in his speech, POWER-GEN Europe is a perfect place to find answers.