Tag Archives: POWER-GEN Europe 2013

Introducing this year’s keynote speakers

Our keynote speakers set the scene for both POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe and this year we are delighted to announce that we have some of Europe’s most influential power generation thought leaders opening the show in Vienna.

The focus of this year’s conference and exhibition is to find answers to the pressing questions that will determine the future of the power generation industry. Our keynote speakers will outline the key issues that will be developed over the course of the exhibition and will discuss the core themes of integration and investment.

Our keynote speakers represent a range of European energy markets and each offers a unique perspective on the European industry as a whole. To get a more rounded view, we have invited both senior political figures as well as business leaders to speak on their areas of expertise.

The full list of speakers can be found below:

• Reinhold Mitterlehner, Austria’s Federal Minister, Economy, Family & Youth
• Alexander Novak, Russian Minister of Energy, Ministry of Energy, Russia,
• Taner Yildiz, Energy Minister for Turkey
• Philippe Cochet, President of Alstom Thermal Power,
• Marc H. Hall Director for Energy, Wiener Stadtwerke, Austria.

For more information on any of the speakers mentioned above, please click here

The keynote session is open to all attendees and will take place on Tuesday 4 June 2013 in Strauss 2-3, Ground Floor, Congress Center at Messe Wien, Vienna. It will run from 09:30 – 11:00.


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Making the case for unity

ESWET WorkshopIn the final installment of our series of guest blogs, Nicolas Kraus, Policy Officer of EPPSA, examines how political indecisiveness across the continent has stifled growth in the European power sector, and calls for greater unity to ensure Europe remains competitive.

The European power sector is in desperate need of investment and innovation, but it is easy to see why neither has been forthcoming. Current regulatory signals given by European and national policymakers make it difficult for investors to identify a long-term return on investment, causing the market to stagnate. Green technologies must be pushed to reach 20-20-20 targets, but long-term planning is not possible because the agreed political framework keeps changing. The recent back loading of allowances by the European Commission to increase carbon prices is a prime example.

Investments are rapidly needed to ensure generation adequacy, which implies new flexible resources and building new generation facilities to complement variable wind and solar generation and ensure sufficient capacity is available to meet demand. Conventional power plants are no longer working at their design load for most of the time, and therefore this part load operation takes place at much less efficiency than the design efficiency. In addition, the feed-in of intermittent energy sources in spots where no consumption exists, changes the existing grid system, which was created for conventional power to distribute and transmit electricity to the point of consumption and therefore forms a spider’s web around the generation plant.

It was agreed between EU Member States that by 2014, the internal energy market must be completed as a key instrument to economic growth. This communication sets out ways to ensure the market fulfils its potential as soon as possible, with interventions that are well designed and effective throughout Europe. However, national structures that have evolved over the past few decades are not easy to change. A more cohesive approach to decision-making at national and EU level is clearly necessary. In the past, the only way to do this was indirectly through the environment competences of the European Commission. Article 194 of the Lisbon Treaty gave the EU some shared competences with Member States on energy matters, but this is not enough! Member States still have the final say on the type of technology they use (i.e. renewable energy sources, conventional, nuclear), which makes it difficult for the EC to ‘Europeanise’ the internal energy policies of Member States.

Looking further afield, the case for unity is bolstered by the fact that other continents already have their houses in order. It’s no secret that the EU is not immune to global activities, but the major challenge today is to agree on how far the EU can carry the global climate change burden on its own without a binding global agreement on CO2 reduction. The issue is whether Europe can remain competitive as energy prices rise while other regions reduce them, especially if the ‘green economy’ does not materialise as hoped.

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2 OBE honourees and a host of CEOs make up our current Power 100 Top Ten

#Power100Two month’s ago we started the search for the 100 most influential voices in the European power generation industry and with three month’s left to go, ten nominees have already distinguished themselves from the pack.

Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power tops the list with a considerable lead. ITM Power designs and manufactures Hydrogen Energy Systems for Energy Storage and Clean Fuel production. Second on the list is Howard Johns, Founder of Southern Solar, a solar panel installation company based in the UK.

We are delighted to see Juliet Davenport in joint third place. As a recent honouree of an OBE and the only female chief executive in the UK’s renewables industry, Juliet is a true pioneer it is likely that she will continue to garner votes in the coming months. Another OBE recipient, Dale Vince also features on the list and as the founder of the first green electricity company in the world he is another truly influential figure in the European power generation industry.

As the search is pan-European in scope, we’re happy to see the list is fairly diverse; with nominees from Italy, Finland and Belgium in the top ten alone. There is also variety in speciality of the companies on the list, from anaerobic digestion to wind power; a broad spectrum of the energy mix is represented in the list.

Undoubtedly this top ten will change many times before June 6th so please keep an eye on our blog, where we’ll be tracking all movement on the list.

To let us know your choice, please send us a tweet at @POWERGENEUROPE, using the hashtag #Power100

Kate Garratt @kate_garratt: @POWERGENEUROPE I’m voting for Frank Hyldmar of @Elster_global for the #Power100

Current Top Ten
1. Graham Cooley, CEO, ITM Power
2. Howard Johns, Founder and MD, Southern Solar
3. Juliet Davenport, CEO, Good Energy
4. Dale Vince, Founder, Ecotricity
5. CSDR Inc
6. Rick George, former CEO, Suncor Energy Inc
7. Fulvio Conti, CEO and General Manager, ENEL
8. Angie Bywater, Project Manager, Methanogen UK Ltd
9. Yrjö Norri, VP Sales, Kopar Group
10. Frank Hyldmar, CEO Electricity, Elster Group

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The European power industry needs one set of rules rather than 27

Peter Ramm Advanced Power (UK) LtdIn the latest in our series of guest blogs, Peter Ramm, COO at Advanced Power Europe and member of the POWER-GEN Europe advisory board, examines the reasons behind the lack of investor confidence in Europe’s power sector, and argues that increased investment in thermal plants, a low carbon transmission system, and greater harmonisation across member states is what’s needed to restore certainty and economic growth

In light of ENEL president Fulvio Conti’s recent comments that Europe’s power sector is currently ‘uninvestable’, I have to agree as far as new thermal assets are concerned.

The key issue is that, if you are going to put a long-term asset into construction and operation, you need to have a reasonable level of regulatory and market certainty such that making an investment is going to have a rate of return over that 30+ year lifetime. What we have today however, is a large number of policy and regulatory changes that are making the energy market uncertain.

We also need to return to demand growth, as with growth there will be a need for additional thermal or dispatchable power plants that produce power whenever this is required to meet demand. Current investments in renewables largely provide energy and are either intermittent or un-dispatched in nature. Therefore, these plants are displacing the energy provided by existing thermal plant but not their dispatchable capacity. With increasing demand the existing plant would be unable to cope, leading to the need for additional generation.

Europe’s gamble

You could argue that Europe is taking a bet on future fossil fuel costs being high as they are investing heavily in subsidised generation to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels. However, if the global price of fossil fuels goes down, Europe will have invested in, and will be paying for, expensive equipment and thereby become less competitive in a global market.

There’s also a pressing need to rebalance the transmission system. The current model is basically set for large power stations in certain locations and the transmission of power from those power stations to the demand centres of the large cities and industrial areas. With the low carbon objective however, the new power stations will be offshore wind, distributed solar or distributed thermal plants. The topology of the transmission system therefore needs to reflect that change.

While there has been some progress, as with all major projects, gaining permits to build transmission lines and associated substations takes time.

Need for joined-up approach

The reduction of carbon to the EU’s 2050 target will mean significant investments and there is a need for joined-up thinking to ensure that this is done in the most economically efficient manner. As all the costs will ultimately be passed on to the consumer and any excessive investment increases the risk that Europe becomes less competitive in a global market.

Each EU country tends to approach the electricity market in a different way and when looking at renewables subsidies as an example, renewable power plants are being built in some countries and not in others. This leads to inefficiencies as the plants are built where the subsidies are highest rather than in the most economic location. There is a need to remove these dislocations happening at national boundaries. I believe that current mechanisms are inappropriate and that subsidies should be the same irrespective of which country you are in. Investors would then be looking at constructing plants at locations where they make most economic sense.

Ultimately, there is a need to harmonise across all member states such that there is one set of rules for power systems across the continent.

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Why it’s a question of politics versus science for European power

jacob klimstraIn the second of our guest blogs examining the factors shaping the policy and investment strategy in the European power market, Dr. Jacob Klimstra, Energy and Engine Consultant and member of the POWER-GEN Europe advisory board, discusses the barriers to growth and what Europe can learn from the US.

ENEL president Fulvio Conti recently described the power sector as being ‘uninvestable’ and on the face of it, this would appear to be true. Certainly, the growth forecasts for Europe’s power industry are disappointing. On average, investment is set to grow by 0-2% per annum according to latest figures from Eurelectric (the Union of the Electricity Industry), and most of this will be focused on renewables, which are intermittent sources of power generation that require back-up. Yet there is little incentive to invest in back-up equipment.

Some people believe that an open, interconnected, and integrated European electricity market is the key to reinvigorating the sector. But while electricity and energy are the engines of the economy and they have to be as cheap as possible, I have yet to see any evidence that an open market leads to a real drop in prices. So I don’t believe that this is the right mechanism. Rather, it would be better to follow the traditional model where national energy companies are controlled by the state and are supported by long-term investment ensuring citizens have access to reliable and cheap electricity.

EU decision-making stymied

However, one of the biggest issues today is that the policy determination for the power industry is dominated by decision makers that believe everything is a matter of opinion, not scientific fact. We need more scientists and engineers involved directly with the decision-making processes.

In the US for example, it is common practice to set up committees that include representatives from users, suppliers, manufacturers, and academics. By finding the right type of experts, they find the right solution. This is what was achieved with gas quality in the US. The current wrangling over deteriorating gas quality in Europe is an example of how EU decision-making is stymied by bureaucracy and lobbying.

At the same time, it is vital that we nurture Europe’s next-generation of scientists and engineers. Globalisation dictates that multi-national firms will locate their sites where the workforce is best educated, and where labour and power costs are most competitive. We therefore need to place more focus on fuelling the engine that generates wealth for Europe – i.e. the power industry – by furnishing the next-generation workforce with the skills and technical expertise necessary for Europe to compete on a global basis.

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Keeping Europe’s Power Flowing

With plans well underway for POWER-GEN Europe 2013 and Renewable Energy World Europe 2013, conference director Nigel Blackaby has written two blogs examining some of the key themes that will drive the debate in Vienna

Keeping Europe’s power flowing is the theme of POWER-GEN Europe 2013 and Renewable Energy World Europe 2013 and it is one of the key issues facing the power generation industry this year. The demand for power has never been greater in Europe and there is a real danger of the lights going out across the continent if this need is not met. This year’s conference and exhibition will explore the challenges Europe faces and the possible solutions.

Rapid growth in renewable infrastructure is placing considerable pressure on Europe’s power system. Renewables predominately generate power intermittently, meaning their increasing prominence in the energy mix poses new challenges in respect to security of supply. System flexibility, back-up and storage are therefore pressing priorities.

In particular, intermittency of supply means backup generation is critical to ensuring consistent stability in load at all times. Power generation technology development has focused heavily on the area of flexible gas-fired solutions, with manufacturers designing gas turbines to be fast ramping in order to achieve maximum load as quickly as possible and with the capability to operate efficiently in part-load conditions.

Similarly, manufacturers of gas engines are looking to improve their efficiency. For example, power plants are now being constructed with a dozen fast-starting gas engines, which provide the plant operator with the capability to use a small number where necessary and quickly fire-up additional ones should demand increase.

There have also been significant advances in storage technologies. Hydro power pump storage in particular is gaining traction in countries such as Austria and Switzerland. Here, the electricity generated by renewables can be used to pump water from a lake at the bottom of a mountain to another lake or storage facility at the top. When needed, the water is then released back down the hill and passes through a hydro turbine in order to generate power that is fed back into the grid.

The integration of renewables into the energy mix also means a marrying of the technologies themselves, such as designs allowing the construction of hybrid power plants. With hybrid concentrating solar power (H-CSP) for example, a solar add-on is fitted in a conventional power plant to take over a part of its steam supply otherwise supplied by fossil fuel. H-CSP can make significant savings in terms of fuel consumption, cut the level of CO2 emissions, and increase both the power plant’s peak load capability and efficiency.

In my next blog I will discuss the importance of ingenuity in keeping Europe’s power flowing and how older technology can be enhanced to compliment modern innovations, but in the mean time, if you would like to attend the event and conference please visit our registration page

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