Tag Archives: renewable energy

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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POWER-GEN Europe Day 1: Innovation drives a new era for European Power Generation

The POWER-GEN Europe Conference and Exhibition, Nuclear Power Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe opened in spectacular fashion today with keynote sessions from leading figures in the power industry. All three speakers were united in their belief that power generation is undergoing a period of unparalleled change, driven by innovation and energy policies.

Conference Director, Nigel Blackaby, welcomed delegates and opened the conference with a speech on the current position of Europe’s energy supply and on the energy market becoming increasingly converged for suppliers and consumers, as the need for flexible power generation grows.

Gianfilippo Mancini, Director of the Generation and Energy Management Division and Market Division at Enel, Italy explained that a new era has dawned across the European energy market and a deep transformation is underway. Renewable energy technologies such as smart grids have proven to significantly increase energy efficiency and companies on a global scale are beginning to invest heavily in their development.

During the keynote session Paul Browning, CEO of Thermal Products at GE Power & Water addressed the serious challenges of energy scarcity and discussed some of the actions being taken to create a more balanced global energy supply. Browning also touched on European energy policies and added that whilst the EU’s 202020 targets should be commended, the industry’s sights now need to be set even further.

Giuseppe Zampini, CEO, Ansaldo Energia closed the keynote session with his views and predictions for the energy sector, focussing on the future of the nuclear power industry.  This was discussed in the context of the recent events at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan and the impact these have had on the wider industry.

This year’s event has seen a record number of exhibitors, topping 600 for the first time. Advanced visitor registrations have also superseded those of last year with attendance from utilities rising especially fast.

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Not going to this year’s POWER-GEN Europe 2011? – watch the live webcast instead

This year’s POWER-GEN Europe is going to be hosting a number of discussions on issues around the European energy industry. In one of the joint plenary panel discussions, attendees are going to be able to hear firsthand what some of the biggest players in the European energy sector think about the industry’s ability to meet energy and climate goals.  In this discussion, leading figures from energy companies across Europe will discuss how nuclear and renewable power can help Europe meet carbon targets, as well as discuss the changes that will need to be made to the energy grid to make this a reality.

So that as many people as possible can hear what the European energy industry is talking about, and to ensure that those who can’t attend the show don’t miss out, PennWell will be running a live webcast of the discussion.  The webcast will take place at 14:00 CET on Wednesday 8 June, and for more information please visit the POWER-GEN Worldwide site. You can also register your interest so that you don’t miss out on the webcast.

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The energy industry takes a more strategic approach to renewables

There can be no denying the growing impact of renewables on Europe’s energy landscape. Since January 2009, wind power alone has generated more than 300 TWh of electricity throughout the region.

Renewable energies such as hydro, wind, solar and biomass have found themselves at the forefront of the European energy industry over recent years on the back of a policy agenda focused on climate change, security of energy supply and improving regional employment prospects. Consider, for example, the binding EU-wide target to source 20% of Europe’s energy needs from renewables by 2020 and the role this has, and will continue to have, on its development.

The task of convincing decision-makers of the potential of renewable technologies has been largely achieved, but challenges remain nonetheless. Having proven their potential as a commercially viable prospect, we are now beginning to witness the energy industry take a more strategic approach to renewables and the ways in which it can be integrated into Europe’s energy framework – from R&D through to investment and implementation.

Drawing on the expertise of prominent stakeholders in the industry who will be presenting at the forthcoming Renewable Energy World Europe event, conference director David Appleyard, presents a programme which addresses the changes that have taken place in the industry as the sector has transformed itself from niche interest to a major player in the global energy arena.

With good business sense the key requirement for executing a plausible renewable energy agenda, issues under discussion include policy, development, technology and operations and maintenance, alongside the hot button issue of how to integrate renewable electricity into the grid. Renewable energy finances will also be considered, revealing how commercial interests, too, can reap the benefits of the new energy landscape.

Renewable Energy World Europe 2011, Europe’s leading renewable energy conference and exhibition will be held in Milan from 7-9th June.

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Industry divided over EU initiatives to meet targets on renewable energy

A poll recently conducted by Renewable Energy World Europe shows that the industry remains divided as to whether the EU can achieve its 20-20-20 targets and generate 20% of its total energy from renewables by 2020. Drawn from some of the world’s largest utility and energy firms, 44% of the experts surveyed believe the EU will fail to meet its targets, while controversially, a further 44% of respondents say that it is too early to tell.

The survey confirmed that continued technical innovation is viewed as the most important factor in the development of renewables in Europe, with over 60% of participants highlighting its importance. Emerging technologies like wave and tidal energy systems have the capacity to rival wind power as a key source for renewable energy, the respondents conclude. For example, the UK’s Carbon Trust estimates that the country could achieve 15% of its electricity needs by harnessing wave power alone. Not surprising then that 56% of participants agreed that wave power will play a significant role in the future of European renewables. However, those surveyed suggest that there could be a fly in the ointment, due to reluctance amongst governments to invest in developing wave power commercially, considering it to be a ‘high risk’ technology.

David Appleyard, conference director for Renewable Energy World Europe, commented: ‘The survey underlines the importance of innovation, yet many of the EU member countries are struggling to meet their targets due to their lack of investment in renewables. There needs to be a greater commitment to the development and installation of renewables across Europe, and with more investment, the EU could smash its 2020 targets.’

The results of the survey were announced ahead of Renewable Energy World Europe 2011, which is being held at Fiera Milano City in Milan, from 7-9 June. Visitors to the event will also be able to access to Europe’s leading energy exhibitions, POWER-GEN Europe 2011, and Nuclear Power Europe 2011, which are co-located with Renewable Energy World Europe. In addition, all three events will be complemented by a comprehensive conference programme, providing participants with a deeper understanding of a wide range of industry issues.

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