The European power industry faces several critical challenges that must be addressed if it is cope with both the austere economic environment and the unprecedented change that it is undergoing. Crispin Coulson reports.
One of the most pressing is finding a viable framework for encouraging investment in the new sources of generation and supporting infrastructure needed to achieve the energy transition envisaged by Europe's energy efficiency, renewables and climate change targets.
However, market uncertainty and lack of coherence between national and European policy are blocking access to capital.
The European Union's transition to a low carbon future has placed the delicate balancing act required for affordable, clean and reliable electricity at the heart of business and political discussion - Germany's 'Energiewende' being a recent case in point.
Introducing a more climate-friendly energy policy and more renewables has to be enabled in the most cost-efficient way - namely with an appropriate price on CO2, and a single market by interconnectivity, by design, and by incentive scheme harmonisation. This will require strong political will and leaders prepared to make brave decisions around future policies and pricing.
These pressing issues provide the focus for the next POWER-GEN Europe Conference and Exhibition. Now in its 22nd year and co-located with Renewable Energy World Europe, it is the continent's largest event dedicated to power generation. It will be returning to Cologne, Germany, on 3-5th June 2014, and is expected to attract more than 12,000 visitors from more than 100 countries.
As an essential platform for industry leaders and influential players from across the fossil fuel, renewable and nuclear sectors, POWER-GEN Europe provides visitors with the opportunity to debate the issues and explore the solutions that will help drive the industry forward. The co-located shows will comprise a comprehensive exhibition floor showcasing an abundance of new products and technologies.
They also provide visitors with unique access to the major power producers, suppliers and manufacturers in the thermal and renewable energy sector, giving them the chance to explore business opportunities, meet potential partners and customers, and open doors to new commercial opportunities.
A multi-track conference created by expert insiders from the power sector under the theme 'Navigating the Power Transition' will complement the exhibitions.
Prominent figures from across the European power industry will come together to examine the major strategic and technical challenges faced - from the wisdom of current policies concerning integration of renewable, to the replacement of ageing plant and infrastructure, and the evolving business model of European utilities.
With decarbonisation and liberalisation driving a period of major and complex change, emerging successfully from this transition will be those individuals and organisations willing to embrace this evolution, develop and adopt new technologies, and implement visionary business strategies.
For more information at www.engineerlive.com/ipe