Should governments protect the future of utility companies?
Utilities face dramatic upheaval as change sweeps across the European power industry and the integration of renewables gains pace. Members of POWER-GEN Europe’s Advisory Board address some of the key questions ahead of POWER-GEN Europe 2014, being held in Cologne on June 3-5
Energy Digital will be publishing top energy executives’ answers to imperative questions throughout the week. The Roundtable participants are: Philippe Paelinck, VP portfolio and strategic positioning, Alstom; Risto Paldanius, director, business development, Wärtsilä; Dr. Franco Rosatelli, CTO, Ansaldo Energia; Dr. Tamer Turna, CEO, Yildirim Energy Holding Inc.
What role should governments play (and to what extent?) in protecting the future of the utility companies?
Philippe Paelinck: Governments can help by providing long-term and stable regulation that creates an even playing field for all decarbonised power generation solutions. Regulation must be based on the true cost of dependable electricity supply. They should also provide visibility on renewable penetration goals, the efficiency improvement and carbon reduction objectives. Furthermore, politicians must look to redress the EU ETS market, which is currently failing to provide a meaningful CO2 price.
Risto Paldanius: To drive environmentally-friendly electricity production, different governmental level mechanisms have been created across the EU. These have directed production and consumers towards more CO2 neutral production and consumption. But at the same time, one could see these as an intervention to liberalised electricity markets.Ideally, all generation technologies should be able to compete based on their own merits, but of course, any technology can be successful if the right support mechanisms are applied. Governments should create a market based framework to incentivse the investments needed to deal with the challenges introduced to the system by the massive increase in renewable energy sources (as a result of government policy).
Tamer Turna: Thanks to democracy, public opinion has the ability to change energy policies in intervals of three to five years, whereas pay back periods for investments in energy plant and infrastructure are five to 15 years – and sometimes even longer. Regulatory uncertainty harms the investment climate. Thus, only technically efficient solutions, and Utilities with long-term financial viability potential, should be protected.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.