With climate change and mitigating measures top of mind in the global news cycle recently, the conversation will likely intensify as the EU’s decarbonisation target of zero by 2050 is approaching.

“We have a common goal when it comes to tackling the climate situation and it should build very strong cooperation between operators and industry, between Europe and member states” says Olivier Grabette, vice-chief executive of French electricity transmission system operator RTE in an interview with Smart Energy International.

“We will not be able to find solutions to all of the climate issues without close cooperation”, he adds, “and as a TSO, we want to be very active in promoting temperance in energy use.

“While the EU promotes energy efficiency, it is not enough – we should be more aware of the necessity to develop energy temperance and how we can change our behaviour to reduce energy consumption, have a stronger share of renewable energy in the mix, yet also consider the impact that even renewables will have on resources.”

Grabette is part of the opening keynote discussion between utility leaders entitled, What are the main challenges in the sector?, at the upcoming three-day power and energy conference and exhibition, European Utility Week and POWERGEN Europe, taking place from 12-14 November in Paris. The event will gather the influencers, innovators and disruptors in Europe’s transitioning energy sector to highlight the strategies and technologies that will deliver their shared vision of a fully integrated European energy system on a path towards decarbonisation.

Active audience participation will be encouraged during the opening session panel discussion between Mr Grabette and other utility leaders: 

  • Chris Peeters, CEO – ELIA Group
  • Thierry Trouvé, CEO – GRTgaz
  • Philippe Monloubou, CEO – Enedis
  • Joao Torres, CEO – EDP Distribuição

The confirmed keynote speakers to date for this year’s opening session at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles are:

  • Francesco La Camera, Director-General – International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
  • Philippe Monloubou, CEO – Enedis
  • Khalil Rouhana, Deputy Director-General – DG CONNECT
  • Christian Buchel, Chairman – EDSO for Smart Grids
  • Cedrik Neike, CEO Smart Infrastructure & Member of the Managing Board – Siemens
  • Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President New Energies – Shell

Industry opportunities
For Joerg Gmeinbauer, vice president, Global Sales & Strategic Markets, Bureau Veritas and event ambassador for European Utility Week and POWERGEN Europe, the low carbon generation goal presents a huge opportunity for the energy industry.

“The energy sector has been going through huge disruptive change during the last 20 years,” says Gmeinbauer , “but by putting climate protection first, the industry has set an unprecedented example of global leadership and has shown that a whole industry can change course within less than a decade. Electrification through decarbonisation and decentralisation will remain the attention for decades to come. The biggest opportunity for the industry is to build on the cost competitiveness low carbon generation was able to build in recent years and take digitalisation from first movers to full industry-wide implementation.“ 

However, fellow event ambassador José Manuel Carvalho, director business development in Europe at EFACEC, sees the zero carbon deadline as the biggest threat to the energy industry. “The energy industry is facing a race against time due to its impact on climate change and therefore the main threat I see is the possibility of the energy industry being slow in adapting to today’s needs and requirements and that other alternative players will take over and provide solutions to the final customers.”

According to Carvalho, “everyone in the energy industry has to do its part to ensure a smooth transition to a climate friendly world.”

Paris programme
“The sector now has essentially one unified event for all levels of the energy transition says European Utility Week and POWERGEN Europe director Paddy Young. He adds: “An extensive and diverse conference programme will deep dive into the trends and future direction of each aspect of the sector – from generation to grid through to end-users – while a bustling exhibition floor offers visitors the opportunity to see the latest technologies and solutions first hand, exchange ideas and share knowledge.”

The free-to-attend Hub Sessions on the exhibition floor will mirror the themes of the Summit conference programme: Energy Revolution, Digitalisation and Energy Markets.

The POWERGEN programme is focussed around two Hub Sessions: Distributed Generation and Lifecycle Management.

Supporting the energy transition

The Initiate! Innovation Hub will give the next generation tech and developments in the start-up and young talent space a podium with its unique focus on fresh thinking and original out-of-the-box solutions.

The Energy Capital Leaders Assembly will bring together investors and asset owners from traditional utilities and major energy companies, to support the Energy Transition; not just from a geopolitical standpoint but also to enable participants to navigate the finance and investment landscape.

A dedicated programme track is also aimed at municipal and commercial & industrial (C&I) energy users who are at the sharp end of Europe’s energy transition to meet an ever-increasing need to cut emissions and boost energy efficiency.

Industry partners
Siemens is once again the diamond partner of European Utility Week and POWERGEN Europe. “If you want to meet business professionals, experts, decision makers and innovators in the smart energy arena, then European Utility Week is the spot” says Robert Sarcevic, Senior Marketing Consultant for Siemens. “This is the most comprehensive event, focusing on smart utilities and those who intend to go for agility in energy, supporting digital eco-systems, including smart technologies, new business models and much more.”

AWS is this year’s platinum partner while SAP and Kamstrup are back as gold partners.

Clarion Energy

European Utility Week and POWERGEN Europe are organised by Clarion Energy, which is part of Clarion Events, and with over 40 events that cover the oil, gas, power and energy sectors, is one of the group’s largest portfolios.