European Commission chief leaves no room for doubt on decarbonisation commitment

A high-ranking director of the European Commission’s climate strategy directorate left a gathering of power professionals under no illusions as to the commitment of Brussels to a global clean energy future, when he spoke at the European Power Plant Suppliers Association‘s 10th annual technology evening this week.

Mr Artur Runge-Metzger, Director of Directorate C on Climate Strategy, governance and emissions from non-trading sectors of DG Clima told the gathering that analysis of the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) committed ahead of COP21 last month spoke volumes.
EU flags
“The world means it in terms of decarbonisation and there is a high level of commitment to that.”

Runge-Metzger went on to tell the audience, many of them participant in the fossil fuel power sectors, that despite there still being potentially room for carbon capture storage and utilisation technology, clean energy investment commitments tell the story of how the world’s energy sector is likely to evolve over the coming decades.

“Until the year 2030 roughly $13 -14 trillion is to be invested in clean technologies around the world ” it clearly sends signals to the private sector for low carbon technologies that this is going to be the future if these INDCs are going to be implemented.”

“The commission sees the Paris outcome as a historic success and a real benchmark. It’s a legally binding instrument, enshrining the long term goal of staying well below 2 degrees and potentially 1.5 degrees.”

The Commission chief will shift its focus from transport decarbonisation at the start of 2016 to an all-out effort on decarbonising the energy sector in the second half of the year and the facilitating of a clear framework showing how the Commission intends to move forward.

He pointed out that the Paris Agreement is practically universal, with 186 countries submitting contributions and only 10 not having done so.

On the subject of where that leaves the thermal power sector he said a hierarchy had emerged in terms of favoured technologies in a decarbonising dynamic, with biomass on top followed by gas and coal in that order.

Carbon capture storage and utilisation continues to inhabit a purgatorial state, with a reluctance to drive investment in the technology most recently illustrated by the British government’s withdrawal, as the director noted.

“CCSU is something that is going to be an important technology for us to look at ” we were really enthusiastic about it a few years ago and tried to drive the technology forward doing demonstrations at large scale.

“Unfortunately we have become stuck and you can see that with the latest news from the UK; we don’t know exactly where it’s going to go and how fast we can move forward.”

“One thing is for sure – with meeting the 1.5 degrees scenario the little we know about that is that you need to have these negative emissions- and at the moment the one big technology is biomass and then the use of CCS. But in terms of public acceptability in society this is something that is being questioned.”

“There is a wider debate we have to have within the EU and internationally on the subject- how are we to move forward on that particular front? Is this something that is going to be a part of the technology mix ” yes or no?”

Other areas the Commission hope to provide greater clarity on later this year include the bloc’s position on export credits for clean fossil power technologies (in order to stop the proliferation of ‘inferior’ technologies, as well as funding for innovation and modernisation technologies.

No posts to display