There is no one-fit answer to the energy challenges of Europe. That was the main thrust from two keynote speakers at the opening session of POWER-GEN Europe in Cologne.
Lazslo Varro, the head of the International Energy Agency’s Gas, Coal and Power Division, said that while phase-out of nuclear and an increased focus on renewables may prove to be successful for Germany, it was not a model to be replicated worldwide.
“An individual country can replace nuclear, but it’s not possible on a global scale,” he said, adding: “If everybody else adopted Germany’s nuclear policy – if we stop investing in nuclear power globally – coal will be the winner, not renewables, because coal is the backbone for so many countries.”
However he stressed that some kind of joined-up thinking on market mechanisms was essential. He said if all 27 European Member States introduced their own capacity market, “we will have a big mess”.
Meanwhile, Michael Suess, chief executive of Siemens Energy, said: “The world is completely changing and [the energy needs] are not the same in every country.”
He stressed there is “no one model that fits all the energy challenges”, not even in Europe. He said other regions of the world are inventing energy models that work for them, highlighting the shale gas boom in the US, and added: “The German answer will not be fit for the US, and the US answer will not be fit for China.”
And he stressed that structuring an energy system that ensured Europe stayed competitive was “not an if or a when – we have to do it”. And if this happened, “our politicians will use that answer for the benefit for their societies”.
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