Flat levels of electricity demand across Europe are not expected to pick up until later into this decade, according to Stefan Ulreich, of E.ON’s Political Affairs and Corporate Communications Team for Energy Policy. The market conditions have meant that E.ON is looking for business opportunities outside Europe, he told a meeting of members and guests from the European Power Plant Suppliers Association in Brussels yesterday.
In December E.ON announced it would be raising Euro15bn over three years to pay off debt and fund an expansionary drive outside Europe. The company said it was looking to increase its profile as an international energy specialist. E.ON currently has assets in Russia and North America in addition to those around Europe.
Ulriech pointed to a strengthening market in renewable energy projects in Europe due to the support mechanisms available in member states but warned that the impact of the fast expansion of this type of generation was starting to show with examples of negative pricing and intermittency issues.
“Developers face new challenges such as the higher capital expenditure required for renewable energy projects set against lower exposure fluctuating operational expenditure through fuel costs. It will also be necessary to manage the uncertainty brought about by regulatory risk, commercialize new technologies and find ways to integrate intermittent generation into the grid system,” said Ulriech.
Addressing the challenge of introducing Carbon, Capture & Storage (CCS) technology in Europe Ulriech said, “It is the case that Germany is showing a lot of public resistance to CCS but I do not believe tougher legislation to force this through is the answer.”
“CCS is a business opportunity for the supplier market because climate change cannot be addressed without CCS, especially in countries like India and China, heavily dependent on coal for power generation.”