Long-term policy framework most important ingredient to clean energy future

16 December 2009

Consumer demand for green energy may be running ahead of demand by their governments. The real issue for achieving a de-carbonized power sector is the need for a consistent, long-term policy framework from governments. These were the two major conclusions by representatives from sub-national governments who convened with CEOs of major power companies and renewable energy developers from the US, Europe, Canada and India for The Climate Group roundtable discussion in Copenhagen yesterday.

On a micro level, a range of practical solutions emerged to address a range of challenges along the low-carbon pathway, from boosting clean power amid a lack of a carbon road map to making solar power competitive with traditional resources.

Ricardo Cordoba, President of GE Energy for Western Europe and North Africa, suggested multiple solutions are required and removing customs duties and protecting IP for renewable and alternative energy.

Tulsi Tanti, CEO of India wind developer Suzlon, said the key lesson for a young company such as his wind company was full vertical integration, including professional development, using a strong European technology base with a strong Asian cost base.  

Jerry Stokes, Vice President for Business Development for Suntech, said a joined up legislative process was needed to enable households to install solar panels easily.

Peter Hoeppe, Head of Geo Risks Research at Munich Re, said his company was ready to be a major investor in projects itself but also has custom-made cover for new technologies, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) and renewable energy.

Nick Horler, CEO of Scottish Power, which is developing a CCS capture unit, underlined the need for skills and expertise and tie-ups with academia; as well as an open and clear dialogue with the consumer to propel forward CCS efforts.

Tom Casey, CEO of Current Group, highlighted the importance of regulation to further energy conservation by electric utilities, and to integrate renewable sources into the grid, while David Hsieh of Cisco said companies need government incentives to help with cost recovery for smart grid acceleration.

Bill Tyndall, Senior Vice President for Federal Policy at Duke Energy pointed out there is a growing gap between technologies that need a push to build the first commercial facility and the money to finance them, suggesting a need for government intervention.

The roundtable was chaired by Premier Greg Selinger of Manitoba and representatives included Minister John Gerretsen of Ontario, Minister Francesc Baltasar I Albesa of Catalonia, Minister Alfredo Bone Pueyo of Aragon, Minister Stewart Stevenson of Scotland, Minister Dr. Markus Soder of Bavaria, Minister Erik van Heijningen of South Holland, Minister Rudolf Anschober of Upper Austria and Minister Pilar Unzalu of Basque Country.

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