Patrick Clerens, Secretary General of the European Association for Storage of Energy, wrote an opinion piece recently which mentioned the fact that there appears to be a lack of consensus around what the European new energy future looks like.
Clerens says: "In Europe, the prevailing view is that a new energy future would involve more renewable generation with all the CO2 reductions such technologies entail. However there are diverging views even here. You only need to look at the national energy mixes of Poland, and France – the former is reliant on coal and the latter dependant on its nuclear fleet – to see that national interests will also play a role in forming opinion and expectations around the precise shape of energy things to come.”
While broadly, the European Union has defined targets to be achieved, Clemens believes that once the targets have been defined, "crucially this brings the industry something even more important than consensus around technologies – it brings planning security."
It also presents an interesting dilemma for an industry that has, by necessity, been tightly defined, where process, procedure and planning are important to assure reliability. Not knowing what the energy future looks like makes it hard to adapt and plan. But it allows for innovation, thinking out of the box and giant leaps in technology.
To my mind, Clerens’ most important point is this: "Even in a situation of divergent viewpoints on which technology or application will see us into the brave new energy world, as long as we know what our targets are, be it CO2 reduction, for example, or the proportion of renewables in the overall energy mix, if the targets are known, you can plan accordingly.
"It’s actually a case of the ends not just justifying the means, but defining them."
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