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E Naylor

18 Oct 2010 03:10:12

Europe's green promise backfires



Europe’s major decision makers made their bed and now they’re going to have to lie in it. It is however, we, the investor and tax payer, who are going to have to foot the bill.

It seems that European utility shares are set to go into free-fall in comparison to competitors in Asia and the US due to the hugely ambitious (some would say massively naïve) CO2 cuts promised by Europe’s big wigs at last year’s Copenhagen Climate Summit. In comparison the Asian and USA diplomats set targets that were realistic - but not newsworthy. After all, you don’t want to fall in the trap of over promising and under delivering, which is exactly what the Europeans have done. It’s like buying a car without looking under the hood to check there’s an engine present.

To honor the CO2 cuts promised at the Copenhagen Summit, already financially strapped European governments will have to co-invest with private utility companies $1500 billion, which in turn will spark a mini gold rush as contractors and third party companies from overseas fight to be awarded contracts.

Did these decision makers actually investigate whether or not these targets where achievable?

Did they go on vacation on a solar powered boat to the Caribbean during the worst economic crisis in 100 years?

To begin the repair job or at least endeavor to try and meet these targets, industry heads came together last week in Vienna at the Next Generation Utilities Summit after a widely publicized announcement from Verizon on how they planned to work alongside utilities companies to implement the smart grid.

Rilck Noel, vice president (VP) and managing director (MD) of Verizon Business spoke out on how a communications expert would be able to aid utility companies in meeting their targets and their recent joining with SmartSynch.

"As the power industry employs more Internet protocol (IP)-based controls and machine-to-machine communications to monitor and control power generation, transmission and distribution, we can apply our communications expertise to help accelerate the adoption of smart grids."

This allows utility companies to deploy smart grid technologies without having to build dedicated communications networks for data transfer.

Kieran Berkley, Summit Director of the Next Generation Utilities Summit confirmed the progress and the positives to come from the recently held summit.

“For me this Summit was put together to answer the questions never asked at last year’s mostly unsuccessful Climate Conference. The attendees discussed, deliberated and have made substantial progress in solving the problems put forward and going some way to making sure they hit Europe’s Co2 reduction target by 2020 and more importantly putting procedures into place so they can carry on reducing the Co2 emissions for the foreseeable future.“

These are the first steps on the long road to improvement for the European governments and utility companies. Many more cost saving initiatives will be needed to kickstart investment into our inefficient energy infrastructure.

Let’s just hope that these realistic industry heads meet more often to brainstorm and the unrealistic idealists stick to dreaming of chocolate teapots and paper umbrellas.


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