Page 52 - European Energy Innovation - autumn 2017 publication
P. 52

52  Autumn 2017 European Energy Innovation


EERA: Championing EU
transition to Low Carbon

By Adel El Gammal (pictured), Secretary General, The European Energy Research Alliance (EERA)

AN “INCONVENIENT REMINDER”                A recent analysis by Carbon Action          Hinkley Point C, UK).
Except for those still believing in       Tracker indicates that under full
soothing political statements still       execution of the Paris Accord pledges,      Nor that 75 GW of PV capacity could be
hanging on to a 1,5°C warming target,     the world is likely to be on a 2,8°C        built, installed and commissioned in a
it will be little surprise that humanity  warming trajectory, while under current     single year, representing about twice
must get ready to accept the unknown      policies, warming is expected to reach      the historical installed capacity of a
consequences of temperatures rising       no less than 3,6°C.                         country such as Poland.
well above 2°C by the end of the
century.                                  In the race to fight climate change,        INCREASED RESEARCH AND
                                          decarbonizing the energy sector             INNOVATION IS CRUCIAL
Record concentration of carbon dioxide    stands out as a key priority. But despite   Quoting Pascal Lamy (Report of the
of 410 ppm (from the pre-industrial       some remarkable achievements, the           Independent High Level Group on
peak of 280 ppm in 1958) have been        speed of transition to low carbon, in       maximizing the impact of EU Research
recorded in May 2017, hinting that the    Europe and globally, fails to reflect       & Innovation), “Investing in Research
450 ppm threshold needed for keeping      the climate urgency and needs to be         & Innovation is increasingly crucial for
warming below 2°C (with only a 50%        accelerated.                                shaping a better Europe future in a
probability) will irremediably soon be                                                rapidly globalizing world where success
overshot.                                 COMPETITIVE TECHNOLOGY                      depends even more on production
                                          READILY AVAILABLE                           and conversion of knowledge and
                                          Under the combined effect of a deep         innovation”.
                                          economic crisis and a rapidly changing
                                          regulatory environment, the last decade     Indeed, the fabulous progress achieved
                                          has been in Europe the theatre of an        in low carbon technologies in the
                                          intense turmoil in the energy sector.       recent years is largely attributable to
                                          And the unprecedented lobbying              the early promotion of renewables in
                                          activity that followed, resulting from      Europe and to the research impetus it
                                          the size of vested interests at stake, led  has created within the union, that led
                                          to a blurred perception of the actual       to major advances in most low carbon
                                          technological state of play.                technologies.

                                          While still in an early deployment          Focusing on PV, despite mass
                                          phase a decade ago, many low carbon         production now primarily taking
                                          technologies have in fact delivered far     place in Asia, EU still captures most
                                          beyond expectations, and constitute         of its added value. And thanks to
                                          today highly competitive power              sustained research efforts, it still holds
                                          generation technologies.                    scientific and technological leadership
                                                                                      on advanced PV technologies and
                                          For instance, nobody would ever             concepts.
                                          have thought a couple of years ago
                                          that – under a pure cost perspective        In addition, due to the high penetration
                                          – PV could now deliver electricity in       of PV in some EU member states,
                                          Germany at a cost close to half the         Europe is now also developing unique
                                          strike price of New Nuclear power (ref.     capabilities in addressing the complex

   47   48   49   50   51   52   53   54   55   56   57