Peter Kiss, conference host and KPMG`s Head of the Power & Utilities Practice, EMEA, said: “Following on from our inaugural event in Paris, in 2011, the conference was again a big success with some 260 delegates in attendance from 40 countries. The active engagement of all of the delegates and depth of the panel discussions sets a new benchmark for the conferences to come.”
Delegates heard keynote addresses from some of the industry’s most respected leaders:
- Nobuo Tanaka, Former Executive Director, International Energy Agency
- Jeremy Rifkin, President, Foundation on Economic Trends
- Dr. Günther Rabensteiner, Member of the Executive Board, VERBUND
- Denis Fedorov, Chief Executive Officer, Gazprom EnergoHolding
- Dr. Matti Supponen, Policy Coordinator, DG of Energy, European Commission
In his address, Nobuo Tanaka advocated countries in Asia to adopt policies that promote the development of regional power grids and natural gas transportation infrastructure to foster energy security in the region.
In discussing the role of renewable energy not only to supply power to the grid but as an alternative to carbon fuels, Mr. Tanaka quoted Winston Churchill stating: “Safety and certainty in oil lie in variety and variety alone.” He continued by saying: In energy security for the 21st century there will need to be a notion of “collective energy security”, innovation in power supplies, developed gas resources, and infrastructure and the introduction of new technologies.
On the second day of the conference, the discussion was reinvigorated with the words of Jeremy Rifkin, who argued that the “entire industrial infrastructure built off of fossil fuels is aging and in disrepair.”
In his keynote, Mr. Rifkin shared his vision of how new communications technology is converging with new energy systems to bring about a paradigm shift. To this end he outlined the five pillars of his Third Industrial Revolution:
- Shifting to renewable energy;
- Building a network of micro-power plants to collect this energy;
- Using hydrogen and other technologies to store intermittent energies;
- Using the internet model in the power grid (where small producers together amount to significant contributions to the power grid); and
- Moving to an electric and fuel-cell driven transport fleet.
In addition to keynote addresses the conference featured seven peer-to-peer roundtable discussions featuring c-level executives from leading power producers, developers investors, regulators, institutions, suppliers from around the globe including E.ON, RWE, AREVA, Vattenfall, Iberdrola, Eni, EDP, Rosatom, Statkraft, CEZ, Nord Stream, Wintershall, Bruce Energy, Toronto Hydro, ENTSO-E, etc.
The panel and breakout sessions, guided by the experienced hands of KPMG’s leading partners, covered topics from global M&A trends in the renewable sector, natural gas sourcing strategies for power generation, regulatory risk management strategies, unlocking operational value in utilities, the challenges of financing nuclear new build, innovative customer value propositions, and energy market regimes for sustainable power generation.
The conference was forward looking and panelists and delegates talked equally about the need for government to take a leadership role in building and upgrading the required infrastructure around the world, but particularly in Europe. Walter Boltz, Chairman of E-Control, said: “In continental Europe, meanwhile, we have enough generating capacity. The solution is to build new lines, not more capacity.”
Perhaps Mr. Rifkin’s summary applies to that of the conference as a whole: “We have the science, the technology, and the game plan to make it happen. Now it is a question of whether we will recognize the economic possibilities that lie ahead and muster the will to get there in time.”