May 29, 2009 – At the World Business Summit, Alstom, together with Duke Energy and Vattenfall co-hosted a round table to discuss how the power generation industry, responsible for 40 percent of CO2 emissions, can be de-carbonized to tackle climate change.
Present at the round table were CEOs and presidents from Alstom Power, Duke Energy, Vattenfall, DONG Energy, TATA Power, BP, AMEC, Bruce Power, PG&E and Eskom. Also present were policy makers from the Danish Prime Minister’s office, governments from Japan and Sweden, and CEOs from leading organizations the World Bank, the Global CCS Institute, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the International Emissions Trading Association, the World Energy Council, the European Investment Bank and the International Energy Agency.
Here are a number of recommendations made by participants:
- If all current policies are successfully implemented we will still only be halfway to the target of 450 ppm (or a global temperature increase of 2° C). Urgent action is needed.
- Costs of new low-carbon technologies can only be driven down through deployment. We need to make progress with deployment of technologies.
- A clear signal from the industry is that we need confidence in the direction we are taking, as well as the stability of the regulatory framework to provide an incentive for investment.
- Political leadership is needed. Developing countries will need to find low-carbon pathways to development, but the resources required are large and need to be found quickly.
- Lenders have a role to play, but will look to governments to help offset the worst case scenario risks.
- Governments must resist the temptation of short-term policy intervention that might adversely affect the investment decisions of the industry.
- A long-term strategy must urgently be established for research and development well as for investment, a domain which requires long-term decisions from utilities.
- The regulatory model needs to change to encourage a shift in the mission of the power sector. Affordability and universal access to electricity is essential, but clean power has to trump some of these issues. CO2 emissions targets will not be reached unless we decarbonize power generation.
- Regulation benefits industry by providing a consistent approach, necessary to encourage investment and ensure the biggest possible reduction of costs.
- Areas to be regulated include efficiency standards, not just on the demand side; mandatory carbon capture and storage, as recently proposed by the UK for coal-fired power plants; smart grid standards; demand side management; and sectoral approaches based on best available technologies, which could help provide a fair and even international context.