POWER-GEN Confidence Index Suggests That The Industry Isn’t Ready For Essential Energy Storage

Electricity by Philippe Put via flickr

A recent European power industry professionals survey has recently highlighted a sector keenly aware of the significance of energy storage and other emerging technologies, but may not be prepared for the future disruption that they may bring.

The second annual POWER-GEN Europe Confidence Index report, launched today, measures the attitudes of power industry practitioners in the region. The report is produced in conjunction with POWER-GEN Europe and its co-located event Renewable Energy World Europe, the leading conference and exhibition for the international power and renewable industries.

The POWER-GEN Europe Confidence Index is the result of a pan-European study of more than 800 of the region’s power market professionals. It focuses on topics including: renewable integration, energy storage, electric vehicles and all the main types of power generation.

The key findings include:

• Despite sluggish growth expected for the European economy, 60% of respondents predict that demand for electricity will continue to increase – by around 3%
• Investment in research and development (R&D) is expected to continue, provided the economy does not shrink by more than 1-2%
• However, jobs are felt to be at risk, and respondents think the economy would have to grow by as much as 3% before new roles are created
• Germany’s status as the European energy powerhouse is confirmed, both on current scenarios and looking forwards
• 47% of respondents think the UK will be a strong power equipment and services market, with 33% expecting a surge in renewable project investment
• Poland’s importance to the conventional power market is confirmed and Turkey’s rise for all forms of generation is recognised
• 38% see energy storage as ‘vital’ over the next 10 years, but only 26% were ‘very confident’ that the industry is ready and able to implement this technology
• Cybersecurity is high on the agenda and expected to be a dominant industry theme for the next two decades
• 10 and 20-year forecasts see smart cities and electric vehicles rise significantly in importance too
• Wind power stands out as the source for the future according to respondents – offshore wind scores highly on 10 and 20-year scenarios while onshore climbs even higher over the 20-year period
• Wave, tidal and carbon capture, and storage are still viewed as low impact in the short-term with less than 10% of respondents seeing them as important within 10 years. However, their long-term potential is recognised – more than 20% thought they would be important within 20 years

The index was revamped this year to improve sensitivity and to better focus on future trends. This means that not all data is directly comparable to the first edition in 2015, however several clear differences and valuable comparisons do emerge:

• This year, the industry feels that jobs are at risk, whereas last year, the prevailing mood was that they would increase
• Ranking different technologies’ importance to the sector in 20 years’ time, energy storage and plant modernisation remain resolutely at the top of the list whilst certain technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, wave and tidal still languish near the bottom…
• …however, cybersecurity threats, closer integration of heat and electricity and solar CSP do all appear to have gained ground
• Big data has moved from a long-term issue, to an agenda item for now and the near-future

The full report is free to download and is accessible to all through the POWER-GEN Europe website.

The industry will be surveyed again next year, ahead of and during POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe 2017 in Cologne, Germany from 20th – 22nd June.

Nigel Blackaby, Conference Director of POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe, said: “The POWER-GEN Europe Confidence Index is the perfect barometer for industry professionals looking for tangible intelligence on the industry’s direction. As many would expect, energy storage and renewables remain top of the agenda, but the rise of topics such as cyber security and big data gives valuable insights on our direction of travel.”