German multinational Siemens has said that despite its strong interest in clean energy infrastructure, it remains committed to long-term investment in fossil fuels such as coal, which it claims will still be needed in the future.
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Speaking shortly after the UN climate summit and the NYC Climate Week, where governments and business leaders met to renew their promises on tackling climate change and promote green growth, Roland Busch, chief executive of the infrastructure group at Siemens said he could not imagine a future free from fossil fuels.
Busch said, “You can run Germany on renewable energy on a sunny day when the wind is blowing, but you will still need coal [on other days]. A lot of countries are still burning coal.
“Regardless of how much you push [renewable energy] in the next years you will still have a certain share of energy coming from fossil fuels. We are trying to make that more efficient, more low-carbon, with our technologies.
“In the next ten to 20 years I can’t imagine running any economies without fossil fuel. Beyond 20 years, it’s very hard to say,” he added.
Siemens reaps 40% of its total revenue from green solutions. It has been investing massively in wind power and this year announced a huge £310 million investment in an offshore wind facility in Hull.
It is also one of the organisers of the C40 green awards for cities, which recently saw London rewarded for its low-carbon efforts.
But the company also invests in technologies to make fossil fuels less intensive, such as carbon capture and storage technology. In May, it bought Rolls Royce’s energy gas turbine and compressor business to strengthen its role in the oil and gas sector.
While they are considered harmful to the planet because of emissions of greenhouse gases, fossil fuels have also come under scrutiny because of the financial risks they pose to investors in the long-term, when effective climate policies will come into force.