Rhein on Energy and Climate

The European Commission has given green light to making available € 1 billion for funding six “clean” power stations trying different technologies for capturing and underground storing of C02 emissions (CCS) across Europe.

It is to be hoped that the European Parliament will rapidly approve the funding proposal despite objections from green NG0s.

In order be able to substantially reduce C02 emissions in the shortest time, humanity has no choice but to test and develop different technologies from nuclear to CCS, wind, solar thermal, PV, biomass and, of course, hydro. None of these technologies is perfect. They all carry risks, suffer from short-comings and are at different stages of maturity. In the end, the market will decide on which technologies will prevail.

Read also: Climate Change Lecture Series: An Assessment of Alternative Technologies

In addition, different parts of the earth have to rely on different technology mixes depending on topography, climate conditions and the availability of energy resources.

For the EU, CCS is likely to play only a marginal role, as most EU countries have phased out coal production. But countries like China, India, Australia, USA, Russia, and South-Africa possessing huge coal reserves will not renounce their use because “green activists” in the EU may have a preference for wind or solar energy!

Europe has a century-old experience with coal-fired power plants. It is therefore absolutely appropriate to use that know-how for developing the most efficient and safest means for capturing and storing carbon emissions and selling the technology to utilities across the world.

It is high time to realise that the fight against climate change will also offer huge opportunities for business and employment. Europe has to work to hard to obtain a share of that business. In CCS the USA has taken an advance. In PV technology, China has overtaken Europe as the biggest manufacturer and exporter. In wind technology, Europe is struggling to maintain its advance against rising competition from American and Chinese competition.

The EU should boost its financial support to competing technologies for alternative energies.

Brussels 17.10.09 Eberhard Rhein

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