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Energy Partnership Forms in Europe To Promote Gas and Renewables

By Ideas Lab Staff November 5, 2012

A new European partnership is formed to promote the use of gas alongside renewables.

Five energy companies launched a new alliance in Brussels last week, aimed at promoting the use of gas alongside renewables as part of the European push to reach its de-carbonization and energy goals for 2050.

The founding members of the Energy Partnership are GE, Alpine Energy, Dong Energy, First Solar and Shell.

“It is the first time the industries build a common ground and seek to outline a pathway towards 2030 and 2050,” said Jan Ingwersen, vice president of Dong Energy. “Renewables and gas are a strong match, together they can deliver the reliable, low CO2 emitting and cost efficient energy Europe calls for.”

In the coming weeks the European Commission will adopt a new communication on the internal energy market. It may call on member states to finalize their plans for liberalizing the market, which is set to happen in 2014.

“The evidence is clear,” said Stephen Reimelt, CEO GE Energy Germany, “that renewables and gas offer the most affordable, reliable and sustainably pathway for an energy secure Europe.”

European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger backs the partnership. He has said the EU needs new binding goals on renewables and cutting carbon emissions to replace green policy targets that expire in 2020.

According to one report, his comments have added to a debate among EU nations and industry over whether this is too much regulation.

But with carbon prices as low as they are, Ingwersen for example, warns that there is little incentive to invest in clean energy under the current emissions trading scheme.

“The problem is our ETS mechanism,” Oettinger said. “There’s no clear price signal at the moment, and companies and member states are in difficult times. But I’m optimistic.”

Over the coming weeks it’s expected there’ll be more heated discussions, as the member states and the industry debate how to support the ETS for carbon allowance.