VGB study reveals: Until 2020 power plant capacities of 475,000 MW have to be erected
1,200 experts from 29 countries participating in technical congress in Lyon - Climate protection and supply security require massive investment programme
Until 2020 the EU member states need new power plant capacities amounting to 475,000 megawatts (MW), this corresponds to nearly two thirds of the current European (EU-27) generation capacity of 750,000 MW. VGB, together with the German Association of Machine and Plant Engineering (VDMA Power Systems) and the Federal German Association for Energy and Water Economy (BDEW) have ascertained these figures. In comparison to last year’s assumptions, the demand in new capacities increased by another 75,000 MW. This is mainly due because for the first time aging of renewable generation capacity has also been taken into account, and it was detected that especially wind power needs new capacities amounting to 40,000 MW by 2020. The new capacities are required although the growth rates in electricity consumption will be less until 2020 than expected one year ago. Shortly before the economic crisis electricity demand was forecasted to amount to 4,000 terawatt hours (today 3,350 TWh) by 2020. The current “Scenario for European Electricity Generation” only expects 3,700 TWh.
This scenario is one of the central topics being discussed by more than 1,200 experts from 29 countries at the VGB Congress “Power Plants 2009” in Lyon/France. The technical and economic aspects closely related with this scenario are also on the agenda as well as the question how to secure urgently required political and public acceptance. “Our scenario is based on very optimistic assumptions which underline that our association has set itself ambitious tasks to contribute to the renewal of the European power plants and consequently to achieving the EU climate targets”, declared Professor Gerd Jäger, Chairman of VGB PowerTech. “However, it is also clear that if only a few of these positive developments will not materialise, the EU reduction target minus 21 % CO2 until 2020 will be seriously jeopardised. Our optimistic assumptions involve realisation of the extension programme for renewable sources of energy, the erection of new power plant units and less increasing electricity demand as well as consequent replacement of out-of-date plants by state-the-art coal- and gas-fired power plants.”
Present and future demonstrate that there is no contradiction between renewables, nuclear power and fossil-fired power plants. “Quite the contrary is true: All sorts of generation complement each other in a sensible and sound way, and only together with all sources of energy we can achieve the ambitious targets”, commented the VGB Chairman. The scenario outlines the new construction capacities for the individual sources of energy that are necessary to meet the climate reduction targets for EU-27 until 2020. Renewables require additional new capacities of 295,000 MW. The projecting of a total of ten new nuclear units, which has been started in several European countries, has to be continued and implemented without early shutting down any other nuclear units in Europe. State-of-the-art power plants with maximum efficiency and a total capacity of 170,000 MW are required in the fossil range.This corresponds to about 200 large hard coal-, lignite- or gas-fired power plants.
The European-wide renewal of generation capacities calls for investments that go beyond the trillion Euro limit. Mobilisation of the necessary financial means is being much more difficult due to the financial and economic crisis. This is confirmed by the fact that some conventional and renewable projects have already been delayed or even cancelled.
The scenario demonstrates that all current European power plant projects reported to VGB will have to be realised if CO2 reduction targets are not to fail. “Every single project delay or even cancellation, regardless whether in the area of renewable, fossil fuels or nuclear energy, is a problem for climate protection,“ warns the VGB Chairman. “Our calculations do not contain any buffers for the climate,” says Gerd Jäger. “Such ´climate reserves´, however, are provided by German nuclear power plants. If we prolong the operating periods of nuclear plants, we can increase our chances of meeting the EU climate targets. It would be irresponsible if this potential would be gambled away easily.”
When realising new power plants, utilities in a lot of European countries are increasingly meeting with acceptance problems – independent of the source of energy to be applied. Therefore, the VGB Chairman warns: “Those who suggest to the public that climate protection can only be achieved with renewables and saving energy and that any resistance against power plants is necessary and legitimate, are highly responsible if the necessary CO2 reduction efforts will fail!” The VGB Chairman regards it an obligation of utilities to clearly, frankly and transparently communicate the imperative and chances of power plant renewal. Jäger says: “We have good and powerful arguments: Electricity supply is the backbone of every industrial nation. Hundreds of thousands of highly qualified jobs in the industry and directly with the utilities, mainly with servicing and supply companies, depend on the construction of new and the operation of existing power plants. And finally: Latest technology not only improves the CO2 balance but also helps to safe valuable resources.“ The electricity industry alone is not able to inform the public – political support is required. Jäger underlines: “The future of European electricity generation remains exciting. We have to set the course right now in order to meet the ambitious targets of climate protection, supply security, economic efficiency and public acceptance. We want and we will actively interfere into this process!”
VGB PowerTech e.V. is the European technical association for electricity and heat generation with main office in Essen, Germany. 462 member companies from 33 countries represent an installed power plant capacity of 520,000 MW, 461,000 MW of which are located in Europe.
From 23rd to 25th September 2009 VGB PowerTech invites to its Congress “Power Plants 2009” themed “Addressing Climate Change – Winning Public Acceptance through Advanced Technologies”. It is taking place at the Cité - Centre de Congrès Lyon/France. With more than 1,200 participants from politics, authorities, companies and science the VGB Congress is among the most important European events of the electricity industry.