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25 October 2010

Gabriel Wondrausch, SungiftSolar's review of EFEF2010

This really was an exciting conference covering all energy related issues from electric vehicles to zero carbon cities.

There was a very good representation from many governments around the world including a video presentation from David Cameron where he confirmed the Coalition’s commitment to be the greenest government ever. In a video address, the UK Prime Minister described the Forum as ‘a practical expression of the partnership needed to make a low carbon revolution one of the defining legacies of our generation,` by urging the European Union to raise the Co2 reduction commitment from 20% to 30% by 2020. This call was echoed by the Lykke Friis, Denmark’s minister for energy and climate change who has a huge passion and energy for the subject.

Chris Huhne’s presentation made it very clear that low carbon technologies are the best way for us to mend our economy. I was waiting eagerly for confirmation and details of the RHI and FIT rates but none was given at the show. Later on however, the extremely good news came that the confirmation that the FIT’s will not be prematurely reduced and that the RHI is indeed coming!

It was very intriguing to hear that Portugal is now generating 66% of its energy from renewable sources at a cost of approximately 16% on energy bills. This to me seems like a very small price to pay for a clean reliable energy source. Portugal currently has very large debts but 50% of this is due to energy imports. Now it has the capacity to actually become an energy exporter, provided that it gets the right transmission infrastructure.

There was a lot to learn from the seminars based around the policy required from governments and the opportunities to enable the transition to a low carbon economy. It was very exciting to hear Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, passionately calling this a renewable energy revolution! This is coming from one of the largest oil producing nations. Now if that is not a clear indication that renewables are the way forward I don’t know what is. Masdar city is the first 100% zero carbon city being built just outside Abu Dhabi.

The most amusing presentation honour certainly goes to Boris Johnson who made an intriguing speech about London’s history, invention, investment and present and future plans to become a low showcase carbon city of innovation. This included the Barclay’s bike highway where he very proudly announced the theft of just three bikes since the start of the scheme.

There was a display of electric/hydrogen powered vehicles ranging from trucks to a West coast designed chopper. My personal favourite was the electric Porsche cayenne and hybrid Jaguar.... Maybe one day!

Hydrogen is much closer to being used on our roads than I imagined. They are about to start a trial with DHL and a few other companies with hydrogen hybrid vans. I was obviously very interested as the power required to make hydrogen can be harvested using our PV systems - a very appealing proposition! There was a bit of interest from the Hydrogen Company to include SunGift Solar in the trial to showcase the potential of combining PV to the hydrogen process.

Overall, the clear message from Europe’s leaders is there is a very bright future for renewable energy and the frame work that is required is a clear and steady policy to try and ensure there is not a boom and bust cycle.

I have come away with a very clear vision of where we are going and the important part SunGift Solar has to play. I am genuinely very excited about the coming years.

Gabriel Wondrausch
October 2010