11 April 2006 - Governments will have to clearly define the future roles of coal and nuclear energy within the next two years if utilities are to be able to make the necessary investments, according to the author of a new report from PricewaterhouseCooper's.
Speaking yesterday about coal and nuclear at a pre-launch meeting of The Big Leap: Utilities Global Survey 2006, the author, Manfred Wiegand, said: "The plans have to start now in order to get it on-line when it really needs to be there."
According to the eighth annual global utilities survey from PricewaterhouseCooper's, the energy industry is facing its biggest challenge in modern times with the majority of the companies surveyed believing that the changes that the industry will have to go through are little short of revolutionary. Many believe the pace of change needs to be stepped up to face the challenges that lie ahead.
This sentiment is felt most strongly in Europe where utilities are dealing with conflicting challenges including supply and demand imbalances, infrastructure vulnerability and environmental concerns.
"Companies are not looking for more money from the government. They are looking for more certain framework," Wiegand said.
Eighty per cent of the 116 senior executives surveyed believe political and regulatory factors are inhibiting the ability of the sector to respond to these challenges, and shock factors such as supply or environmental crises may need to occur to force change.
In the belief that renewables will never be able to replace base load generation in Europe, and that the Emissions Trading System will not have the desired impact without India and China, Wiegand stated that nuclear power should play a significant part in the future energy mix, if climate change is to be tackled in time.
"By stepping out of nuclear we will never be able to achieve what we want to."