Energy storage will become the most important issue facing the European power sector in the next two decades according to industry professionals polled for a new survey.
And the study also shows that electric vehicles and their related infrastructure and smart cities are the two topics that most climb the list of priority issues in the next 20 years.
However in the list of the 19 most important topics, carbon capture and storage comes in at only number 17 as a current priority, and rises just one place when those polled were asked to consider how its importance would change in the next 20 years.
Solar CSP ranks at number 18 for the next five years and rises to 16 when the timeframe is expanded to 20 years, while wave and tidal technology flatlines at the bottom of the list in both short- and long-term projections.
The poll was undertaken to form the first POWER-GEN Europe Confidence Index, which is intended to act as a barometer of the power industry and the topics its major players see as shaping the future European energy landscape.
More than 700 of the region’s power professionals were asked to choose the issues they felt were most important to the development of the industry in the next five years and then over 20 years.
The issue that topped the list of 19 topics in the short-term was – unsurprisingly – the growing share of renewables in the energy mix, and this issue slipped to just number two as the forecast expanded to 20 years, being overtaken by energy storage – a reassuring finding given that storage will be the linchpin of renewables integration.
Four issues held steady in the same league position over the whole 20 year period: offshore wind at number four; the transition from centralised to decentralised energy systems at number five; combating cybersecurity threats at number eight; and as mentioned before, wave and tidal at number 19.
Lawrence Slade, chief executive of British trade group EnergyUK said: “Energy professionals right across Europe face very similar challenges and it is their opinions about the changes taking place that are analysed in this report.
“Such a barometer of sentiment in the industry is a valuable yardstick for those involved in the sector and for observers, keen to understand the direction and speed of change taking place.”
Nigel Blackaby, conference director at POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe, added: “We are hugely excited to launch the POWER-GEN Confidence Index, which will allow the industry to gauge the thoughts and attitudes of professionals across the continent. This is the first time that anything like this has been carried out, and we expect it to be extremely valuable, especially during this period of unprecedented change.”
The study will be carried out again next year, ahead of and during POWER-GEN Europe and Renewable Energy World Europe 2016 in Milan, Italy, from 21-23 June, at which time the 2015 results will serve as a benchmark.
The full report is free to download and is accessible to all through the POWER-GEN Europe website.