TPA industry event “Energy Tomorrow” on future trends in the energy industry
The consulting firm TPA, supported by commercial law firm Schönherr, invited to the innovative industry event “Energy Tomorrow” for the seventh time. Energy revolution – now or never? Under this motto, on 16 April, renowned experts talked about the latest developments in energy efficiency and the feasibility of new energy models.
7. Energy Tomorrow event
TPA, the international tax advisory and auditing company, organises this forward-looking energy event every year. Their cooperation partner was again Schönherr, leading commercial law firm. On 16 April 2018, more than 130 participants took up the invitation to the Ares Tower in Vienna – and were given a glimpse of the future of the energy supply and restructuring in Europe.
Karin Fuhrmann, partner at TPA, presented the event, and enthusiastically introduced the exciting series of presentations which was opened by Michael Losch, Head of Department and Director of the Energy and Mining Section at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism, and covered many of the facets concerning energy revolution.
Ingo Stadler: Motivators for the revolution
Prof. Ingo Stadler lectures and researches renewable energy systems at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences. The recipe for a successful revolution from the energy expert’s perspective: innovative solutions in the storage of energy – which are already on the market – and the linking of the sectors for electricity, heat, gas and mobility. Prof. Stadler is convinced that linking the heat and transport sector to the power supply will also result in solutions to the problem of fluctuating power generation from solar and wind energy.
What, in the expert’s view, are the most important motivators – apart from the fight against global warming – for a speedy energy revolution? Firstly, more energy self-sufficiency and less energy import costs: Austria currently imports almost all the oil and natural gas it needs from abroad and it imports electricity to an increasing extent. However, energy revolution will also create a lot of jobs: in Austria there are already just under 40,000 jobs in the renewable energy industry. But Prof. Ingo Stadler sees the potential as much greater: a further 80,000 jobs and also 31,000 for transport infrastructure. Ingo Stadler allays sceptics’ fears: “There are some significant factors for success in the revolution from the resource-based to the technology-based energy system and in the decentralisation of the energy system”.
Walter Kreisel: The future will be 100% electric!
Efficient energy systems for electricity, heat and cooling are the subject addressed by Walter Kreisel, head of the SYSTEMS division of KREISEL, the innovative battery provider from Upper Austria. “Fossil energy sources are definitely the most serious problem for our future”, said the progressive thinker from Mühlviertel, a region in Upper Austria. And he is confident: “In 2030, every new car registered will be powered by electricity. And here we need not only electric cars but also the necessary stationary system solutions”. KREISEL stands for innovative complete solutions: the company combines the relevant charging infrastructures with the networking of home and large-capacity storage products as well as the intelligent energy management of buildings.
Bernd Rajal: The future of eco-electricity support
“The eco-electricity support system in Austria has brought about an expansion in renewable energies in recent years. The existing system of fixed feed-in tariffs is no longer in keeping with the times, however, and to some extent is contrary to the European Commission Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy. So the system needs to be adapted”, said Schönherr partner Bernd Rajal in his lecture at “Energy Tomorrow”. The energy legislation expert states that future aid for eco-electricity will be geared more towards the market and competition. “In future, aid will be awarded as part of public invitations to tender. What will happen is as follows: only those who ask least will be granted aid”. Rajal forecast that the tendering system not only has advantages, but also entails many risks. “It will therefore be important to create exemption regulations and select the correct tendering design”, Rajal said.
Wojciech Sztuba: Getting started with wind energy
Wojciech Sztuba, partner at TPA Poland, explained the situation in the CEE/SEE region as regards the grid parity of wind energy projects. Corporate PPA – direct power purchase – is playing an increasingly important role in the alternative energy market in Europe, especially in countries such as the United Kingdom and Sweden. The wind energy capacity in Europe showed an increase of 130% in 2017 alone. The tax and energy expert also notes a growing interest and better market conditions for corporate PPAs in his home market Poland.
Johannes Becker: Sticking point: aid and funding for Energy Efficiency
In Central and Southeast Europe, energy revolution or increasing energy efficiency is often frustrated by funding. Decision-making processes in the public sector are cumbersome and slow; investment in energy efficiency is usually involved in comprehensive renovation projects. Johannes Becker, partner at TPA Romania, knows this from his consulting activities. “Admittedly, grants can cover part of the major need for renovation, but they often reduce the attractiveness of private financing models”, the expert explains.
David Schnetzer: Blockchain technology on the up-and-up.
David Schnetzer, CTO of BitTex, spoke about the wide range of potential applications of blockchain technology. The applications range from the financial sector via the “Internet of things” through to cryptocurrencies and digital contract negotiations. The blockchain expert sees great potential, for instance, for the half of the world’s population that has no access to banking services or financial institutions. His recommendation to investors: “It is always interesting to have cryptocurrencies as a fifth asset class in one’s portfolio”.