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Interesting Two Days At ETSCEE

I am back from my trip to Prague and the ETSCEE conference. It was an interesting agenda and a good place to meet people.

I found the opening presentation by Florian Ermacora of the European Commission most interesting on two levels. Firstly, in terms of what the EU is planning with respect to markets in Europe and secondly, as someone who frankly doubts that CO2 has anything to do with warming by virtue of my geological background, I was horrified by the lengths the EU is planning to go to promote this political agenda – but enough of that already. As, Mr. Ermacora put it, “the decarbonization agenda is still on….and a key driver of policy. It is a decarbonization at least cost approach.” However, he told us that the EU wants to stop member states going their own way as renewables are forecast to be fully 50% of EU generation by 2030 and national subsidies and schemes cannot be afforded. The EU wants to create a level playing field between generation sources and once subsidies are in play, it is very difficult to stop them, he told us.

He also told the audience that it is the consumer and not the sector that is the point of focus and this is why the transition to this lower carbon vision has to be least cost. Energy bills will not be lower for consumers in a green future. On the other hand, security of supply is also part of the equation and the market must be structured so that renewables can make money avoiding subsidy. With the large amount of renewable generation forecast, managing the demand side must be a feature of the future market and another reason to focus on the consumer making it a more flexible market. Consumers must have both price and supplier choice. Of course, if prices are fixed and regulated then there is little incentive for consumers to switch suppliers and so this must also be addressed. He commented further on subsidies suggesting subsidies would be less generous for renewables. Renewables will also lose some of their privileges in the market as an end to priority dispatch is sought. Other conventional fuels also need to make money and the EU doesn’t want them subsidized also.

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Another key part of the conference was the update on a 24 member consortium focused on blockchain. Ponton gave a short demonstration of an energy trade using blockchain and there was a lot of interest from the audience in the demonstration and the use of blockchain in general although it is evident that blockchain remains poorly understood by many.

Overall, I enjoyed the conference. One thing I did notice was the lack of CTRM solution providers with booths…..