Energie-Blog

André Jurres

3 dec 2009
84

Following the first afternoon about finance and M&A(mergers and acquisitions) I had the pleasure to reflect with a financial expert on the day.  He confirmed that it is still possible to reach financial close for projects but that the list of requirements has increased and the time to close has increased.  I had at least two countries/companies how offered to work together on renewable projects which also gives an indication that even projects well under development(read permit or license given) are still under threat of not finding the necessary equity/financing.  I still believe that Belgium offers good prospects in certain projects as financing is easier to come by than lesser developed countries.  Besides the large offshore windmill parks Belgium also welcomes investments in biomass.  As we have large harbor facilities and good grid connections transport cost should be competitive.  The fact that also subsidies are given for cogeneration on top of the green certificates should give an extra incentive.  Also the good cross border connections with the Netherlands and France offers an additional flexibility which not all countries offer.  About everybody agreed that legislation and policy need to speed up if we are going to achieve the targets that are being suggested by 2020 and beyond.  The legislators and representative of the European Commission argued that already a lot of work was done over the past years, which is actually correct but they cannot see(or do not want to see) that we are creating a serious delay at this moment for new investments for example.  A few regulators confirmed at least that they had to limited powers to have a real impact on the essential policies.   As there is no room for error or delay anymore I wonder if our politicians understand the dangers we face.  In for example England we will get power black outs around 2014/2015.  In the Netherlands they are considering to give permits to build new coal plants(three or four!) while they have to reduce their carbon output with at least 20% by 2020.  Even when they are able to force CCS in the permits it is not clear how they can force this.  Lets assume CCS is postponed with then years, how are they going to force the conditional permit?  Close the plants?  Not likely, or even worse, CCS will never work on large scale, I don't think they will close down these huge investments after ten years.  A second problem is distance for CCS, simple to expensive resulting in limited good locations(for example possible near the Slochteren site of gas in the Netherlands).  What we also agreed is that we need European policy, meaning having the same general regulation for all countries with local customizations. As we have a European objective everybody agreed that the way we move forward no is simple asking for problems and certainly an impossible task to achieve the goal.  The more than 2 trillion dollar we will have to spend in Europe over the next 30 to 40 years will not come automatically available, the industry is prepared to work together with the policy makers, it is also the only way, only together it will be possible to prevent a meltdown in some countries of a steady and reliable energy market.